I’ve never understood that phrase. I’ve never understood why people use it and think for one second that it’s helpful.
Do you know how frightening it is to be told it’s all in your head?
That your own mind is destroying you.
How can the fact that it being inside your own head bring you any comfort whatsoever?
It certainly never has for me. I think sometimes people may have this idea that because it’s inside me, that must mean I can control it. As simple as that.
What about when you have the flu, Crohn’s disease or cancer – they’re all inside you. Surely this means you can control them?
Wrong. And everyone knows this. Those things are behind your control, they’re illnesses, they aren’t your fault.
So why do we view mental illness as any different?
I don’t choose Ben. I would never choose Ben. Yet, I’m made to feel in one way or another that I actually have any control over his presence. A parasite living inside my own head that distorts my own thoughts and creates unimaginable panic and fear.
If you are someone whose lucky enough to never have experienced a mental illness; please don’t be ignorant. Be thankful that you’re spared the torment and do everyone a favour and learn. Learn the science behind it, learn the experiences your family or friends have been through, learn how to become more aware.
Many people are scared when they’re faced with someone whose in mental difficulty. They don’t know how to respond, how to act or how to help. Well, I can tell you now, doing nothing is so much worse. From my own experience, having someone try and make my life easier for me during times of crisis and not necessarily getting it “right”, meant more to me than the person who turned their back. I’d rather someone make a mistake than never try.
Because no one gets it right all the time.
I’ve suffered with anxiety for years – I definitely don’t get it right all the time. I learn daily about my own mental wellbeing and of those around me. What works for me doesn’t always work for them. But one thing I would always do is try. Let them know I am here; to listen, to distract, to comfort.
An outstretched hand is always better than an empty space.