Attitudes To Mental Health


I’m watching Glee. And even though sometimes it’s ridiculously cheesy and annoying, very often it does pinpoint things that are going on within American society, and seeing as it’s a very far-reaching programme, it really does use the influence it has to as best an extent as it can. And the episode that I’m watching, the one that aired in America yesterday, refers back to the numerous suicides that have been prevalent recently. Suicides that seem to happen as a result of homophobic bullying. Usually kids who aren’t open about their sexuality, or those who are still in the process of coming to terms with it- they tend to have faced a horrendous time in school, and eventually the torture gets too much.

And in Glee, a guy who isn’t ‘stereotypically gay’ tries to kill himself because of a similar circumstance. And everyone, naturally, is very concerned, worried, about their friend. And they all know. They all know it happened, they were all told. They plan to go and visit him (I haven’t actually finished watching the episode yet, so I don’t know if they do or not). Usually, if someone breaks their leg, or they’re in hospital for whatever reason- they get cards. They get ‘Get Well Soon!’s, they get flowers, they get Facebook posts and questions asking how they are and how they’re feeling. But not when you’re in a psychiatric hospital. Or if you’re in hospital for an overdose. We all know that if it was a friend/family member, we’d do what we could to support them, etc. But, still, despite the forward advances that have been made in the past while in regards to the taboo that is mental illness, there is still a very, very long way to go.

I’ve now been in hospital three times as a result of my mental health problems. And I’ve never had a card. Not that those close to me haven’t done everything that they can/in their power to support me, but I mean ‘people’ as a whole. A lot of people know what’s wrong with me, I don’t know many who don’t, but it is an awkward subject. No one knows how to ask how I am when I’ve been in hospital for trying to top myself. I don’t blame people individually, it’s just sad, when you think about it. Because the very people who would post on my Facebook and send me texts if I was in hospital after a car accident are the very people who awkwardly brush over the fact that my arms are raw and you can tell I’m not myself.

And It’s Just Sad.

Sometimes people tell me I’m too open about being ill. I know I’m an open book. But it’s because hardly anyone else is. And the few of us who are have an obligation to the millions of other people suffering from the exact same things to be open, to inform the ignorant, to understand why people feel awkward broaching the subject of mental health, and to do everything we can to change it. So fuck it, essentially. I have spent too long these last few months not talking about it. I am very ill right now. I was in hospital a fortnight ago. I didn’t tell my parents initially because I was too scared. Now that I know what triggers my suicidal impulses, I have to make sure that if I hear the thought that lead me to a dangerous place, I need to make someone sit with me. My medication is finally being changed. I’m working hard at CBT, but it’s difficult. I’m not well, and it’s not my fault- I refuse to let people make me feel like it is my fault.

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