I suffer from several mental illnesses; borderline (emotionally unstable) personality disorder (BPD), depression, anxiety, complex ptsd and OCD. On paper I appear to be a mess. Yet, here I am writing a blog as part of my successful business which helps women who struggle with their mental health. I am a qualified mental health practitioner, yet I am riddled with mental illness. Would you see a Dr riddled with disease? Would you want his advise and support on how best to cope with the symptoms of the disease? Or would you rather someone who had simply read books on what the disease can or may do to you? I know which I would prefer.
So, you see from the off, mental health is not all too dissimilar to physical health. And this blog is going to appear more like a rant than a blog and I guess it is. But I am hoping that people will be brave enough to share it. To promote conversation of this topic so that we can grow and educate from it. In a world that is screaming for equality on every aspect. I am jumping on the band wagon. I want equality for mental health!
What do I mean?
Well, as someone who suffers with mental illness and more specifically from BPD, it has one of the highest suicide rate of all mental illnesses. 10% of people with BPD will take their own lives. 10% doesn’t seem a lot but when you think that 2% of the entire population have BPD, in figures that is 1,333,000! 10% of that is 1,33,300. That is a lot of deaths! If that where a disease we would be seeing huge campaigns and studies to try and dramatically reduce these numbers. But we don’t.
Let’s look at it in a physical sense. We all know that smoking kills right? Hands up who has smoked or who now uses an e cigarette? I am an ex smoker. We all know that drinking is not good for us right? Yet who loves a glass of pink gin and lemonade, I know I do. We all know that eating a diet that is full of fats and carbs is not good for us right? Yet we choose to do it. We choose to drink, we choose to smoke, we choose to eat a bad diet. If we then become ill because of our choices are frowned open for it? Are we shamed upon for it. Can you imagine telling a relative that because you chose to smoke you now have lung cancer, and they then balm you for it. They shun you for it. In fact when you are having a bad episode with your lungs, they leave you in the A&E waiting room because they are angry with you for it. Can you imagine that? no? Why not? It seems so cruel doesn’t it.
It happens to people with mental health
Well, that is exactly what my mum did to me. I had, again, attempted to take my own life. She was angry with me. She deemed me selfish. I do get this on some levels I do. But at the end of the day, we do not think a smoker with lung cancer is selfish. We do not think an obese person who dies of diabetes is selfish? We don’t shun and shame them? If you heard that your daughter had been in a car accident and was in a bad way, you wouldn’t leave you there because they are angry you didn’t see the car coming. Yet, my mum felt it was ok to leave me in a traumatised stated, because she was angry with me. It is wrong on so many levels that she thought it was ok to do that. It took her several years to admit to me that it was why she left me in A&E and it is therefore just one of the many contributing factors that has led me to choosing not to have my mum in my life anymore.
Equality for mental health
It is time in 2020 that amongst with equality for everything else, that we also fight for quality for mental health. That we are not shunned or shamed for our minds being ill. That we are treated as ill in the same way as any other physical illness. Because let me tell you this, I didn’t choose to have BPD, I didn’t choose to have depression. But I do choose, every day, to fight against it, I do choose every day to work so hard at keeping my illnesses in check. I do choose everyday to help others who battle with their mental health and share the tools that can help them too. I choose life and I choose to treat people with mental health the exact same as I would treat someone with a physical health condition. Do you?
There will be, and are, other small minded people out there who just don’t understand. Who will be angry with you, or think you are doing things on purpose. Those who say ‘there is no such thing as depression, just pull your chin up’ or ‘Don’t be depressed, people have it worse than you’. These people need to read blogs like this. They need to see that mental illnesses deserve the same treatment and respect as any physical illness. Speak to them! Try and help them to see it for what it really is, an illness. Because shunning them, ignoring them won’t change anything. Try to educate them, I even tried it with my mum and it did work on some small level. But also know that their opinion is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them.
I’d really appreciate if you use the social share buttons below to help speed the word and start the conversations that need to take place.