Why I Write About My Mental Health

Why I Write About My Mental Health

When I began writing about my mental health, it was for myself. I thought it would help to see the madness inside my head written in black and white in front of me in my own words, rather than on a psychiatric report.

When I first created my blog, I honestly did not think anyone would read it and I certainly didn’t expect anyone to care. It was simply a creative outlet in some half-arsed attempt to ‘self-heal’. My blog was now public, but it still felt private.

However, as my view count slowly started to rise and the comments began to appear, I was overwhelmed. Every time someone reaches out to me to thank me for sharing my story, it’s beyond humbling and I’ve been moved to tears by some of the lovely comments I have received.

I have been called brave and an inspiration, but I don’t see myself as that. I just trudge through each day as it comes and I try to be honest about the monster on my back. So many movies and TV shows romanticise mental illness and depict is as something grounding and beautiful. It’s utter shite and completely damaging. Mental illness is an ugly, horrific, relentless beast that needs to be exposed.

I share my story because mental illness is like a dirty little secret that everyone is aware of but nobody openly acknowledges. So many are suffering in silence, feeling utterly hopeless and totally alone. The overpowering feeling of being furious with the world for not understanding your pain, or simply recognising it. The fear of being labelled and judged by an ignorant and under-educated society who seem to think that our ‘crazy’ is contagious. The awkward frustration of hearing your diagnosis used as a punchline. I get all of this. I’ve been there. It is forgotten that there are many types of complex mental disorders with different levels of severity from person to person. Instead, we are all painted by the same brush.

There always seems to be the need for justification and evidence that someone with a mental illness is unwell. We are pinned down with a spot light shone in our faces and told that we “don’t look sick” and “you were fine yesterday.” This is especially true for those who suffer at the grips of their mental health but are also ‘high-functioning’ and are still able sustain an active life that seems somewhat ‘normal.’ We are told we are negative and lazy. We should just ‘be happy.’ Would you ask a cancer patient to prove the pain they are in or tell someone with a broken leg to just walk it off? No you wouldn’t. Why? Because their pain is visible and therefore it is validated. Mental illness is like a ghost; unless you’ve experienced the supernatural, it will only be believed if it is seen.

I don’t expect to be able to move heaven and Earth with my words, nor do I believe they will change the world. But I will be part of an amazing collective of mental health bloggers, campaigners and speakers who unite to be heard. I can turn the most horrid moments of my life and use them for something positive to help others. Even if only one person tells me I have made them feel understood and less alone, then it’s all worth it. I write for myself, to fight the stigma and for the suffering people out there who haven’t quite found their voice yet.

This is for you.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    01/11/2017 / 19:00

    Marvellous woman – just seen you on national TV and felt compelled to put finger to keyboard! Best wishes, Sarah Francis.

  2. Dave Simpson
    17/10/2017 / 09:03

    Hi meg. My wife cut her wrists and overdosed last fri the 13th oct. Its her 3rd attempt in 12 months. We married 4 weeks ago. The black cloud as she calls it got too much. Failed by the mental health services time and time again. So sad. My beautiful wife. Only 29 x stay strong
    Im wearing your wristband now.

  3. Matt
    03/05/2017 / 14:01

    As I’ve come to realise with your blogs, Meg. Brilliant as always and took the words (more eloquently) straight out of my mouth.
    Keep it up! We’re right behind you

  4. Lulu Blue Ⓥ (@LuluDigitale)
    20/04/2017 / 09:06

    Just like you, my blogging started for myself. I went as far as refusing to even start it for months, with the basic beliefs that I had absolutely nothing to say and that if I did find a topic, no one would ever read my posts. With a persistent wife who encouraged and pushed me to accept that since I have difficulties writing in my journals, I should compose things online because I find it easier to type than to hand-write. Eventually, I caved and started, very slowly. Ever since, blogging became a need for self-expression.
    It all started 22 months ago, with a blog for book, tv & movie reviews.

    Almost 9 months later, of my wife’s encouragements, I finally made my second blog, dedicated to mental health. It was the result of a bad CBT experience and the wish to help others understand the importance of seeking the proper therapist and to dare changing if one doesn’t help at all.

    The first few posts were published slowly, but gradually I expanded my topics and this MH blog has become my most regular endeavor to date. I don’t regret having started it, though I know I have a very limited number of readers and almost no comment whatsoever.

    I came to the conclusion that my blog is still largely for myself ; it serves as a tool of self-expression, and a trackable proof of my progress. Since my memory isn’t good, a post I can reread later is my memory.

    I agree, there is a lot to be done to raise awareness, build bridges and finally get stigma to get off its high horse and end all the difficulties in making others understand the nature of our daily fights.

    As I told you in person and in comments, I admire your gifts for words and your honest sharing of your experiences with your battles and victories over your mental illnesses. This is one more such a gem of post, very well written post !

  5. 20/04/2017 / 00:46

    Hi Meg, it’s really great to see that you are able to help others who might be going through their own unique mental health concerns by sharing your own experiences. I can imagine it would have felt vulnerable at first (and perhaps still) to share this with the world through your blog, but I also believe in opening the lines of communication about topics like mental health so that it can become more commonplace rather than something that is only talked about in private, or not at all. Thank you for sharing!

  6. 19/04/2017 / 22:17

    Hi Meg

    I literally agree with every single word you have said. When I first started my blog just a few months ago I thought no one would read it, it was just for me anyway, but soon it just turned into something wonderful and unexpected. It remains my therapy but it is so rewarding to feel that I am helping others too through it just by being open and honest. I feel so proud to be amongst the amazing and inspirational mental health bloggers, I really do believe together we will turn words into action and play a part in changing the future of Mental Health.

    Katie xo

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