I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda glad May is over. Not because it is now officially summer, exams are over and the weather’s getting better. But because May was Mental Health Awareness Month. Me saying this sounds quite hypocritical; I like to spread awareness on mental health issues and have done so for the past couple of years. However, although I am in a better place now, that’s not to say that I’m in any way ‘healed’ or ‘cured’, living totally free of all negative thoughts and potential triggers.
To say so would be an utter lie.
Seeing constant posts, pictures, articles, stories and headlines centred on mental health topics really got to my head, I was frequently reminded of my own past where I struggled to function due to my mental illness.Many people suffer psychologically, and everyone’s story is unique and individual, but sometimes comparison can occur, especially when eating disorders are the case. Hearing about other people’s experiences was uplifting and inspiring, but unfortunately there are people who post pictures or stories which can be triggering for those struggling with disordered eating and body image issues.
One should be aware of the message they are spreading when creating awareness for mental health, especially if the target audience is most likely made up of people who have had/have mental health struggles. Yes, there will be upsetting themes discussed, but if your message is going to do more harm than good- please rethink before you share. This doesn’t just go for the month of May, but all year round.
Although we may say we are ‘recovered’ or ‘doing well’, we still have dealt with a lot of shit and it’s perfectly healthy to tell someone that talking about certain topics makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes when I’m surrounded by people talking of diets, calories and weight loss, my head enters a different space and my heart races. I remove myself from this conversation or try and change the subject. But sometimes this isn’t possible, and in cases like these meditation and deep breathing comes in handy for me! It will pass, and your own wellbeing is much more important than thinking you are being rude for not joining in on the conversation.
We are humans, we have emotions, we have good days and bad days, ok days and crazy days. We may wake up feeling we can take on the world, feeling on top of our game for the whole day, or we may wake up feeling like a wobbly bowling pin where just about anything can tip us over. No one knows where others are at or how they are feeling, so be aware of that. Be aware of what you say and do because it’s not fair to make someone feel shittier than they already do.
Moral of the story:
Think before you post
Think before you speak
It’s ok to be fragile- the most precious, beautiful things on earth are!