As you may have seen on my Instagram this week I have been discussing Mental Health Awareness Week, I am delighted to have my first guest post on my blog, the author has chosen to remain anonymous as they are still a little shy but if they ever change their mind I'll be sure to let you know (and I will definitely be encouraging them to continue writing!) Let me know what you think, Lucy x
I was scrolling on Instagram this morning (nothing new there) and, amongst the banana bread (still haven’t made one), TikTok challenges (my coordination skills are somewhat limited) and general lockdown life photos (anyone want to see all the crafts I haven’t done yet?) I saw this quote and it struck a chord:
‘Having anxiety and depression...It’s wanting friends but hating to socialise. It’s wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely.’
It’s by Matt Haig and for me it’s one of the most relatable quotes I’ve seen on Instagram* Why? Because I am one of those 1 in 4 people who experience mental health problems every year. The last few years have been interrupted with anxiety and depression which can be all consuming. You want to talk, you don’t want to talk. You wonder why all your friends are having fun, but then you reject their invitations. You want to tell them, but you don’t want to drag them down. They don’t want to know do they do? Answer, yes they do, they do want to know and they do want to help.
When I was feeling really low I couldn’t bear to look at my phone, it was a window to a world that I didn’t feel part of. Replying to messages felt like such an arduous task that I couldn’t face. I didn’t want to lie but who wants to know I spent the last few days in bed? And the longer I didn’t reply the worst I felt about leaving them on read. The dreaded double blue tick.
And I understand it can be exasperating for those on the other side. Perhaps you don’t know how to reach out, perhaps you’re fed up of being left unread or maybe you don’t know what to say. Here’s the thing though, you don’t need to know what to say and please don’t give up.
One day I received a card from a friend, it didn’t flash at me impatiently like a text, it didn’t have any profound words of wisdom; but it was in her hand writing, it was something she had taken the time to write and post and it said that she knew she didn’t have the words to make it all go away but that she was always there for me.
In a time when we still can’t see all our loved ones and a time when I’m sure many more of us will feel like our mental health is being tested sending letters is something we can all do. And it’s much easier than baking a sourdough loaf. If you have a friend or family member struggling or finding it hard to talk, then a card is a little something to brighten their day, a little piece of you with them. It could just be a hello, you might just tell them about your day but something so simple could be the start of a deeper conversation and if not, it let’s them know you haven’t forgotten. There’s a reason why there are books about the greatest letters written and why I suspect there’ll never be books about the greatest texts sent.
Mental Health Awareness week (which finishes today) is a bit like Valentine’s Day. We love all year round but sometimes it’s nice to have a day dedicated to it. It’s the same for mental health, the week maybe over now, but we can still write letters all year round.
*That and anything to do with frozen margaritas - love a frozen margarita.
If you are in the mood for talking but not sure who to speak to: