I am delighted to be able to introduce our ‘GUEST BLOG: Bringing the “aware” to Mental Health Awareness’ for you all to read today after a lovely lady by the name of Shrina made contact with us on Social Media. It takes a lot of strength and perseverance to share a personal experience – so please, if you can, check out her blog.
The Memoirs of a Crazy Happy Lady
Bringing the “aware” to Mental Health Awareness
We are consistently told through media outlets, work pressures, family and friends that there are solutions to everything and if we work hard we will find them, but is that really the case for those of us who suffer from mental health conditions?
My name is Shrina aka The Crazy Happy Lady and I was recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Initially when I was informed of this diagnosis I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant so I decided to do some research. What I noticed was that there was a lot of stigma surrounding BPD but also a lot of promotion about the awareness of this condition as well as many others such as generalised anxiety disorder, depression etc.
I was grateful that it got people talking but I also noticed that with this awareness there always seemed to be this need for solutions or fixes. It seemed that these two words were often used hand in hand. In my mind, just the word “awareness” led swiftly onto a type of “solution.”
I often felt that my sense of autonomy, self-worth and sometimes control were instantly diminished when discussions around awareness were being held because of this idea that awareness led to solutions. As grateful as I was to receive such help sometimes I felt as if I wasn’t being heard instead I was a problem needing to be fixed.
To me, mental health awareness is not always about continually speaking about what it is and how we can “fix” it but to have this quiet awareness of the person behind the condition as well as the condition itself. I can’t speak for the whole of the mental health community but for me, once I told certain people about my diagnosis it felt like that was what I was identified for and the other facets of my personality disappeared. I feel it is important to be aware of the person as a whole and to remember that their diagnosis is just a part of who they are as opposed to everything they are.
As hard as it is to talk about it’s almost twice as hard to live with. Consequently constant promoting of mental health “solutions” such as tips and tricks can make things seem harder and that much more unattainable for sufferers, that’s why another way forward is to engage more with the idea of being aware and mindful of those around us who we feel may be suffering.
Sometimes mental illnesses can affect the people you wouldn’t even think of and unfortunately for some of us being honest about what are we going through can feel quite shaming. Therefore having someone who is there, holding space for us without judgement, ready to just listen and not necessarily give us a solution will allow us to come forward, express ourselves and hopefully get the support we need whilst maintaining our independence.
I’ve personally had people be there for me in this way, they have been there for me with open arms offering no solutions just a listening ear and mindful attention to how I am feeling and that to me was the best promotion of mental health awareness I have seen.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Shrina for taking the time out to work on this article for us! It’s wonderful that we are able to end our year with a guest blog from someone who is sharing their story. You can find Shrina’s blog HERE. There is some strong language, but it’s all a part of her style – and we highly recommend a read! If you would be interesting in working on a blog-post for MMK Mind, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.