There’s a place that I know
It’s not pretty there and few have ever gone
If I show it to you now
Will it make you run away?

Or will you stay
Even if it hurts
Even if I try to push you out
Will you return?
And remind me who I really am
Please remind me who I really am

Everybody’s got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody’s a picture perfect
But we’re worth it
You know that we’re worth it
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?

(Lyrics by Kelly Clarkson)

This is probably going to come across as a bit disjointed and jumping from theme to theme but it’s really the only way I can think of things at the moment. So for that reason, just bare with me please 🙂

It’s not very often that I listen to a song and actually 100% relate to the lyrics being sung. However, this is one of those songs. It is a favourite of my wife too for similar reasons and it was her that got me on to it. The first time I listened to it properly I just sat there and thought ‘…this is me’. Everything about these lyrics seem to resonate with me and for both my wife and I it makes ‘sense’. Music has a way of connecting to people and for me it is also a means of escaping for a while and concentrating on something other than reality.

When someone is physically ill you can see visual pointers of what is wrong and appreciate the pain they might be feeling. But….when someone is suffering from a ‘hidden’ illness (of which there are many) it can be hard for people to empathise. I have seen people’s faces change quickly when I tell them what’s wrong and they just don’t know what to say. The stigma around mental health and talking about it appears and the conversation tails off in one of those ‘..well, I’ve got to go’ type endings. I am fortunate to have a great network of family and friends who have been looking out for me and a number of them have experienced the type of feelings I am feeling too so that has also been an enormous help. The ones who don’t understand are the ones I find it harder to explain things to as you can see they just don’t get it and think it’s simply something you can just turn off and get better from straight away.

I guess what I’m trying to say (in a really random, disjointed and not really making sense kind of way) is that we ALL need to talk about mental health. Once people talk about it and begin to understand it, then maybe, just maybe, the stigma attached to the illness might start to break down and not be such a scary subject to talk about. I took the decision myself to talk quite openly to people about how my illness has affected me but I can appreciate not everyone may feel able to do this. This is simply a personal choice and I can respect others way of dealing with things as it is personal to them. For years I have not talked about things as I have been afraid of upsetting the people close to me with how I might be feeling but I have begun to see now that this made my problems worse. I am still no nearer to finding out what has actually triggered my health issues but I am beginning to find out more about myself and finding ways of helping myself deal with my thoughts in a more calm and rational way.

Most of all though, just remember to give yourself time to heal and be kind to yourself and each other. If you need help or support I have found great material from the following websites: