Why is it Still so Hard to Talk About?

It’s 2019. We live in a world of change and diversity, and although we’re still a bit behind on some things (ok, that might be an understatement on certain things), I’d like to think that on a lot of things we are becoming more open and understanding of things; one of those things being mental health.

So, why is it still so difficult for people dealing with issues to talk about it?

Apart from the obvious reasons, that will probably always be a barrier for mental health sufferers such as, a lack of knowledge or understanding around certain conditions – particularly for those who haven’t been through this themselves. There are also so many different types of mental illnesses, so I think we’re all still learning, and it’s impossible to understand them all. Not only that, but every person is different. We have our own experiences, some of them not so pretty, and we are always going to worry that we will be judged; that’s just a natural instinct, particularly for traumatic experiences.

However, I think we are now starting to face a lovely new issue with opening up about mental health…

I saw an article the other day talking about Keira Knightley, and her recent coming out to talk about her experience with PTSD. I came across the article on Facebook, so I opened up and read the article, then went back to the Facebook post and started to skim through the comments. I’m not sure why, but maybe I was hoping to see some nice, positive, and supportive comments.

What I actually saw shocked me.

I read through comment, after comment, of people claiming that they have PTSD and have been through x, y, and z, so that means that Keira Knightley can’t possibly be suffering from this.

People being genuinely “insulted” and “offended” that “all these celebs” are starting to come out about their mental health issues, and it’s a joke that they think they suffer with this type of thing “just because they’re famous”.

It was like a competition. I mean, seriously? We’re competing about who’s mental health is the worst now?

So, basically we’ve gone from not talking about our mental health issues with anyone, or only people very close to us, to arguing online with strangers about who has the worst problems.

It’s a joke. Why are we in competition with each other about this?

As if mental health is not difficult enough. It’s taken a long time for it to even start to be more accepted and for people to start to open up, and get help. We are nowhere near the point in which we should be, with this, and now we have to contend with being made to feel like our thoughts and experiences are not valid because they are simply not the same as what others have been through.

Everyone has their own problems, and we all go through difficult times throughout our lives. Everyone is wired differently, and therefore, people are affected in different ways. It will always seem like there are people worse off than you, but that does NOT invalidate your problems or how you have been affected by them.

Before you make a comment about someone else’s mental health, or anything they’ve been through for that matter, please take a step back first and think. You are not in their shoes. Your experience does not make someone else’s any less real.

We are all in this together, so why not try being kind instead.

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