Monday 26 September 2016

Why People Who Share Their Mental Illness Experiences Are NOT Attention Seeking

Why People Who Share Their Mental Illness Experiences Are NOT Attention Seeking mental health support advice help

When I decide to tweet, Snapchat or blog about anything to do with my mental health I want you to know it takes every ounce of courage to do so. When I really want to share how bad or good my days been, how's my mental health treating me or share one of my exposures with you, I think twice before sending it. That's a lie. I think a lot more about it than just twice. 

I want to be very transparent with you guys. At the end of the day my blogs a mental health blog amongst over things, but I'm not here to sugar coat life or to pretend it's all glitter and unicorns. Because it's not. Sometimes life gives you a tough time and just like you might do with a physical illness, you are just as entitled to share your mental health experiences/ challenges. If you want to of course. 

If I want to Snapchat about how low I'm feeling right now or if I send a tweet in an apparent state of despair it does not mean I am looking for attention. Far from it. Sometimes they are just a cry for help but other times I just want to perpetuate the reality of what suffering with mental illnesses can be like you can't always just cheer up or be happy. Just because I was fine an hour ago it doesn't mean that I'm faking it- that's just the unpredictably of mental illness. 

Hating people who share very personal details about their mental health is just not needed. The thing about suffering from any form of mental illness is that it can make you feel very alone and isolated both physically and emotionally. I feel very embarrassed and ashamed of the compulsions I have to perform. I don't want people staring at me in public when I wash my hands over and over again in the bathroom or when I eat crisps with a plastic spoon. Physically, I struggle to leave my house sometimes. Going to parties, swimming, shopping or the cinema can be a pretty big challenge for me. This also makes me very isolated from everyone.

Telling people that they are just sharing their mental health/ illness with others to get attention only adds to this loneliness. I mean, why would I want to see people, make friends or talk to anyone (even online) if I think they think I am just seeking pity and attention. 

I made it very clear when I started talking about mental health on my blog it was to help myself, inform others not to receive pity or attention. I think it's so important to talk about mental health to help remove the negative stigma that is associated with mental illness. When people say they have depression, they are told just to cheer up or are asked if have they tried mediation. If someone says they have bipolar, people think they are dangerous or unpredictable, and when people admit they have anxiety, people make fun of them and tell them that they are overreacting.

These are all very misinformed opinions to have but how can we really expect people to understand what it is like to suffer from any mental illness if they have never had one themselves? We can't! Which is why we need to talk about mental health and mental illness. I know a lot of my readers suffer from various mental health difficulties, and some don't. By sharing my experiences and stories with those non-suffers, I am able to educate them about mental health and improve their understanding for if they ever suffered from a mental health problem themselves or had a loved one that was suffering and they didn't know how to support them.

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In addition to this, when suffering from a mental illness, one of your biggest priorities should be looking after yourself and concentrating on recovery. Self-care is not selfish. You need to do whatever makes the day a little bit easier and more manageable. For me one of the ways I do this is through writing. I find writing my thoughts and feelings down, articulating in a way that others would understand very helpful and therapeutic. It helps me understand my emotions better and what I'm going through. I like to share posts about mental health because not only is it a topic that I am passionate about, but recovery is something that means a lot to me and something I really want to focus on.

I like documenting my journey, so hopefully one day I will be able to look back through my blog posts right from diagnosis to years later and look back at all the progress I have made. I hope I can be really proud of myself and feel a strong sense of pride and accomplishment when I make it through to the other side. I can look at all the ups and downs I have been through and see how rocky the journey as been but simultaneously be proud to see how far I have come. Yes okay, I don't have to share this online on a public platform to feel these emotions but having it all in one place, is very helpful. 

When I talk about mental health or mental illness, it draws other bloggers to my blog who also suffer from mental health difficulties or blog about similar topics. This is so lovely to see, because essentially what is primarily a negative we are turning on its head to be a positive. Talking about mental health and finding others who understand and appreciate what I am on about, is such a powerful way to bring like-minded people together, using this strong bond to form close and connected friendships. Which essentially makes the struggle of suffering from a mental illness a lot less lonely. 

So next time you see someone sharing how bad their day has been on social media or how frustrated they are with their mental health right now, don't think " oh she's just attention seeking again" remember that we can't be positive all the time. We all have bad days. Mental illness or no mental illness. I guarantee that 99% of those who suffer from a mental illness would do anything to get rid of their mental illness, they are ashamed, embarrassed or are devastated by the way it ruins and dictates their life. Under no circumstances do most people with a mental illness want any form of attention or pity, far from it! 

Like me, they just want to do their best at informing and educating those around them about mental health so hopefully one day, mental health won't be as negatively stigmatised as it is today.

Do you think those who talk about mental health are attention seeking or not? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below!

Thank you for reading, as always X

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