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I know, from messages I’ve received, that most of the people who read my blog already understand why I talk about mental health. But, it seems that not everyone does. Last week, I received a comment on one of my posts, asking why I talk about mental health so much and suggesting that I should stick to happier topics. They used more colourful language than that, but you get the idea.
So, I did what any blogger would do – I deleted the comment and got on with my day. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. For a while, I started to doubt myself. I spent way longer than I’d like to admit, wondering if everyone felt the same way as Mr Grumpy Pants (name changed to protect his identity, blah blah blah). Does everyone wish I’d shut up about mental health?? Thank you very much, Mr Grumpy Pants, for ruining my day and setting my anxiety off, by the way. I really appreciate that. (Does sarcasm read well in a blog post?)
Anyway, after spending far too much time overthinking and stressing out about one little comment that doesn’t even exist anymore, I decided to answer his question.
Why do I talk about mental health so much?
Because I want to
Firstly, this is my blog. My name is all over it. I pay for the hosting, I bought the domain name, I write all the content. So I’ll talk about whatever I want. Sure, I try to write about things that I think people will either want or need to read about. Things that might help someone. But I’m OK with people choosing to not read my blog, if what I choose to write about doesn’t interest them.
Because I need to
My mental health is a big part of my life. It affects me everyday and I find talking about it therapeutic. I’ve found that my own mental health improves the more I talk about it. I think that is as good a reason as any. Plus, it’s one of the only things I know anything about. I would run out of things to write about very quickly if mental health was taken off the list of approved topics.
Because people need to hear it
In Why I Started Blogging, I talked about how there are certain things that people think they can’t be open about. Mental health is one of those things. I think it’s important that we talk about mental health so that other people who are suffering know that they don’t have to suffer in silence. My mental health posts appear to have bored Mr Grumpy Pants and, for that, I apologise. But it’s one of those “saying sorry to be polite” apologies, because I’m not really sorry at all.
I receive so many messages from people who tell me how brave they think I am for being so open; how they relate to my posts and how they wish they could be so open about their own mental health. People need to hear this kind of conversation. It needs to be as normal to talk about our mental health struggles as it is to talk about having the flu. Imagine how many people could be helped, if they felt more able to reach out, without the Mr Grumpy Pants’ of this world telling them to be quiet.
Because it’s the only way to fight the stigma
If I listened to Mr Grumpy Pants and only wrote about happy things on my blog, that would be like agreeing that mental health is something we shouldn’t talk about in public. It would continue to boost the stigma surrounding mental health. It would make me, and other people like me, think that we have to keep how we’re feeling to ourselves. To avoid upsetting others. Trust me. This is something we already worry about. When someone asks us how we are, and we reply “I’m fine”, it’s because we don’t want other people to worry about us. Because we feel like our mental health is our problem to deal with and no one else wants to hear about it.
By speaking out and letting people know that talking about mental health is not only OK, but really freaking important, more people will talk about mental health. More people will start talking about the need for change – for better support for those who need it.
When we talking about mental health; when we raise awareness; we save lives
If my blog makes just one person feel like they can reach out and ask for help, to get the support they need, it’s worth it. It’s worth the snotty messages from Mr Grumpy Pants and his Grumpy Pants friends (because I’m sure he won’t be the last one I hear from). Worth feeling vulnerable when I hit that “publish” button on my more personal posts. It’s worth feeling anxious every Friday, while I wait to see what kind of reception my mental health posts are going to get.
So, Mr Grumpy Pants – that is why I talk about mental health so much. You’re welcome.