Friday, 31 January 2014

MummyNeverSleeps Blogs on Mental Health

Mental health is a term I've only been familiar with for a couple of years. Normally it's emblazoned in a tasteful font over a poster or a neat stack of leaflets that I'll stare at blankly while sat in a cold, grey waiting room somewhere.

Before I was catapulted into the world of therapists, GPs, happy pills and the kaleidoscope of self-help that's been pushed rather forcibly in my general direction, plus the vast array of acronyms that get added to my medical notes - seemingly on a monthly basis - mental health equated that there was something wrong with you. You're broken. Something's missing. There's a little link somewhere in your brain without a connection. It compelled you to do bad things. It made my mum drink. It made her cry. And it ripped my family apart.

Poor mental health has been at the core of each and every decision that has formed where I am now. If I were to analyse and dissect big life events, the bugger would be buried under there somewhere like a flesh eating parasite, shaping everything I do. From how I talk, how I dress, how I raise my son, to being crippled by bleak thoughts and being wracked with guilt and hurt.

I'm pretty naffed off with mental health tbh. I'm tired of it, I'm really bloody bored of it, of how it sneaks around me, suffocates me and rips me away from the real world, leaving me stranded, alone, in my head.

Professionally how it's all dealt with has come a long way, but it really needs to go to reach a whole lot further. The fear and shame that can immerse you, leaving you frightened to speak up, to cry, to say you've had a bloody awful day need to be left behind with the other taboos and stigmas we're breaking free of today.

Then there’s the metaphorical bear trap of the correct terminology. Do we say mental health problems? Mental health issues? Or the nice and pretty inoffensive and unobtrusive, but still rather scary sounding - mentally ill?

Good and bad, even the sort where you're clinging onto the edge by your fingertips, mental illness will shape who you are, and show the journey of where you've been and how you've got to where you are right this very second. It's not something to be ashamed of, it's not something to squirrel away behind fake smiles and big personalities to fester away and mutate into an unmanageable mess. Once you stop believing that this thing in your head that makes you think the way you do, see things and feel things the way you do as a Voldemort type creature, name it for what is it, face it, and know you're really not alone.

Or you can drink too much coffee and blog about it, like I do.

Cas lives in Essex and can be found blogging about motherhood and mental health at Follow Cas on Twitter and Facebook.