Every year on Time To Talk Day, I write a post about mental health. Every year it gets lots of likes, and people reach out with their own stories. But year after year, mental health post, after mental health post, people still shy away from talking about mental health, or more often people shy away from listening to people talk about their mental health!
I still get ridiculed for posting about my mental health. I still get judged for being ‘mental’ or ‘dramatic’ or an ‘oversharer’ (self confessed by the way, no fucks)
Why is it that we still can’t accept people speaking out?
Obviously it must surely mean they’re attention seeking if they post how upset they are on Facebook or instagram right?
They only post for the likes. They’re not depressed, they bring it on themselves, blah blah blah, yada, yada, yada!
Year after year, people are still committing suicide because they were too afraid to speak out about their mental health problems, or they did try and speak out and were shunned or called one of the names of mentioned, or worse.
Social media is great for spreading awareness, but what about real people who reach out and are made to feel stupid, or are judged? Those people are where we should be directing our listening resources. You can repost anxiety references or share mental health charities all over your page, but if you’re ignoring your depressed or anxious friend when she puts up yet another cry for help, you could be missing the opportunity to support someone in need. Donating £5 is fab, but did you text your sister back after she poured her heart out because her boyfriend is a bastard. Or your friend who’s recently postnatal and desperate for 5 minute to have the shower she’s avoided for 4 days. Or your friend who cancels every 5 minutes because her anxiety prevents her from leaving the house? Or the one you rescheduled 5 times because you didn’t want to listen to them go on about their problems?
Of course some people will post for attention, it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise, we all post on social media to ‘share’ and for the ‘likes.’
So what though, if she’s posted something that’s a bit cringe, she’s your mate and she’s asking you to listen.
She’s reaching out.
Nobody expects you to sacrifice your own mental health to save someone else’s, and triggers are very real, but sometimes all it takes is a text to say you’re thinking of that friend in need. Don’t just scroll on by or avoid answering. It could change someone’s whole day and sometimes even their life. Make Time to Talk day a reminder to make not only Time to Talk, but Time to Listen. ❤️