I’m Not Like You Think

I completely missed last week being mental health awareness week in the UK. A period of time dedicated to making people more aware of mental illness, and perhaps try and remove some of the stigma associated with both suffering with an illness and indeed seeking help. I have been very open about my struggles with my mental health in later life, I only discovered that I had mental health issues later on when I knew what they were.

At a time when I knew what mental health issue were and how to deal with them. For the longest time I had no clue that the ups and downs that I felt were not normal feelings and in fact something to pay attention to. The weird thing that people come to realise when they get to know me personally, is that I am not how I appear online. Despite all the tweeting, the publishing and the podcasting, I am very introverted.

I am outgoing when I need to be, or when required by the situation. I can adapt to almost anything and not worry too much about my internal feelings. But this is usually followed by a need to ‘recharge’ my social batteries that have been depleted.

Introverts get their energy by being alone or in small groups, while extroverts get their energy from larger groups of people. – Ellen Hendriksen

I suffer greatly from big swings in my outlook on life, and the largest take away I have become used to over the last decade is — that’s OK. However. With all the positive things going around about mental health, I still get loads of push back. It’s still normal for people to tell you to “get over it” or “man up”. That is somehow acceptable in the modern age, to dismiss someone because you think their issues are not important.

This isn’t random people either. Many work colleagues and friend are perfectly fine to say these kinds of dismissive things about others mental health, and a few even believe it doesn’t exist!

When things like mental health week come around, it’s easy to think that it is the people that suffer from issues that this week is for. It’s for the people that don’t want to talk about their issues, but I believe it is more for everyone else. No one wants to talk about these things, and accept that they are happening all around us. These weeks are for the people that push back. That tell me to “get on with it” and belittle the way I feel.

It’s OK for me to not be OK – and it’s got sod all to do with you.