The first thing to say, I guess, is that it’s pretty late here in WeeGee land. The second thing to say is that I apologise in advance for any typos, grammatical errors, or nonsensical nonsense. It’s just that I’m currently functioning* on two hours sleep and my typing, grammar, and sensible skills aren’t at their sharpest…..
It’s alright though, no need to worry because I’m not going to bore you with the boring story of why WeeGee isn’t sleeping at the moment . I’m not even going to fill you on the hilarious (and disastrous) hilarity that befalls a WeeGee when she is experiencing sleep deprivation delirium. Don’t get me wrong, if today was any other day that’s probably exactly what you’d get but today is World Mental Health Day, so I’m going to make some noise about that instead. What else is a mental, sleep deprived girl to do?
This year, the focus of World Mental Health day is on older people – in particular the mental health of the over 55s, because apparently, the statistics would have it that the over 55s are considerably ‘happier’ than 24-54 year olds. I guess that in itself is interesting enough to cue one of my little thinks** but what really struck me about this year’s theme is that the focus is on actual ‘healthy’ mental health.
A great many of the narratives on mental health are about what happens when things go wrong – I for one have managed to fill a whole blog with my own experiences of living with mental health difficulties. The tendency, I think, is to relate the term ‘mental health’ with poor mental health and this (or so it seems to me) is one of the things that marks sufferers out as ‘different’ in some way.
I’m blogging today to state the bleedin’ obvious, as it were, and to point out that EACH AND EVERY ONE of us has mental health. For some of us it’s good, and for some of us it’s not so good but we very definitely have it in common. I can’t help thinking, when you look at it that way, that if only we would talk to one another we’d learn an awful lot, and end up all the richer for it whichever side of the divide we tend to sit.
Right now, I’m not too sure which side of the line I’m sitting, but I’ve come to an understanding with myself: it really doesn’t matter. When I was depressed I thought that everyone who wasn’t depressed was happy. Now I’m not depressed I realise that was the depression doing my thinking. Now I’m not depressed I just sort of am. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad, and sometimes I’m million different kinds of feelings (occasionally all at the same time) I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve had to learn a lot about not being depressed and I’ve mostly learned that by paying attention to the people in my life who were taking care of their mental health.
I’m much better at taking care of my mental health than I used to be. I know that I need to keep myself fed, and watered and rested. I know that I need to make time to exercise, and get fresh air, and laugh at myself when I get obsessive about whatever my latest minor obsession is*** I need to read books, and take photographs and spend time with the people who matter to me. Most of all I know that sometimes I need to be brave enough to sit with myself and feel the feelings. It took me a long time to realise that those were the sort of things that other people had been doing all along – taking care of their mental health without even realising it.
I’m not over 55 and I wouldn’t describe myself as happy**** so I’m not too sure what I can contribute to spreading the word about that. What I can say is that it’s World Mental Health Day. And mental health, whether it’s good or bad, is something we should all keep talking about.
A serious one from me today. But even the WeeGee is serious once in a while. But then again, look at this photo it proper made me laugh:
Ps. I’ve got a new blogging and blog reading plan so hopefully I’m back in the game after my recent spell of ‘I don’t know what to say/I’ve run out of time’
*I use the word in the loosest possible fashion
** If nothing else I thought hey, that’s a reason to be cheerful because I’m not 55 yet so it can only get better
*** currently a fairly even mix of Breaking Bad, collecting conkers***** and pickled onions
****Primarily because I’m functioning on two hours sleep and I’m really rather ANXIOUS
*****You may know them as horse chestnuts.