I asked strangers on the internet to send me questions yesterday so I could film a video, and I got a lot of fun things to talk about, but one pretty heavy question that I actually get very often; “Why do you talk about mental health?”
Until this year I only really chalked it up to “because I want to.” It started as a coping mechanism for myself to log my emotions and try to clear my mind that has now grown in to a bit of an obsession for me.
I didn’t really realise it’s importance to me until April when my dad told me to stop writing about my mental health and my experiences in my life that have influenced the person I am today. [This story is a lot a larger than that, but that’s all I can say right now. My dad has since been able to understand things on my end, and all is as well as can be.] I was incredibly enraged to the point that if I had to choose between him and writing, I would choose writing. But, something quite incredible happened.
In my life, I feel like I’ve always had to lessen myself in order to “be the bigger person”. But by accepting my mental health more and more, I’ve realised that sometimes being the bigger person means doing what is best for you. For once I fought head on for what I enjoy. I was able to use all the messages strangers have sent me; how I’ve helped them, advice they’ve given me, stories people vent to me when they feel no one else can listen.
I realised that this is much more than just ‘venting’ for me. I genuinely hope that the things I say can help others. Especially people who feel that they cannot talk to anyone or relate to anyone. However, when I was asked this question yesterday, I kind of realised something else.
Yesterday was the year marker for Linkin Park’s lead singer, Chester, on his suicide. I was pretty caught up in my feelings about it and also disappointed in how people react to suicide, and I realised… if I ever decide to kill myself, I don’t want anyone to feel surprised.
That’s probably why people like me can joke so easily about it. I understand that this is a complicated matter to people who don’t really get it… people always think that if you hear someone joke about death or talk about sadness, then you should step in and “help them”. But, this is just how we live. Death is an every day theme for us. An every day consideration. And there’s nothing you can do to change that. Support simply just makes the day to day a little easier. Which in some cases is all it takes, but mental health is a spectrum and it’s not the same for everyone.
But in my case, I guess I want people to know that it’s a possibility to me. I don’t want people to see my name pop up in a newspaper or someone’s facebook status and think, “Wow… I never would have thought.” “What could I have done?” “I guess I should have taken her more seriously when she said xx.” I just can’t imagine leaving that kind of thought behind. Like anyone could have made me make a different choice. Because that’s not how it works in most cases.
It’s really kind of fucked up to write it out like that when I read it back. And for reassurance to anyone reading, it’s not something I’m actively pursuing. However, death is apart of me as it is for so many other people. And I guess by writing about it I hope to be a comfort to people who deal with it, while also trying to offer insight to those who can’t really ever understand it because it’s not something they face.
With chronic mental illness there aren’t guarantees. But that’s how life is in general, right? No one knows what even a few hours can bring. All we can do is be kind, and honest, and offer others support and hope for the best in life. And I guess when I write, I just want to offer those things like support and honesty and kindness to others.