I went to the Frontline on Monday – they were discussing mental health and suicide. My friend John was on the panel and hearing someone speak so strongly about their personal experience of struggling with mental health was inspiring to say the least. The one thing that troubles me most, and this month has been a testimony to such, is how can I help someone who may not want help? Or worse – how can I be there for a friend who needs support but is suffering in silence? I mean realistically, how is a person meant to tell when a series of bad days has actually escalated to something more?
Contributing to the show – Twenty seconds of fame pending!
It’s all well and good for us to say that we’d support a friend who needed professional help, but depression and other mental health issues isn’t always so black and white. January has actually shook me up in that I’ve found that those who are close to me – my friends, my relatives, myself included – we mightn’t be coping with our own hurdles as well as we think. I guess it goes back to the whole “Please Talk” aspect of things.
Everyone says January is the most depressing month. I’ve heard somewhere that the worst day in the year falls somewhere into the third week of the new year and even though I’m not one for wanting to read too much into statistics, I couldn’t really help but notice the effect that January had on both myself and a lot of my friends. These past few weeks have been saturated with highs and lows for quite a number of people I love and it’s made me think a little bit more about how we take care of ourselves and keep trucking on through the ups and downs.
John in action!
From where I’m standing, I can track my highs and lows of this month almost by the day.
Happy Day: Passed my exams.
Not So Happy Day : Dad left to serve in Bosnia for the next 12 months.
Happy Day: Found out I’m going to college in Paris in September.
Not so Happy Day: My little sister ended up in casualty thanks to weather related injuries.
Happy Day: Went to see Batman the Musical. An excellent show!
Not so Happy Day: Got drenched from cycling in this torrential end of the world kinda storms we’ve been having.
Happy Day: Got involved in SpunOut’s Youth Produced TV show (stay tuned on this… )
Not so Happy Day: Found out that some of my friends aren’t as happy in themselves as I previously had thought.
Using overly simplistic examples, I’m just trying to show a sample of how these past few weeks have been for me. Hectic, granted. Emotionally charged? Undoubtedly. Fun? Not always. I know the January blues hits everyone but for some reason I think that this time, it hit my group especially hard. I love my friends all the more for the courage and understanding they’ve all shown this month when things got that bit harder to cope with. It’s okay not to feel okay but is still okay to do nothing about it? I’ve had more cups of tea this month than a person probably should and it’s all been because I’ve needed them… An Irish enough coping mechanism I suppose. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people deal with things and get over the problems and issues which are scaring them the most. It’s pretty much the drive behind the Flaunt Your Flaws project I’m trying to run. And yes, I still fully intend to run it.
Anyway this post was just a little bit of a reflection on this fortnight gone – there’s so much stuff in it that could fill up posts themselves that I only mentioned in brief. Paris is a big one – that’s a life changing revelation right there! Yes, I was thrilled. Dad leaving for Bosnia – another big one – a tough few days, but it can only get easier. Being there both for my family and friends and having them there for me when I need them to be helps. Also, before I finish up this post I just want to mention the HSM project! It’s an initiative which is being taken up by people all over the world and has recently started showing itself in Ireland. The project is called “Hello Sunday Mornings” and is all about personal control over alcohol. It basically is a challenge for people to not drink or else limit the amount they drink on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis and the way I see it, it’s a challenge to show yourself that alcohol can be part of an enjoyable night out, but it doesn’t define it.
Tonight a few of us are going to Coppers for the Irish HSM launch with Des Bishop. It’ll be such an experience dancing around in that place completely and utterly drink free and still having a crazy night out. I’ll keep you posted on how the whole thing goes.
More on everything later.