Quote of the Week – 25/01/15

‘It is an odd paradox that a society, which can now speak openly and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable, still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness.’ – Glenn Close

Do you agree?

Advertisements

House

Bob Dylan once said, ‘If I say the word ‘house’, we’re both going to see a different house.’ What he meant was we all have different perceptions of what might otherwise be considered objective, even something as simple and everyday as a house. Words carry a lot of personal interpretation and Dylan wanted to remind people of that.

I think this point transfers quite nicely to mental health. If we accept the word ‘house’ as ambiguous, imagine the complexity of words like ‘pain’, ‘distress’ or ‘sadness’. We may have all felt these things, but likely not in the exact same way as anybody else. Our experiences, or rather our interpretations of them, are highly unique to us, and words often can’t portray this.

I guess what I’m trying to put across is the importance of ‘non-judgementalism’ when it comes to people’s descriptions of their experiences. Although we may understand their words, we can only use what we ourselves attach to those words for comparison. For instance, imagine you go to a really great gig and the next day you tell your friend about it. You might say, ‘it was so amazing, the atmosphere was great’, but you know they will never know what that atmosphere truly felt like. They had to be there. And that can be frustrating. Now imagine you are trying to tell somebody about your depression. You may tell them you are constantly tired and can see only darkness ahead. Again, they are likely to understand these words (they have been both tired and in the dark) however they can never really know how those things are making you feel. Who has had somebody say, ‘I know exactly how you feel’? The person could have the best intentions in the world but these are still six of the most disempowering words I can think of. It’s fine to not completely understand someone. That’s what makes life so interesting. Just be curious. Be comforting. Be non-judgemental. Value the person’s story.

This pervades all areas of mental health. Heck, all areas of life (I actually shouldn’t separate the two). Often, we forget that we all have our own interpretation of the world and we cannot communicate everything we know and feel to other people. That’s okay. We don’t have to completely understand each other to be compassionate. Sometimes, even the act of trying to understand goes a long way. It shows that person they matter. And that may just be enough. I think it’s certainly a nice starting point, anyway.

MHL x

Discussion – What works for you?

You don’t have to have a diagnosis to experience periods of mental ill health. Mental health is something that all of us have, and we can all have times of struggle.

No matter your mental health story, I’d really like to know what works for you when you’re not feeling so mentally healthy. Also, what  preventative measures do you take to ensure you stay well?

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing, please don’t feel pressured to. You are more than welcome to simply browse this and other discussions taking place in Mental Health Land.

 

Discussion – Perceptions

Welcome to Mental Health Land’s inaugural discussion!

For the first topic, I thought it would be a good idea to ask people for a short synopsis that sums up their views on what mental illness actually is. This could range from one word to a line or short paragraph. It’s completely your choice. Please remember that what we are going for here is honesty, so please don’t feel silly about what you write. The goal is for people to then comment and discuss – this is how we can all learn together. If you’re not actually sure what you think about mental illness, how about a few words on what you think mental health is? This would also be really interesting.

So there you go. A word, a few words or a line or two that sums up your perceptions of mental illness. To comment, simply click on this post’s title and then scroll down to the comments box. I am really looking forward to reading your contributions. Good luck!

Hello! First post.

Hello! Welcome to Mental Health Land. You are very welcome here.

This blog was set up to provide a safe space for people to discuss their thoughts and feelings about all aspects of mental health. This may include comments on news items, stigma, personal experience or anything else you have come across and would like to bring to the surface. Mental Health Land is a judgement-free zone and any negative comments are unwelcome and will be deleted. This is a supportive, educational and open community.

I feel very strongly that education about the realities of living with mental health issues is key to public and personal de-stigmatization. Therefore, my aim will be to pose questions about current mental health issues in order for people to debate them in a frank and honest way. These discussions are open to everyone, no matter your knowledge base.

Feel free to browse Mental Health Land and leave a comment. Simply click on the post’s heading to be directed to its comment section. Your views are much appreciated.

If you like what we are doing here, you can become a member of our community by subscribing. You will be kept up to date with the latest posts and discussions by e-mail. Join us in bringing mental health discussion to the fore!

Good mental health to you all!