1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem this year…
If your arm is broken you can at least count on the full support of people around you.
There will probably be an entertaining story to tell about how it happened, perhaps some thrilling gory details to share, other people will generally be happy to listen, to sympathise, to tell and return their own war stories and to pass on the nuggets of medical advice.
But if your mind is ‘broken’ generally you can count on none of this.
There are other ways to help although…
If you are depressed, joyless, hopeless, sleepless and plagued by an incessant sense of worthlessness – you are also much more likely to find yourself on your own.
People will not be entertained by your story about the funny thing that happened to you in the psychiatric outpatient clinic; they will not be eager to share comparable experiences of their own; The subject will be changed and your friends will often feel like they do not know what to say.
When you are working, you will probably not want your employer to write the word depression into your HR file…
If you are looking for work you will probably find some alternative facts to explain the several months of sick leave you were forced to take from your previous job.
Hoping to get married? Common knowledge of your depression could be enough to trash your eligibility and to blight the marriage prospects of your brothers and sisters too.
It’s called stigma…
Views on mental health disorders have improved though but we still prefer not to talk about it, and this is a problem.
We exercise a kind of virtual quarantine, separating the depressed persons experience from ordinary conversation, leaving him or her to get over it, to work through it, to pull himself together to get back to us when she or he has sorted herself or himself out.
Although it may be too shameful to talk about at home or chat about at work, we expect that a certain kind of talking may be exactly what is needed for the person to understand where their feelings are coming from, to build a narrative, to explain to themselves how they became depressed, what their depression means to them.
We might not know what to say to our friends with depression, we might not want to talk about it with them ourselves but we are also often adamant that they just need to talk about it with someone…
We can all be that someone to those we care about.
Enjoy the journey
ref: inflamed mind