Talk about your sanity. You say it when you have a cold, when you have a migraine, or when you have a sprain. You are not shy about saying that you have a sore on your head, but when you have a sore in your head, all of a sudden, you’re embarrassed to talk about it.
Do not hesitate to go to a doctor to have you prescribed an antibiotic, you see a physiotherapist for your shoulder pain or a dentist for cavities that prevent you from sleeping. You will seek THE specialist to relieve you of a chronic physical condition or cure you of a serious illness. But you’re afraid to see a mental health professional to heal your broken heart or your brain that doesn’t know how to deal with it. You tell yourself that you can still take it when it comes to your emotions.
There is always room for a little more discomfort or a stress that you consider trivial. You sweep away the emotion you feel with the back of your hand and you swallow by showing yourself with your most beautiful smile. You are probably telling yourself a lot of things in your head and you are covering up your emotional state because you are afraid of judgment. I understand you know. There are judgments, even in 2020. There are many even.
There is still your uncle who will tell you not to stress yourself with silliness, your grandmother who will suggest that you pray or your friend who will tell you that it will be okay if you don’t think too much about it. It’s possible that this is helping, but it could very well be that it is not enough. Another employer is going to find you lazy to take time off to rest your hamster that has been spinning non-stop for three nights. It could also be that your colleague tells you how she experienced it, and how easily she got out by going for walks.
We will tell you to manage yourself in front of your children so as not to expose them to your anxiety and distress. You have to hide your psychological suffering, but we will accept that you tell them that you have back pain tonight to explain that you do not want to play. You don’t have the right to tell them that your soul hurts. Your Facebook friends share lots of positive quotes such as “pick your happiness every morning” or “winners find ways and losers find excuses”. You feel incompetent for not being able to have a positive attitude. You feel guilty because you feel like everyone is okay around you. They have so many beautiful smiles on social media.
You see glowing cases of mental health issues in the media. You think if you talk about your sanity, people are going to think you are crazy or out of balance. You are afraid to scare. You are afraid of being classified in that not very rewarding category of “unstable person”. You’re afraid they’ll think you’re weak. You are afraid of rejection.
You hear all this and you even less want to talk about it, to go and seek help. I’m not really helping you because I confirm that it’s really difficult to talk about it and that even if you do talk about it, it’s not certain that it will be well received. But no matter how much I think about it all, I don’t really see how we’re going to get there other than by talking openly about it. Because if you talk about it without shame, if you dare to break taboos, maybe it will do your sister, your neighbor or your childhood friend good to see that he or she is not alone in this situation. So name, share and help to break myths and prejudices too.