What does Mental Health sound like ? I was told I sound okay ! The below has been taken from the mental health charity MIND mixed with my own thoughts.
Why is it that to be taken seriously, to be listened to, or sometimes even to qualify for treatment, people think that you need to look or sound ill?
One of the worst and most prevalent misconceptions when it comes to mental illness is the “snap out of it” response. If you’ve ever suffered from a mental illness, you know the drill: you start talking to a friend about your problems. They listen for a while and offer some support, but eventually they start to talk about your attitude towards the problem. “It’s all in your head,” or “Just don’t dwell on it so much,” or “You need to move on.”
The thing is, the inability to “just get over it” is exactly the problem. It’s what separates mental illness from normal, day-to-day stress. Your brain is supposed to be able to filter your emotions and process thoughts rationally, but sometimes it doesn’t. Everyone has problems handling their emotions and could use some encouragement sometimes. What makes mental illness different is that the part of your brain that helps make the jump from discouraged or worried or unmotivated back to normal is malfunctioning.
Some elements of some mental illnesses can be physical , or scars created through acts of self harm but so much of the time there is nothing to see. The thing about self-harm though, is that on the occasions there is physical evidence people are able to better comprehend that something is wrong.
But then ignorance sets in. From someone that has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts as well as being advised recently of extremely high anxiety (as if the other labels wasn’t enough)
much of the time there is nothing physically wrong to see. People often look me up and down, with puzzled expressions on their faces, before announcing, “well, you sound fine “or”well, you don’t look ill to me.” It is here that I wish they could spend a moment residing in the multi-car pileup that is my mind, knowing that then they would understand that to be ill, you don’t need to look sick. Sometimes I am surprised by my own reflection, wondering how it is possible to look so healthy, when the storms are raging so strongly in my head.
I believe that there a Such risk that any type of mental illness will not be taken seriously, due to the misconception that people who look okay are okay, and I really hope that people begin to realise that saying to somebody who is ill that they “look fine” and “sound fine” can demean that person and their illness, and prevent them from seeking the help that they need.
The misconception of the general public that people who are ill have to look or sound certain way is one of the main reasons that I initially wanted to speak out. I wanted to help convey that anyone can be ill, regardless of their appearance. changing perspectives and views on those with mental health problems.