I often see people on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) complain about “attention seekers” or say that “there are certain types of things that people should not post online”.
There are certain things that I do not feel comfortable posting online, however 4 years ago I did not feel at all comfortable with posting about my mental health online and nowadays I’m completely open about it and campaign publicly to raise awareness! But telling someone that they should not post about certain issues is not something I agree with.
(TW – brief mention of rape/sexual assault)
There are certain issues, such as rape and sexual assault for example, which people seem to be hell bent on censoring. I have seen people get attacked online for posting about their experience, be called attention seeking, you name it. In keeping this mentality people are essentially being silenced and isolated. It’s telling people that certain things should not be spoken about (which they should!!) and reinforcing the belief that it’s a secret and should be kept that way. Not too great if you’re looking for help and support. It’s completely invalidating and potentially quite damaging.
I don’t know. I hope that made sense. I think that people should feel okay to talk about anything they wish without fear of people jumping on them. It is no ones place to do so.
The past couple of weeks have been positive: work experience at the Young Vic, meeting Norman Lamb, being interviewed by the BBC about my experiences of s136. Plus my 17th birthday was on Sunday. That brings us to today: Christmas.
I don’t consider myself to have a mental illness – yes I do struggle with my mental health (and sometimes quite a bit!) but the number and collection of letters next to my name that a psychiatrist has put together from their trusty DSM or ICD does nothing for me. I ignore it I suppose, the only thing it has helped me with is getting a referral into DBT.
But over the past few years I’ve learned that your mental state doesn’t care what day it is, what time it is, what else is going on in your life that you should be happy about. Your mental health doesn’t know it’s Christmas. Mine certainly doesn’t! Instead, last night I couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over, to be on the other side of this mountain, to be able to get back to self destructive behaviours without being seen as “ruining” Christmas.
Last year I was an inpatient on a CAMHS ward for Christmas and the differences were doing my head in today. But that’s another story…
Christmas makes me feel shallow and materialistic, 2 qualities I strive not to be. There is an expectation to give things, to receive better things than your peers, to get together with family and be happy. It doesn’t work like that – money doesn’t grow on trees and families aren’t all happy. But that’s okay!! I just find that it breeds insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. I’ve seen posts on Facebook by parents despairing that they haven’t bought their child as many presents as the next person, that upsets me.
I cannot wait for the festive period to be over and to get back to normal. I was struggling last night and I didn’t reach out as I didn’t want sympathy. I didn’t need someone to tell me how amazing I was, how strong I am, how much I’ve overcome and how I have good things ahead of me. I needed someone to listen and not offer advice, not offer consolation. I don’t need any consolation!! I need to acknowledge my feelings and sit with them and be okay with them. Oh well.
I’m off to a friends for Christmas dinner now. Adiossss