This was written by an amazing friend of mine who doesn’t want to be named. Enjoy.
World is becoming a lot more understanding and a lot more tolerant of people with mental health issues. On the surface this is a good thing in fact even if you dig deeper it’s a very good thing. However, not all the articles “how to love someone with anxiety” “10 ways to help deal with depression” I helpful to everyone.
I recently saw a Facebook status from someone being very supportive of people with mental health issues saying that you had an open door policy, and that anyone could call her at any time for a cup of tea and a chat if they felt like it was necessary and as someone who is suffering with mental health issues a lot of my friends have made similar offers. The offers of “I’m always here if you need me” or “my phone is always on” do not go unappreciated. In fact, for that brief moment in time you actually feel better like there is some support but you can get through this and people are rooting for you. And I have no reason to doubt anyone who says these things means it. But if the worst came to the worst I turned up on the doorstep I would be welcomed us a member of the family and given whatever support I required until I was ready to carry on. However, these offers of a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen or a safe haven away from the monsters that haunt you are not easily taken.
Right now, I’m alone. I’ve had a bad day, I’m not in the best of situations (But I know Damm well it could be worse) and I’ve let down people close to me who I care about. No, I’m not just saying that I feel like I’ve let people down who are close to me and that I care about, I actually have. That is a conversation I had to have today. And right now all I want is a little reassurance that things Will get better and to be told I’m not as much of a prick as I think I am. But I am alone. There is no one physically nearby to talk to. And even if there was this is something deeply personal to bring up. But that’s okay because my phonebook is full of contacts, Full of friends and colleagues who have made the offer above an open door a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. But they all have lives. They all have their own problems. They all have bigger and more important things going on and what they don’t need right now is someone looking for a little self-assurance. At least, this is how it feels. I know full well that if I called or text the right people they would be supportive some of them would even jump in the car and come down to see me to make sure I was alright. But part of the problems of being depressed and having mental health issues is feeling like you’re a burden on those around you. Do you know that if they ever came to you with a similar problem you would welcome them with open arms and nothing would be too much to do for them to make them feel better. But when you need that kind of treatment, that kind of reassurance, all that kind of support, it’s suddenly too much to expect from anyone else. And so I’m alone. I know will get better, I know this feeling will go away and I’ll be back to the way I should be. But for now I’m alone and all the offers of an ear or a shoulder make me feel worse because I know they are meant with good intentions and I know they are sincere but I can’t except them and become more of a burden on my friends and family that I already feel I am. I don’t know what the answer is. Other people in my position may find the open door policy is more of a comfort. I know I do when the offer is made. But when it actually comes down to it, it makes me feel more isolated because if I except the offers I’ll be burdening more people.
And this is the problem with open door policy is. If you want to help someone, really want to help someone struggling with a mental illness, the only way we can do that is the band together and actually start the conversation about mental health.