Peace Of Mind

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day. A day where we take the time to acknowledge something that a lot of people still struggle to talk about and/or suffer from. There are more people suffering from a mental health illness than most people realise. Today actually marks the 25th anniversary of World Mental Health Day. Didn’t know it’d been going that long? That’s because of increased awareness!! Even though there’s been an increase in awareness over recent years, there’s still a lot to be done – especially when there’s still a “I can’t see your illness so you can’t be ill” mentality. Personally I don’t think it should happen on one day. Mental health illness don’t take the rest of the year off, do they?! But still, a day where the world can stand together over it is much better than nothing at all.

Despite what a lot of people think, gender dysphoria isn’t a mental health illness. It’s a recognised medical condition. However, it has strong links with mental health illnesses due to what people go through in order to deal with or come to terms having gender dysphoria. Imagine spending years in denial or struggling to accept who you are, even feeling trapped or total despair because your existence goes against what society is willing to accept. Throughout my life, I’ve tried suicide so many times. I’ve lost count. I wanted to end my life because I was ashamed of who I was and the frustration that built up through denial. I needed some kind of control over my life and so I developed an eating disorder, which was with me for the majority of my adult life. I suffered from (and still do to a certain extent) from anxiety and depression. Self harm and addiction became coping mechanisms – false friends intended to help me cope. At one point, I was also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at one point – although my psychotherapist did challenge the psychiatrist’s diagnosis based on her belief that there was something else…which turned out to be gender dysphoria. All the mental health issues stemmed from the fact that I couldn’t embrace who I was and that I felt the world would never accept me. Both needed “solving” before I could move on and live my life. That only happened recently, and even then I still suffer from mental health issues. They’re so deep rooted, that I probably will for the rest of my life. Had the world been more accepting, had I been able to accept myself, had there been more support for those with gender dysphoria…I’d like to think I could have transitioned much sooner and without the mental health issues. Ok, maybe they can’t be avoided completely but certainly minimised.

Mental health issues stem from something. Trauma, loss, medical conditions, stress, life…anything. Left unchecked, they can manifest and grow into a demon that will haunt you, maybe even kill you. Like any other illness, it doesn’t pick and choose. It can affect anyone at any age. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s nothing or that it’s not real. It’s very fucking real. By speaking about it and sharing our experiences, it becomes less scary. We take away it’s defence and can start to deal with it properly. So today, please take time to consider what mental health is and how important it is that we support those who are struggling. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean they’re not drowning inside.

To those who suffer from a mental health illness, I salute you. I know how difficult it is to stay strong and to pull yourself through each day. There are good days and there are bad days. Sometimes there are horrific days. The fact that you bravely battle through each day shows that you have a strength inside of you. Don’t ever let that go, no matter how tired you may feel. If you need to talk, please do. You’ll be surprised how something so simple such as talking can do so much. There are many organisations, such as Mind, who can offer support. Or drop me a message using the Contact Me page. Just know that you’re not alone and you certainly don’t have to go through it alone.


Featured image: via Google

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