Jourdan Dunn has spoken recently about her personal battle with mental health issues, in sentiments I can relate to, she said “Everything was a struggle for me. My insecurities had me questioning myself every day” and “I just don’t think I can do this anymore”.
In my experience, anxiety can cause waves of panic at the base of my throat which peak and subside relentlessly, rendering me frozen yet frantic for the minutes or hours until it passes. Whilst depression can rip out all my emotions, leaving only a black hole of emptiness and self-loathing.
The pair often go hand in hand, and it makes me feel like a china tea cup on the verge of shattering into a million pieces, from constantly being heated up and cooled down without break. Add to that panic attacks which are both immobilising and induce a fear so terrifying I’m convinced that the end of the world is approaching. All of this can cause a myriad of physical issues too, rashes, welts, twitches and ticks.
The stigma is fading slightly, but even writing this, I felt dubious in a way I wouldn’t if I was writing about diabetes or epilepsy.
In our twenties there is so much pressure to be in the moment ‘living your best life’; and life is frantic; weeks, months and years can fly by and mental health issues can consume you. It’s often not until I’m past breaking point, that I’ll take the time to confront the issue head on.
I will routinely dismiss my mental health issues as feeling blue, having a bad day or just suffering from a really bad hangover. But I wouldn’t leave a gaping wound to fester to the point of amputation, so, why do we feel we can’t dedicate the same amount of time and consideration to the care of our minds?
There still seems to be an unspoken consensus from some that mental health issues are a symptom of weakness or laziness, with comments like “you do really need to calm down and sort yourself out” or “What could she possibly be depressed about?”
I think that the more we acknowledge mental health in society, and not dismiss it as an off limits topic of conversation, then the barriers and bridges we build for ourselves won’t be as imposing; we are our own worst critics and we need to live in a safe space where mental health issues aren’t swept under the carpet and left to breed and multiply.