“It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok not to be ok” Brigitte.
Today is World Mental Health Day, a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. This day, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide.
As I (Oli Deeks, Centre Director at Camberley Youth for Christ) was scrolling through Instagram I came across a post from one of my young people, who is now at Uni, and I just had to share what she has written and turned it into a blog post. I have of course have permission from Brigitte and she’s happy to let a wider audience know her struggles with mental health.
Please do continue to read what Brigitte wrote.
“It’s World Mental Health Day, and I decided it’s time I make a conscious effort to work against the stigma.
When I was 15, I was diagnosed with clinical depression.
It’s something I just didn’t quite understand until I was there myself. It’s crippling. Debilitating. It’s not like feeling sad – it’s so, so much more. I remember laying in bed for hours, simply feeling helpless and hopeless. Some days I would scream and cry, and others I would just.. feel.. nothing. To this day, I am left with scars that I will have forever, from the days I would cut myself so deep that my whole skin split apart. Of course, this was not the way to deal with the pain, and I went on to develop much safer and healthier coping mechanisms. I haven’t relapsed in almost 2 years.
I’m sharing this because not enough people do. 1 in 4 people will experience mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime. That’s almost 2 BILLION people in the world. We are surrounded by people every day that will battle a mental illness at some point in their lives. We need to learn to be able to cope and support those around us, but people are too afraid to speak up because of the stigma that it holds. Until today, I have barely told anyone about the struggles I faced just a couple years ago. Because I was embarrassed. Because I was ashamed, and I was worried people would treat me differently. We need to break that. We need to stop shaming others for their struggles, and we need to start speaking up about our own. It’s so important that we support one another so that people can feel less alone if life is difficult.
It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok not to be ok. Something I read that I thought was worth sharing: “One awesome thing about Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) is that even though he is basically clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all his friends. And they never expect him to pretend to feel happy, they just love him anyway, and they never leave him behind or ask him to change”.
At Camberley Youth for Christ we’re about seeing young peoples lives changed by Jesus, therefore we provide pastoral support in schools helping young people who may be facing a mental health issue. We’re always on the hunt for more volunteers so if you’re interested and want to help make a difference in a young person’s life, why not find out more?