I’m such a twat!
That was what I texted my husband after I went live on Instagram today.
Breaking the Taboo
This week the world marked mental health awareness day – a day I refuse to acknowledge.
I refuse to acknowledge it because we should be aware of mental wellness every day.
I felt so strongly about this, the day after World Mental Health Awareness day, I shared why I don’t mark one day and popped a little explanation in my Instagram stories.
This was how the story went:
- When I had a lump in my breast, I was referred, scanned and given the all clear in 2 weeks.
- When I was cold-hearted suicidal, I was told I had to wait 3 months to see anyone because I just wasn’t depressed enough.
Until we treat mental health in the same category as cancer and heart disease, I refuse to mark just one day.
After all this black dog isn’t just for one day, it’s for life.
Wonderful Human Beings.
I received an outpouring of comments and support from some wonderful human beings, I feel privileged to have contact with, due to simply being on Instagram.
I also lost a shit load of followers. It seems some people just aren’t ready to talk about it.
And the one place we should be talking about mental health is on social media.
Let’s face it. Social media may not cause depression or anxiety (although the jury is out on this), but it sure as hell aggravates the insecurities we already feel.
Right now I feel it’s my responsibility to break my own self-imposed taboo and talk about it. I’ve suffered since I was 14 and I’m now 41. It’s about time I was more open and took some of my own talking therapy medicine.
The Profound Wisdom of a 5 Year Old
My 5 year old daughter Daisy does this funny thing. She says:
“Mummy I’m going to scream.”
This winds me up but before I can tell her not to, she opens her mouth and screams. But no sound comes out. It’s a silent scream.
‘Ha! Pranked you!” she gleefully laughs!
She finds this ‘prank’ as she likes to call it, really rather amusing. And I give her a big cuddle and hope that she never feels she has to silently scream, in real life.
Screaming in Silence
You see, I think I’ve been silently screaming for years.
I’ve written about it but never actually spoken about it openly like I did today and yesterday.
I was so afraid of being honest about my dark side and how I’ve behaved because of it. My depression. My self-harm. The days I’ve self-medicated and been a horrible human being to other people.
I thought sharing this stuff would lose clients, customers, respect. And maybe it does. If you’re that person. That’s OK, we probably shouldn’t be working together.
But I also feel honoured that other people have now opened up to me about their mental un-wellness. If me talking about it, helps other people open up, then I feel I have achieved something with my life.
During an evening course I’m taking, that touches upon NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) principles I admitted that I feel my work is meaningless. I felt that by working in influencer marketing or sharing my art on Instagram, I’m not contributing to the world in any meaningful way.
However, after talking about mental wellness on Instagram yesterday, I realised that my creativity and mental health are so intrinsically linked, one cannot survive without the other. The reason I’m so passionate about creativity is that it has helped me through every dark moment in my life.
My creativity has been my friend, therapist and confidant.
Literally, I’ve painted, drawn, sketched, collaged, my way through every depressive episode.
My creativity has been my friend, therapist and confidant. And I’m so sorry I didn’t realise this before!
So yes. I’m going to talk more about mental health when I share my work because my art wouldn’t exist without it. They co-exist. And I welcome them both. The dark side and the days I make shit work. The days I feel enlightened and make something I’m proud of. It’s all equally important.
If you choose to unfollow me on social media because you’re bored of hearing about mental health. Or you think I should shut up and just post pretty pictures. That’s fine too. I wish you well in your life.
For those of you wonderful wonderful people who are sharing the journey with me, we’re going to change things for the better.
I just know it.
YES! to saying “I’m depressed”
YES! to saying “I’m not coping”
YES! to saying “I feel grief”
YES! to saying “I feel anxious”
NO! to long waiting lists for mental health services
NO! To keeping it quiet from friends and colleagues
NO! To worrying about being judged.
Stop screaming in silence. And let’s make some noise.
And if it means I make a twat of myself in the process, so be it!
Have an inspired day