Sharing Your Mental Health Story Online Is Not Mandatory

Don’t Share Your Mental Health Struggles With The World If You Don’t Want To

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I realise that a loudmouth yoke like me telling all and sundry this kind of thing is the height of unmitigated cheek, but sure lookit, who else is best placed to offer this wisdom? YOURS TRULY, THAT’S WHO.

Why? Because I’m always sharing my stories about the joys of living with my sketchy mental health adventures, and I know many others who do – but I also know of a lot of people who don’t, and I fully support them wanting to stay below the radar in the midst of all the think-pieces and trending mental health-related topics all over the web. They are just as entitled to keep their business under wraps as I am to share mine. So this article is for them.

When it comes to ‘opening up’ or ‘revealing battles with depression’ or whatever way the media phrases such things when they’re running stories about public figures disclosing what’s going on with them mental health-wise, you don’t owe anybody shit. So please don’t feel like you’re letting the side down or not coming clean just because you don’t reveal anything. Bollocks to that. You do you, Boo.

Your only obligation when dealing with a mental health issue or a crisis is to your own well-being and safety, along with your doctor or other healthcare professional and your immediate family & trusted friends. And that’s simply to keep them posted on what’s going on with you if something feels a bit off-kilter. In some workplaces you may need to inform them, but that’s another article for far more well-versed folk in those areas than me. But you get my drift.

Don’t Worry, We’ve Got This.

I’ve worked with a number of different mental health organisations & support groups over the years. My primary focus is on breaking the taboo and destroying the stigma surrounding suicide, self-harm, and changing the perception of those dealing with mental health-related illnesses in the media and the outside world. With this in mind, it might seem strange to be reading something like this coming from me. But there’s a difference between those stepping forward to tackle such issues by talking about them in a public forum, and people feeling like they’re letting the side down by not wanting to go public with their own stuff. The majority of people dealing with mental health issues are just trying to get through a day at a time. Or sometimes just one hour at a time. The choice to speak out or not is exactly that – your choice. Have a break from reading my waffle by listening to this amazing poem:

Don’t be pressured into offloading on Facebook or a blog just because it’s the done thing. If it’s something you feel you want to do and you think you’re in a safe space online, or you think it’ll help someone by doing it, rock on and get in on the action. We’d be lucky to have you. But if you can’t, don’t feel one bit bad about it. That’s not part of your job description as a human in the midst of dealing with mental health issues. All the rest of us who go public and speak out? We’ve got this. We speak for those who can’t. You concentrate on getting better, and speak out to the relevant people to help get yourself to a better place. THAT’S where the sharing should go. It’s all about to whom and where you open up.

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I’d hate to think that someone felt bad because they didn’t feel like sharing their experience online with the rest of the world for whatever reason. Isn’t that a little counter-productive? Look; those who want to speak will do so. As time goes on, it’ll get more acceptable to talk about all things mental health (be they the good, the bad or the ugly). More people will speak out over time. My point is, not everyone has to. Not online to Joe Public anyway. Old Joe P can be a right gowlbag sometimes.

To all those who are dealing with mental health issues on the QT, keep on keepin’ on. As long as you have access to the proper treatment and healthcare professionals, and some family or friends are kept in the loop, then you’re all set. I have friends and family in this situation, and I think about them every day. There are so many others out there in the same boat. We may not know your names, but we know you’re out there. Mind yourselves. We’ll keep shouting for ya.

PS: Button Poetry is THE FECKIN BUSINESS. Great for when you have no words yourself.

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About JayRow

Singer, songwriter, student radio broadcaster, teacher, commitment-phobe, depressive, loudmouth, Facebook obsessive, blogging addict, celebrity hassler, professional stalker, pipe dreamer, ambitious young thing!
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