5.9.17 | 6.9.17
Mental health is an interesting topic. I find that its so hard for the person going through their own mental health journey to talk about their mental health. If I’m being honest, it’s partly society, kin and few other factors. I want to personally tell you what happens when someone you deeply care about doesn’t understand your mental health, and how I reacted to connotations along the lines of ungrateful.
Before I get into the article I would like to properly introduce myself, as always.
My name is Fatma, I am a 22 year old woc who has had clinical depression for 2 years or so now, and like most with mental health I took my time denying it as I researched what being depressed meant in every way shape and/or form. This means what it looked and felt like, but honestly mostly anything that would explain how I was feeling internally at such a mass intensity. I sat with the intensity for years before getting professional help. I am also an INFJ-P, daughter, friend, sister, self-care, mental health creative writer and possibly other sub headings that I can’t think of at the moment.
A couple of days or a week ago I told a friend of 8+ years about getting an interview for David Jones that I had applied for months ago. I told her that I won’t be going to the interview because we both know what happened when I worked in the sales industry not so long ago prier to this email, and it has now become a trigger I told her. I was expecting for her as my friend to see where I’m trying to come from with my situation.
To my confusion she was so shocked, and said that I’m acting along the lines of ungrateful and I looked her dead in the eyes and said
“what’s the point of me going to an interview that triggers me mentally. I don’t think its about being ungrateful. I’m trying to take care of my mental health and myself.”
And immediately she said “..I mean it’s up to you.” like I had a choice. I’m not trying to talk ill of her nor the situation, but after this conversation I started really thinking about what it is about depression that is so hard to understand. Also because I don’t talk about it with anyone other than my psych, I’ve learnt to not expect others to understand depression. So to be fair I don’t blame her.
I didn’t know this then, but when she said that my mind almost tucked away what she had said and it was like what she had said was still being properly processed in my mind so that I could think about it clearly in my own time. In the moment although I was immediately internally irritated for a split second but not angry, because lord knows being an INFJ-P type it takes me time to react properly to situations most every time. I wanted to properly understand why she would say something like that to me knowing very well my situation and that she is a very close friend of mine. So before I could even react emotionally my body and my mind were unconsciously protecting me from my emotions knowing very well this was not usually how I would react.
From that day on I had started to get really depressed and each day it just got worse. I was frustratingly trying to unpack why on my own for an exhausting month. Then with my psychologist, we unpacked how I was feeling piecing together what was going on inside my head to figure out the trigger was mentioned by a friend, and my mental health was still reacting to the words said. In that moment, I was so shocked I couldn’t help but break down and everything I held back just overflowed out of me.
Even though I said I was done crying from others words, understanding that this is not what they really mean because to others, they don’t know how mental health functions in the body so for them its usually not that they really mean it, but rather they don’t understand its intensity and manifestation of their choice of words while talking to someone who is ageing through mental health.
What I would really want to challenge is why is it that we aren’t actively talking about mental health.
What are we so scared of?
We as a race don’t understand how it completely works, and for the person who is going through this internal battle all they do is everything they can to help themselves.
I strongly believe talking about mental health is so important. It may be uncomfortable for some however, this is only because as a society we get to decide what is of importance and mental health is without a doubt one of those justices.
Think about it like this. When we are in pain what’s the first thing as human beings we do as the kin, we listen, want to comfort and we want to help. So, why is it that when someone is going through mental health the same thing isn’t practiced? We all want to do what we can to make the people we love and care about around us feel accepted and trusted, mental health is no different.