An open letter about mental health

To you,

May is mental health awareness month. Mental health; it’s still a bit of a taboo topic isn’t it? Want to talk about depression? People tell you that it’s just a phase and you’ll feel better in tomorrow or that you have no reason to be sad. Want to talk about anxiety? People will say they understand, and that they feel nervous sometimes too. Well it’s time to change that.

Having a mental health problem isn’t a burden, it doesn’t define you, your mental health problem isn’t who you are- you are the laughter that leaves your mouth, you are the kindness that leaves your heart, you are the love that you give to others. You do not need to hide away from your mental illness, step out of the shadows be who you are and never, never let it stop you from being who you are.

I’m sorry if you’ve worked up the courage to speak out and someone’s eyes have glazed over in fear and they change how they feel about you. That should never happen, and if it does then I’m afraid they are not good for you, there are people out there who will not just accept you for who you are, they will embrace you when you are struggling and not let you face your inner demons alone.

Do not feel bad about taking medications to help you. People may say that doctors prescribe medication to anyone and that it’s all about the money but it’s not. It’s there to help you and it’s there to save lives or make them a little better. Do not be ashamed of that pill you pop out of the packet every day. Do not fear it. Let it be your friend.

The world needs people like you, people who can, and will, one day say, it gets better. The world needs your light to lead others on the right path. The world needs people like you who in the future when someone says “I’m not okay”, someone won’t just tell them to pull themselves together, someone will say “it’s okay not to be okay, I have been there.” That person can be you. That person can be me.

Over the past couple of years I’ve struggled with how I look and how I feel. I’ve been on the recieving ends of the bullies stone like words; I’ve been influenced by the media on how I should look and forced myself to look that way but never being able to look how I want; I’ve got scars on my wrist from broken nights; I have mental scars of memories I wish to forget; I have moments when I can’t breathe  because I’m so worried about something; I still have nights when I’m awake at 3am thinking about my purpose in life, what I could be doing differently and that I don’t deserve any slight happiness I have; I’m more comfortable with who I look now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look in a mirror and think about what I’d like to change about myself still. Truth is, it is a long path back to ‘normality’ but trust me, days get better and brighter.

Challenging days will come and go, but you can face them. Focus on what is in front of you and where you want to be in life. Life is too short to be absent from it.  We all act out in pain or confusion and do stupid, hurtful things. We are all human after all. Forgive yourself for everything you’ve done.

No matter what you think, you are worthy of love and people can and will love you despite any flaws you think you have, despite your tears and doubts.

Remember you are able to do whatever you want, nobody should come in the way of your happiness. Want to jump on a plane and go to your favourite city? Do it. Want to tell that person that you think they’re funny? Do it. Want to smile at the little things? Do it.

Remember you are not alone and you can, and probably should open up to someone; so if you do one thing this month, open up to someone, stand up to the stigma, it starts with all of us, it starts with a simple ‘hi’.

Wishing you all the strength in the world,

Jaimee

Written by Jaimee

All round awkward person who drinks too much coffee and eats too much cake.

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