TW: Mentions of self harm/suicide
I preach a lot about mental health - it's not a new thing; and yet, I crop it out. I show some of the worst bits, of course, but whatever I put up has always been an edited version of how I feel; neatly wrapped in metaphors, easy to read, easy to cast aside once it's been read. Life with mental illness isn't like that - it's messy, and unpleasant; mental illness never lets itself be forgotten about for a minute a day, it's all consuming and it's something that I, and many others both across England and worldwide, suffer from.
It's time to talk because when I was 11 - I started hurting myself. This is a story that most of you know, but it's something that I've had to admit to every partner that I've been with since - marks on my body don't allow me the luxury of forgetting - and the reaction of all too many of them have been "oh everybody goes through phases like that, you were a bit emo". It's time to talk because throughout my school years I struggled to socialise, or even be a part of big social gatherings, and not one person picked this up as the severe social anxiety that it was. It's time to talk because when I collected my exam results at 18, far from being congratulated at 3 passes in the face of struggle, I was told that I could come back and resit.
It's time to talk because I was too ashamed to tell my employers that I was ill; and I would pretend to be physically ill because some days were too much to cope with mentally. It's time to talk because I had to see two different doctors before I hit on one that was willing to help me beyond telling me that this was a phase that would pass. It's time to talk because when I told my doctor that I was suicidal it took 3 days to see a member of the access team with next to no support in the mean time. Hell, it's time to talk because it took me weeks to admit that suicidal was what I was feeling even though my parents and girlfriend could see it plainly - and I pretended I'd taken some time out from work to those around me instead of admitting I'd left because it all felt too much.
It's time to talk because the only time that politicians are it's to cut budgets that have us waiting for CBT for months on end already. It's time to talk because mental health affects 1 in 4 of us every year and yet there's still a heavy silence of stigma around admitting that you are that one. It's time to talk because the longer we stay silent, the harder that it gets to break down that wall. It's not just time to talk, it's time to yell until we get ourselves heard, because god know that nobody else is attempting to do it for us.
It's time to talk because I know that, irregardless of everything written here, I am brave and I deserve better - we all do. It's time to talk because it shouldn't just be one day that we feel comfortable doing so about mental health, but it's a damn good start. It's time to talk - and I'll listen, so please, please do.
If you need help please find a helpline here and call it - it's never a sign of weakness to ask for the help that you need.