Today I am going to speak about my Mental Health Journey – mainly because it is a World Mental Health Day 2023 but it is time. Normally I do not get vulnerable on the interwebs; mainly because as a millennial and I am a Caribbean. To those who do not understand; we grew up with the internet. (Make of that what you will). We had a childhood without the internet and we were expressly told you do NOT tell people outside your family your business.
However, the crux is, that same family would use your vulnerable moments against you. Especially when you’re the resident “nut job” in your family. – But I am getting ahead of myself –
From as young as 7 (probably younger) I remember having to leave classes in school on a Tuesday and Thursday to go see Iris. Iris and I used to talk about everything and nothing at the same time. Sometimes we would be accompanied by “doctors” until my first diagnosis.
It wasn’t until I was 17 that I realised that Iris was paid to speak to me (social cues were sometimes lost on younger me). See the thing about Iris is she never made me feel different. She never made it seem like it was a ‘job’ or like it was a strain on her.
When I was first diagnosed Iris was there.
While I was navigating my diagnosis – Iris was there.
When I was at my lowest Iris was there.
When CAMHs told me that I was considered an adult and now had to get someone else to talk to, you get the point.
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for people to come together and realise that mental health should be a universal a human right. This day aims to educate people about the stigma of mental illness, and encouraging people around the world to support the cause, and establish a healthy environment in all aspects of life to support mental health.
Navigating a mental illness is not easy on a day to day – no mental illness is the same. I have met many people like me living through their diagnosis and no one would ever expect it. Unfortunately, mental illnesses become the butt of people’s jokes. Or misdiagnosing someone who has vile behavioural patterns are attributed to mental illness. Racism is NOT a mental illness – it is an ACTIVE decision. People chose to be racist.
In some cases, do not get me wrong there are people with genuine illnesses but other times they are just shitty humans. When someone has a physical illness, the general consensus is that they should be helped and etc. The sad fact is people cannot see mental illnesses it is not treated with the same respect.
If you are thinking of ways to educate your self more on Mental Health; Mind is an organisation that I love and is dear to my heart. Mind is great for information, education and finding ways to be a more proactive about your own mental health and others.
I dedicated this post to my psychiatrist Iris, who I love and care for like a family member. She gave me valuable tools to navigate that I still use to this day. Eternally grateful for people like Iris who go above and beyond for people like me. Personally, living with anxiety is something I would not ever wish on anyone. It is not a joke and at times it can be extremely difficult to navigate through.
Travelling is one of the biggest treatments for my anxiety – as it helps me get out of my head and fear my fears. Travelling solo helps me to navigate life in general.
If you are like me and you ever need someone to speak to – don’t hesitate to send me a DM or email email@example.com.
Love and Hugs,