Sorry, but battling mental illness isn’t as easy as ‘taking a walk’

‘You should eat better’, ‘Are you drinking enough?’ and the dreaded ‘Have you thought of taking a nice, long walk?’ are phrases that sufferers of mental illness hear over and over… and over again.

Admittedly, some of these ‘suggestions’ come from a good place, from people who want to understand, or who at least want to try to.

But sadly, these same comments also leave the mouths of people who’d rather be seen as ignorant than to even begin to comprehend that there could possibly be an illness that isn’t physical.

So let’s just get a few things straight.

Mental illness, although invisible, is very, very real. Mental illness can lead to physical effects – headaches, fatigue, panic attacks, self-harm and sadly, even suicide.

So although you may not be able to point at someone and say: ‘They are struggling with mental health’, like you would a person suffering with a cold, it is very, very much real.

Sure, eating a salad might make us feel better that day. Like it would anyone.

You’re eating a meal that isn’t going to make you feel bloated, slobbish, or that little bit guilty for eating badly.

But that’s not to say you’re not going to have a panic attack later at the thought of leaving the house, or that your urge to self-harm is going to be any lesser because you feel as though your mental illness is controlling you.

And yes, water is nice – not as nice as an iced coffee, I must admit – but drinking more isn’t the answer to defeating mental illness.

Yes, eating better and drinking more are suggestions on maintaining your mental health – but they’re certainly not the answer for when you’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder that means you rely on medication to keep you stable.

Although, it is vital to drink more than enough when you are on medication, FYI.

While the trees are lovely and the air feels nice against our faces, dry from the tears that have fallen from our depression – it’s not a miracle cure.

A pick-me-up, sure. But if a sufferer feels that the only way to give them some stability and to block out the bad thoughts is to take medication, then there’s nothing wrong with that.

I personally have never felt better than when taking my little cocktail of Lithium and Chlorpromazine, this is the first time I’ve felt ‘stable’ and in control in a long time.

And I wouldn’t swap it for all the bloody trees in the world.

This article is most certainly not to shun these suggestions, but more so to keep them as that – suggestions.

You wouldn’t tell someone with a physical illness to ‘Go for a run’, you’d give them proper medical attention and treat them as more than someone who’s ‘feeling sorry for themselves’. So why can’t the same be done for those suffering with a mental illness?

This Mental Health Day, I am asking all friends and loved ones of those with a mental illness to make more of an effort.

To stop using these minor suggestions as a cure.

To be understanding of someone who is taking medication to maintain their mental illness.

To accept that mental illnesses are just as real as any other physical illness, that any sufferer of would be pissed off if told ‘Jog it off’ when looking for help.

Words by Hattie Gladwell

3 thoughts

  1. just as you stated if some one has a broken leg you would not ask them to go for a jog , to feel better , on my own account if i did not know you were suffering with a depression , and you seemed a bit down i would of said the same thing to help you feel better, but i understand and see people with or had depression and yes you cant get cured from all the suggestions you mentioned above , i know its about finding the right person to talk to as well , medication is ok in a short time and will always keep you from moving forward ,, and yes i know for 60% or more they need it to refrain from self harm , i have helped a few over come there deep depression , i’m no doctor , but i study and have for almost 45 years now, the teaching of unification of mind and body, a self defining awareness, and most of the ones that have benefited from this are students of mine, the art i study is KI aikido , the principles are profound in depth, its not about self defence as most people think , the aim is to benefit society that are suffering all aspects and problems of mental issue’s, as we know many suffer with psychosomatic illness, it’s the greatest illness man is facing, many friends of mine have also took there lives , i believe studying ki aikido principles and applying them to your life and the life of others any were can make a big impact on there recovery to a health mind and body , i have seen the positive impact it has had on young children, its not a means to a quick cure it’s a study and a way to oneness with your self ,hat is what is missing in daily life ,i will stop here and wish you all your best in achieving peace of mind and a great life , there are schools all over the world with great teachers teaching for the benefit of others , we as teachers are benefiting all ready , regards , William,

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  2. i really love this website and the articles you guys share! i realized you guys are powered by wordpress? i’m wondering if there’s an option for us to follow your blog? ’cause i can’t find the “follow” button anywhere.. ^^” do you have an fb page as well? ^^”

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