Mental health, a taboo topic.
Someone very close to me said this in response to us starting our blog.
“You shouldn’t be telling the world about that, what happens if a future employer sees it and reads it. They might not hire you because of mental illness.”
UMMMM WHAT THE HELL!?
I was most upset by this.
It is inexcusable and unacceptable to stop someone from talking about mental health. And that is EXACTLY what they are doing. THAT is what makes it taboo in the first place. That is the exact attitude that makes it so hard to talk about.
Why do people think this way? Is it the older generation that thinks it’s not okay and that people should be locked up if their mental health isn’t great?
What happened to everyone being equal?
What happened to freedom of speech?
What happened to supporting others in need?
Isn’t this discrimination?
Because it’s freedom of speech. And it’s okay because who am I to tell people about what they can or can’t say (apart from the lady in the supermarket who yelled at my little lady, she can shut the bloody hell up!).
But when it was said to me, I jumped on them with extreme anger, loneliness and fear.
What if this actually is true? What if an employer takes the person who isn’t as skilled but has in their opinion better mental health?
But it dawned on me that this could be true! This could happen!
The problem is that some people’s mental health is offset for a little while, then it disappears or you can be stuck with it for life. There is no set time for this.
For example, someone’s partner might break their heart and then it’ll pass (potentially could be viewed as a small problem but hits them hard), – But then why the hell should they be discriminated against for having a past issue!
That’s like saying if you’ve ever had asthma you can’t be city courier driver as you need to run lots!! Pretty sure there are couriers out there with asthma.
I’m not saying that all bosses think this way and I also hope most of them don’t, but yes there will be the select few who think people like us are weak and unstable.
Well, I’ll have you know (mean bosses) that we are better than you, we have grown, we have made ourselves better! Whether it be through medication, meditation, exercise or anything else that has helped! We have risen above and not only helped ourselves but have also most likely contributed to other people’s health!
I don’t see Sir John Kirwin being denied employment because of his issues in regard to depression. Oh, wait. He was an All Black though…he doesn’t count. Right?
Why do people always make mental health such a hush-hush topic? I know some people think it’s attention seeking and yes maybe this is the case for some people, but it’s so important for people to talk. Talking is one thing that helps explain things in your brain and untangles all that’s blocked up in there! Talking is important.
Sophie and I were super lucky to be able to talk to psychologists. We saw different people as we had different issues. After each session we would debrief and although we are two completely different people with different problems so much of what we told each other helped us!
So we ask the question, Why do we not talk about it?
Do we not talk about it because we are afraid of what people will say?
Is it because we keep our lives personal?
Is it because we have no one we think will listen?
Is it because if we say it out loud it will be true?
Or is it because we don’t know how to put how our feeling into words?
If we were more open and more vocal about this subject would it make easier to talk?
I understand everyone is in a different situation, but if you had someone to listen or just to ask you if you’re okay would it be enough?
This topic is a taboo topic (if only it was like the game, then we’d all be giggling).
This topic is so taboo, that a 2009 study showed that it was easier to come out as gay than admit to a mental health condition. Shit’s fucked up. There are more people in the world who suffer from mental illness than there are gay people.
When was the last time you checked in with yourself? How are you feeling?
But also when was the last time you checked in with someone at home, work, school or friends? Have you asked them if they’re okay? Some people will look at you and say of course I’m fine! But make sure that isn’t them just brushing you off to make you go away!
One of my friend’s grandmothers died of breast cancer. She felt the lump and didn’t talk. For a long time. She was too embarrassed and ashamed. She kept it under her hat for too long, until it was too late. You didn’t talk about breasts in those days. It was taboo. You kept it hush hush.
What would have happened if she had talked?
It’s so important to talk!!!! Try checking in with at least 3 people? It could be as simple as a hug or saying come for a cuppa? Talking might save someone’s life. And if not, it may greatly improve their quality of life. It is much better to risk raising a taboo topic than it is to keep things hush-hush and risk having someone never speak out. The more we talk about this kind of stuff, the more we will normalise it, the less shame and embarrassment people will feel. The chance of them keeping it under their hat will reduce. And who knows? You might just touch a life.
We all need friends and they are one of the greatest gifts! Make sure you start talking and keep talking with your friends and family and all those who are dear to you.
Photo Credit: Edward Honaker