Mental health can (and should) be diagnosed, categorised, formalised, recognised. Depression can make you move slower the way a broken leg would, and anxiety can be mistaken for asthma. Just because it’s in your head, it certainly doesn’t make it any less real. Diagnosis often comes as a surprise, almost a relief to get a real-life name for the mysterious thing that is invisible yet powerful enough to rob you of days, of life and of happy moments. Perhaps yours explained terrifying pattern-hunting making it impossible to step outside. Perhaps it gave an identity to what you previously thought of as a strange, voice-hearing quirk that you’d never normally admit to until it started getting mean. Perhaps you’ve never been diagnosed with anything but you are caring for someone, whether a friend or family, who has demons that you just don’t understand.
In this way, my own mental health is unique to me and likely of no particular interest or relevance to anybody else out there. But it is as real as it is unique, and the only way I can make myself believe in its realness and power is to talk about it, write about it, bring it into being and frame it with my own lens, rather than the thick, streaked-up panes of glass that I feel separate me from the rest of the world. After years of not wanting to say a word, I feel more ready to speak and to explore and to share. I know that I’m not alone.
This is a blog of research, personal experience, discussion and honesty. It is my own version of therapy and I do it to rein in my own mind, but I would be overjoyed if it went in any way towards making anyone else feel less alone. You are not alone, either. Want to talk? We’re ready for you. Want to just listen and read? You are my esteemed and valued guest.
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