Real strength comes; from withstanding the urge to close your eyes and block out the world.
“We need to talk”, these are words that can make your heart drop, you feel the blood pool in your ears, you already know what’s going to be said, you need to hear these words. You need to talk, but you brush it off, you say it’s just a bad day, everyone has those, right? This bad day, however, has been going on for months, it starts the same and ends the same. You told yourself you could get out of this rut, you’ll find something you like to do, you can act happy, you can make yourself talk about it whenever you want. You don’t.
“We need to talk”, these are words we need to hear, we’ve been shut off too long, we’re refusing to face our fears. The answers we’ve been giving haven’t hit the mark, people know, our exams are failing alongside the relationships that we’re breaking because we can’t open up. We hear these four words and ask ourselves when did life suddenly get so serious? Why do I feel this way? Why am I being questioned? I thought I hid my feelings well? We need to talk.
My adult life can now be clearly divided into two parts, before talking, and after talking. This is how I felt and this is why we need to talk.
It seemed people got advice and help from me, but I never got anything in return. I solve other people’s problems when my life was falling apart. I lived this constant struggle with the choice of life or death. Many people didn’t know this about me, which I thought was good in a sense, because at the time I felt that if you tell anyone something like this, they would never look at you in the same way. Like a lot of things back then, I was wrong.
I wished I could help myself as much as I help other people, I wished my brain would find some reasoning that lets me sleep at night and not worry about having to wake up in the morning. I’d spend countless hours asking myself, why am I not happy anymore, like I’m missing something, only for it to be temporarily filled with something and then be void again? Can someone not direct my life like I direct theirs? Can someone tell me to sleep and night and to not care? I know now I’m not the only one who feels this way.
On the flip side, not being able to help someone is awful. Watching someone fall apart and not being able to make everything all right again. I always just wanted everyone I know to be happy and ok. I wanted to tell people not to be sad, which was rich coming from me back then, when I literally had two emotions, one of them being utter sadness. I wanted for everyone everything I don’t have, but I wanted for myself what everyone seemed to have. Maybe everyone felt the same as me at some point, but we didn’t talk about it and help each other. Maybe my friends were quite open with me because they can sense I’m a kindred soul, maybe I wasn’t strong enough to tell them that I can’t help them, because I can’t help myself.
I found it hard opening up, I wanted someone to help, but I didn’t want to have to deal with them after, their concern, their false feelings, the look on their face when they see me again, the tainted memories. Helping people, being helped, giving and receiving advice can change things forever, or so I thought back then. I didn’t want to be changed in anyone’s memories.
I wasn’t changed in anyone’s eyes. I was still me.
In fact, I became a better version of myself. I felt lighter, and like everyone my age, the world once again sits in the palm of my hand, it’s my oyster. I know now how to support my friends, and more importantly how to support myself. Personally, no one has ever judged me for opening up, but a lot more people respected me. Like yawning, talking is contagious, the more people I talked to about my experiences, the more people came forward to open up about theirs, and in turn they’ve been led to ways that can help them.
We’ve moved on from the stigmas of the past, we can talk openly, we can talk freely, some people even get commended for talking about their mental health. We ourselves hold the power to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health, and every time someone keeps the conversation going this stigma diminishes more and more. Finding the courage within ourselves to speak, gives others the courage to do the same. As I said, talking is now contagious, and I’m going to do everything to keep this conversation going.
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