There’s a P.S. to the stuff I wrote yesterday for Time to Talk Day which is going to be quietly slipped away here, and not anywhere else. Dealing with mental health issues is not just about the process of talking or sharing. It initially demands a measure of understanding in yourself: what is wrong with me can sometimes be the hardest question of all to answer. For some people, a diagnosis is vital to ensure they can access the care and support that’s needed. For others, it’s simply a cage to be placed in.
Living with differences is no longer the disadvantage it could once be. However, you cannot label everyone with depression as the same, just as it is impossible to call everybody who’s enjoys football a potential hooligan. There’s a temptation when you discover someone else suffers the way you do to compare notes, sure, but this isn’t necessarily an exercise in commonality. What I’ve only recently discovered is how dangerous it can be to just speak about these issues in subjective terms.
If you feel you need someone else to help you understand what is going on around you, I would urge anyone to seek some kind of professional advice. Trying to diagnose people via the Internet or through well-meaning observation is a really dangerous path to tread. However, pushing or forcing people to seek that understanding is even more fraught with pitfalls… sometimes, what is needed is not the pressure, but a realisation. For me, even knowing what I am, continuing to talk and write about my experiences is having effects I did not think were possible years ago. Yet here I am, continuing to learn and grasp the significance not only of what I am, but what I’m not.
There’s a reason this post is being scheduled a day late, too, which one day might see the light of day, but not for some time. Learning when to stay quiet is a skill too few people practice these days as if there’s somehow a premium with sharing everything in public. You don’t need too, and sometimes it doesn’t help.
Those days, you need to work it out for yourself first.