Alternative title: I am NOT Anxiety, I am NOT Depression … I AM Ruebi. How about instead of assuming that you know the inner workings of my brain with your GCSE Science, you actually ask me how I am?
A Mental Health Diagnosis doesn’t automatically erase the rest of the individual, it becomes an extension of who they are, a part of the whole. The person doesn’t stop experiencing other emotions or other issues / problems / pressures simply because of ‘the label’ they now carry … For example, just because I am sleep deprived or lurgy ridden or quiet does not mean it is “that Depression thing”, just because I am tired or tunnel visioned on a project or slightly tense does not mean I’m having “an Anxiety bitch fit”.
A Mental Health Diagnosis doesn’t eradicate who I am; I still read a lot of books, I still go to exercise classes, I still meditate, I still like going for walks in the fresh air, I still don my lucky undercrackers when the Clarets are facing their opponents (they don’t always work)*, I still watch cheesy horror movies until I piss my pants laughing (obviously not the lucky pants though as that would be blasphemy!) … And I still get ill in the various other ways that someone without a Mental Health Diagnosis does.
Recently I’ve become incredibly frustrated by people addressing me or my mood as one of the disorders I have rather than properly introducing me or establishing why my mood is that way.
Rather than introducing me as “The Depressive” how about you say “Ruebi” instead (as that is the name my mother chooses to address me as) … Rather than saying “we think she’s a bit low right now if you know what I mean” (complete with that ‘affectionate’ circling of the finger by your temple) how about you ask me and allow me to explain that I’m exhausted, I’m overworked, I’m ill (in the lurgy sense) … Rather than telling others that you “don’t know how to deal with these types of people with them sorts of illnesses”, you find a way to deal with it … With being around us … After all, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a Mental Health problem each year. It is a lot more common than you think isn’t it?
How about instead of perpetuating the stigma attached to Mental Health you take a step out of your comfort zone and entertain the notion of engaging me in conversation. You never know, you may actually learn something …
Instead of seeing me as my supposed labels, try seeing me as a person.
We’re more likely to connect that way.
*I should point out now that Burnley play Middlesborough tonight which means it’s squeaky bottom time for the Clarets fans out there. If you follow me on Twitter you probably know I’ll be doing a lot of fussing about this match!