2017 · Advice · Career · mental health · personal essay · wedding · Work

Being Honest About Mental Health

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As someone who has mental health problems I am always pleased to see sharing and honesty about these issues on social media. One of the worst things about having dodgy mental health is the inherent silence that surrounds it. Despite being fed up of white lies and ‘stigma’ I still find it very difficult to talk about my mental health in detail, even to those closest to me – and it’s even more difficult with people I don’t know so well. The biggest problem is with work, as my mental health means that I have to take more sick days than if I didn’t have these problems (although I do seem to get the flu at least twice a year!). In my last job I didn’t have a great relationship with my manager (though she was very nice) so I wasn’t able to talk to her about it. But now that I’m in a job that I really love, that I do not want to jeopardise, I feel I must talk to my manager about it.

To that end I have asked for a meeting with her, which for me at least is a really big deal. When your automatic reaction is just to lie about why you felt ‘unwell’ or weren’t able to go to an event, or to work, then it’s really hard to actually be completely honest about it and just tell the truth. I’ve decided to be more honest about it in my life. Writing this blog post is a weird thing to do for me, though I know I want to do it. I read an article the other day about how Emma Freud approached her daughter’s depression as if it were a physical illness that they needed to be logical about and treat, and I loved that. Depression in particular, as well as anxiety, is a very emotional condition, and that can make it harder to deal with, especially for the family of someone suffering from it. Approaching it a bit like a physical illness can help to make it feel less intense, and therefore more manageable. For me, being honest about it is part of that. Hiding something so fundamental about yourself is very hard work and carries with it a burden of guilt and that extra bit of mental exhaustion – and who needs that. I’ve got enough to deal with.

There is also the fact that I am getting married this year. It is making me think about what I want my life to be, for me alone, and for me and Dan. I am thinking about what I can improve, and how this can be done. I want my (our) life to be better, easier, healthier, and more fun. And this is one of my ways of working towards that.

If you’re comfortable with sharing, I’d love to hear how others have dealt with being honest about mental health, and speaking about it with other people.
As Frasier Crane would say, good mental health!
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