As part of our ‘Mind Your Mind’ Mental Health Campaign we asked you to share your stories. Our aim is to create a space to discuss mental health so that people can share their experiences to help raise awareness and support others struggling with their mental health. We hope that others will benefit from this exchange of stories; be it by allowing them to draw parallels to their own experiences, or by creating an understanding of how people can suffer – often behind closed doors.
If you would like to submit a story you can do so anonymously by following the link below:
For now, here’s our first story!
I didn’t realise the extent to which she was suffering until I sought her advice on how to help someone going through anxiety and depression since I knew she had battled it before.
“I think with depression, you feel very isolated and that you’ve got no-one to talk to and if people do try and reach out to you, I feel like when you’re in that headspace, you just sort of, I don’t know, ignore them, but it’s very comforting to know someone’s there if you need them, so I’d just say let them know that you’re there if they want to talk, even if they don’t talk to you, just knowing that you’re there to talk is so much help.”
Her words were a reminder that something which may seem so simple to us, could mean everything to someone else so it’s always important not to overlook the small things. I continued listening as she spoke about the importance of asking questions wholeheartedly. How often do we use “How are you?” as a conversation starter as opposed to a way to genuinely show interest in someone’s well being?
“Keep asking them how they are, that’s the most important. That’s the biggest thing honestly. Because I know I felt like I was bothering people, so I never said anything. So it’s important to ask someone how they are.”
“Also I think if they’ve openly told you themselves, they know that you know and I think it’s important they know you’re there for them. I’d say ask them openly “What can I do for you? How can I be there for you? What is best for you?” because obviously, when someone’s feeling like that, they don’t want to bother you, they’re not going to tell you how’s best to approach them, it’s best if you ask them that kind of thing because it will be so different for everyone.”
Our conversation was a reiteration of the importance of being a source of strength and support to one another. A reminder of the fact that every single one of us are struggling with something and often, it’s so easy to get consumed in our own struggles that we forget others are also struggling.
Mental health affects all of us directly or indirectly and it’s important to understand that first and foremost. So pay attention to every little detail. Listen attentively to each conversation, every word, every expression and don’t trivialise anything. Make people feel loved, valued, appreciated and respected – we’re all capable. And don’t underestimate the power of a listening ear. You don’t always need to know exactly what to say, sometimes people just want to be heard. And that’s more than enough. And finally, be genuine. Always. And don’t let the day someone tells you “I honestly think you are the reason I am alive” be the day you wake up to the reality of the impact your actions can have on another.