Good mental health should be a priority especially for children.
I come from a generation where you had to fit in and adhere to social norms otherwise you would be labelled difficult, or troublesome and be ostracised. Children were considered resilient when in fact events and trauma could often leave a child scarred for life. Not fitting in was something that I felt deeply and couldn’t make sense of why I often felt uncomfortable and prone to depression.
Employment was a big area of contention, with me regularly breaking down at work and often had to leave employment. There were periods in my life when the discomfort was so bad that I wanted to be dead. I didn’t want to die but living was too unbearable. The one mainstay that kept me going was and is my wife of 34 years, Nicola, who believed in me and supported me through the diagnoses, mis-diagnoses, unemployment, depression, successes and my mission to understand why.
At 63 I know why I have suffered, I know my difference, which was not acceptable to others and made me feel alien in certain situations. I have learnt (learning) self compassion and making sure that what I have in my life is what I need to function as a human being, all be it different to many others.
People have said that I am brave to talk about it. I don’t feel brave. In my view the brave one was the little boy and young adult who was coping with all the confusion and upset that was being dished out by people who purported to have his best interests at heart.
From a young age I was telling GP’s that my physical ailments were a direct result of the stress I was experiencing from my poor mental health, although I didn’t describe it in those terms. The medical profession, pretty much throughout my life, have been intent on treating the symptoms or illness, sometimes with invasive medical procedures, causing more distress even with the best intentions.
It is my belief that if you don’t get your mental health right, you are never going to have good physical health. I am not talking about being happy here, I’m talking about having your emotional, psychological and intellectual needs met. These needs will be different for everyone. If you treat everyone the same, very few will reach their full potential.
Talking is easy, it is getting people to listen that is the hard part.
If this topic interests you a useful website is: www.thedepressionproject.com