Many of my previous posts on here have focused on the similarities between a physical and a mental illness. Today I’m going to focus on the one major difference I have experienced between the two, people’s reactions. Telling somebody that you have the flu is the simplest thing in the world and the normal response is ‘Get well soon’. On the other hand telling somebody that you have a potentially life threatening problem, such as cancer, can be very difficult, emotional and overwhelming but once again the response is normally a very supportive one. Trying to tell somebody that you have a mental health problem can be one of the hardest things you ever do. This isn’t because it is any worse than something like cancer, it is merely because people are scared of them and they are scared of how people may react. The general perception of mental health is a lot better than it used to be and many people will agree with me on the fact that it should be treated like any other illness. However, there are some people that do not agree and I can only put this down to lack of awareness and naivety.
Personally I have had very supportive reactions in general but I know that some people have had less than pleasant reactions from others, even the people closest to them. I was worried about how people would react far more than I needed to be. Before I started this blog I had told my immediate family and a handful of my friends, it was more on a need to know basis. The last person that I told before I started this blog said to me that having anxiety didn’t make me crazy. This calmed all of my fears that I had about talking about this and stamped on the one opinion I thought people might have! This was one of the best reactions, others have included people asking me every day if I’m okay, being told to stop being dramatic, acting a little oddly around me afterwards and my personal favourite…treating me like there is no problem what so ever! (Reminding somebody of their problem isn’t really a good idea in my opinion.)
I like to think that everybody will react in the same way that the majority of my friends have, but the sad truth is that they won’t. There are people that I still haven’t told about any of this and there are parts of my problems that I haven’t told to anybody. Keeping this part of my life a secret from certain people isn’t done because I am ashamed or embarrassed, I simply haven’t told them because I don’t think that their reaction would help at the moment. Who knows, maybe one day I will tell them, maybe one day I’ll sit down with somebody and explain everything; but right now, everybody can have a little piece of information and this blog is slowly putting together the pieces of the jigsaw!
PS. Today’s photo is of one of my favourite reactions!