Speaking Out & Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness

Monday, 10 October 2016

Recently I've been thinking a lot about sharing a bit more with you on here, in terms of my life and, in particular, mental health. It's something I've touched upon every now and again on my blog, but not wanting to detract from the happy, positive place I want this space on the internet to be, I've kind of steered clear from going much deeper.

However, today is World Mental Health Day and I feel like it's the perfect opportunity to sit down and be a bit more honest with you about things. It's scary because I've always held back from talking too much about this on here, through fear of being judged, of people making assumptions or seeing me as weak, or, dare I say it, crazy. Mental health still has such huge stigma surrounding it, and I feel like by hiding my struggles with mental health on here from my readers, I'm only adding to that stigma.

I worry that sharing my "issues" on here will put people off - it will make people think differently of me, or even that it will stop potential employers from wanting to give me a job in the future. No wonder there is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness, when even myself, someone suffering from it, thinks that it's too "taboo" to talk about.

Mental illnesses are just that - illnesses, so why should we feel ashamed to talk about them? They are no different from any other illness - they can be just as debilitating, they can cause just as many problems and just as much heartache. So, I'm taking a step forward, being brave and letting you all know that I suffer from mental illness.

I've suffered with mental illness most of my life. I have OCD, and growing up I suffered with eating disorders, which still rear their ugly heads every now and again. I've also suffered with depression on and off, and it's still something I feel like I have to battle with some days. I don't want to hide these things from you anymore, or subtly allude to them, or make a big deal of them - I just want to get them out there, stop actively hiding them, and just let them be known.

I don't want people suffering with mental illness to feel like they're alone, or that they're weak or crazy. So I'm reaching out and letting you guys know, it's okay to have a mental illness. It isn't your fault, and it isn't something to be ashamed of. I think more of us need to speak up and talk freely about these things. If we don't, then it will always stay the same. Will you be speaking up about mental illness this World Mental Health Day?