Post No.: 0005
Mental health problems can affect literally anyone – so a sufferer may think they’re alone but they’re far from alone. Even many top, high-achieving and tough sportspeople, great leaders, creative geniuses, successful businesspeople and well-known people have experienced or do experience mental health issues (often in secret/private) – sometimes the very same people many consider ‘super human’ (but no one is ‘super human’, every person is human). Even many professional musicians or performers suffer from anxiety, with good days and very bad days. You therefore cannot easily tell who is suffering just by looking at people because mental health sufferers don’t have a ‘typical face’ or ‘look’, they can come from almost anywhere, and they also tend to intentionally hide it well from others too. Sufferers can come in all shapes and sizes, including outwardly physically fit/strong or beautiful/handsome, so we cannot determine or dismiss sufferers based on these measures.
About 1-in-6 people in the UK have a mental health problem at any one time, and this is highly likely a gross underestimate due to hidden and silent sufferers. About 1-in-4 of us will likely suffer from one mental health problem or another at least once in our lifetimes. (These statistics may differ depending on which country you live in but mental health issues are likely to be more common in your country than you may realise.) The fact that these conditions are so prevalent in society indicates that it is an issue that must be dealt with at a societal level too – there is a societal responsibility as well as individual responsibilities.
Sometimes when we see a person behaving oddly, or at least differently to how they used to be (whether they gradually or suddenly changed), it could be an early sign of something undiagnosed – so always bear this understanding in mind. You may not know a person’s personal history or past traumas either – even if you think you’ve known them for a very long time. Hence we must show care and respect towards all others at all times because everyone we meet or know may be fighting an inner battle we know nothing about. And sufferers can pull through and function as well as anyone else if they get given the right help and support. Woof.
Depression doesn’t mean one is mentally weak – in fact, compared to living with depression, lots of other mentally and physically tough tasks can seem relatively easy. Depression is the biggest mental challenge anyone can ever face – many people have literally lost their own lives trying to fight it. These people can climb the highest mountains of the world, earn millions, lift multiple times their own bodyweight and/or find fame and respect across the world – but tackling their own troubled inner world is the greatest challenge they’ve ever faced, will ever face and could ever face.
So depression is the greatest mental test of all. And survivors of depression are the mentally toughest people there are because they’ve been directly tested by the mentally toughest test there is, and they’re still standing. For those who don’t make it through because they’ve committed suicide, they were only eventually defeated by the toughest mental test possible. Unless, for instance, Special Forces selection candidates would rather literally end their own very lives than do what tests they’re told to do – like cope for a minute exposed to CS gas – then it’s not even close as a mental test (not that it’d ever be ethical to test candidates to such extremes). No one gets post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from SF selection but by events like the actual experience of war, torture, loss or chronic/permanent incapacity. Fictional horror films can also seem lame by comparison, or in general simply inaccurate when they attempt to portray those with mental illnesses.
Mental health is a subject Furrywisepuppy is passionate about. If you suffer from depression or any other mental health disorder then we will (with the help of professionals) get through it together! If you don’t and never have then please stick around to learn more about the subject anyway because it’ll likely affect someone you care about one day, if you don’t personally know a sufferer already, or there is someone you know but they’re hiding it from you well or are unaware of it themselves. This post is just a brief introduction to many more posts on the subject to come.