During the last year of putting fingers to keyboard and immersing myself in this crazy world of blogging, there have always been a few subjects that I've wanted to write about, but haven't. One of which is depression and anxiety. But I've always held back on hitting that publish button. Thankfully, in this day and age there are so many blogs, vlogs, reports, articles which can help as and when you might feel you need it. And to write another one? Well, it almost feels like jumping on the bandwagon in a weird way. Just another blogger who thinks she can change the world by talking about it?
But isn't that the point? Isn't talking about it one of the best possible solutions? We all craft our social media profiles very carefully, allowing the "friends" we have on there to see perhaps, the best versions of ourselves we can cultivate through our carefully filtered selfies, the statuses making light of real life or the check-ins at places that make us look as though we're having a grand old time all the time. Real friends, as in the ones we see every day and aren't just hiding behind a vague status or Insta pic may ask how we're doing and we pop the smile on, fix the facade and say "we're good, thanks, are you?"
Recently, a friend of mine on social media made the bold decision to admit how she'd been feeling for the past year or so and say that actually, things weren't just a nice shiny status and she hadn't been feeling "hashtag blessed" as much as people would have liked to think. Another friend wrote an incredible blog post on mental health issues, baring his soul and opening up in a way I just hadn't seen or realised. Then, there are the "like and share" posts on mental health awareness. Now, to be honest, whenever I see the opening lines of "I bet none of my friends will read or share this..." accompanied by the sad face emoji, I do tend to do a Dionne Warwick and Walk on By (oops, even squeezed an old school reference into a serious post, shame on me...) but surely any way we can talk about mental health has to be a positive thing?
I had a conversation not so long ago with someone who unfortunately doesn't really "get it". They openly admitted they hear the words "depression" and "anxiety" and think "well, just do something about it?" They don't agree with popping to the doctors and getting another tub of tablets to try and sort things out.
Now, this person is very close to me. I guess that's the joy of friendships where you have differing opinions, it provokes thought, conversation and perhaps a spot of research.
If you check the definitions of these two "buzz words", you get this:
Depression - sadness;gloom;dejection
Anxiety - distressoruneasinessofmindcausedbyfearofdangeror misfortune
For anyone wondering, I absolutely know it's not as cut and dry as just these two things but, for the sake of this particular ramble, let's just go in this direction for now. It's obviously different for everyone. They all have their own why's and what's in this. For the people who want an answer to why they feel like this, it may be something that recently happened or something that happened in the past. Something huge or seemingly insignificant. Perhaps it's something they haven't even discovered yet. The feelings may continue for an inordinate amount of time or just rear their ugly head occasionally. Often at the times you least expect it.
And, as for "doing something about it" I guess that varies enormously too. Belief that it can shift and you can kick it out of your life is a huge step forward. Physically exercising the demons away (exorcising exercises if you will) helps for some. Writing about it. Talking about it.
I strongly hope that the talking and writing about it continues. I love that schools are talking about it more, the topic is in people's minds a little more, it's not something to brush under the carpet and ignore, or be embarrassed of. I hope my son can grow up in a world where it's ok to talk about how you feel and it's not a case of "boys don't cry."
And, I hope, if anyone has even read this far, if any of this resonates for just one person, then it was worth me finally hitting that publish button after all.