On mental health; why it's okay to be open about it.

03:27


(image by Emm Roy)

Today I was going to write and shoot an outfit post for you. I had planned it out in my mind for a number of days; "Thursday will be the day I take a bulk of new photos on my camera using my new tripod, that way I'll have material for the next week etc etc". When I woke up this morning however, my mind was pretty cloudy. I felt a lack of energy. I felt unhappy, demotivated. I didn't feel body confident. So I decided to write this post instead because days like this happen quite a lot.

I've talked in a previous post about my struggles with mental illness, specifically anorexia nervosa and generalised anxiety disorder. These are issues that affect me hugely - days like today for instance - and as they impact my life a lot, I tend to be very open about this on social media. This may surprise people; mental illnesses are taboos!! They're so terrible, you /can't/ address these things!! And to a degree, I understand this. Mental illness is awful but it's a huge reality of life for many people - according to Time for Change, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. It's so common, yet no one is willing to address it - it's still something many believe should be kept hushed up and stored away, because of fear of judgement and losing friends. This is something that I feel strongly against and that I believe needs to change.


Okay, I'm 20 years old. I'm a university drop out who's looking for a job and running a blog part time - what can I do to make such a huge influence? Very little at the moment, in the grand scheme of things. My way of trying to get people to talk about their struggles is by trying to normalise it, simply by discussing my daily struggles and how I'm feeling on my Twitter page. If I'm having a positive day of recovery and have eaten a fear food, I'll post a photo of it and tell my followers how proud I am of myself. Alternatively if I feel extremely low, I won't hide that. I believe that by being real and including my true life daily experiences in the other content of my feed it shows how mental illness is a totally normal thing that we should not be afraid to be open about.

This candidness has received mixed response. Some people close to me have told me that they think I'm /too/ honest; that brands may see my social media and judge me based on the fact I have anxiety and an eating disorder therefore not wanting to work with me. My answer to that? I wouldn't want to work for people with this view. That may seem close minded of me but it's the truth, anyone who thinks that mental illness makes someone lesser or inferior is not someone I want in my life; personal or professional. On the whole however, the good reactions have far outweighed the negative. Lots of my friends have come to me with kind words of love and support which have fuelled my recovery and brightened me up on my darkest days; even people I barely knew before have become so much closer to me purely through their kindness and understanding of my situation. I've also had people open up to me about their own struggles - people I never knew were going through anything - and we have been able to offer each other support. Being open has helped me so much, and the fact I can also help others through this is totally invaluable.

What I'm trying to say is, it's okay not to be okay. We all go through trials and tribulations and it's easy to think that hiding the bad things in our lives is the best thing to do. We worry too much about being a burden, for situations we cannot help and do not want. But it's time to change this. We have to speak out and talk about mental illness and normalise it and we need to do it now. It's time to change the conversation about mental illness and be strong and open. I believe in you all. <3

For more information about why we need to get rid of mental illness discrimination please visit the Time To Change website, they are a wonderful campaign based on changing the conversation and ending stigma. If you want to follow me on Twitter, my username is @carackobama (my DM box is always open).

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32 comments

  1. i have the opinion as you. 'it is ok not to be ok'

    jess x | wellwellgirls.blogspot.com

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  2. This is something more people should think and speak about. People with mental issues or those who are not feeling ok at the moment aren't drama queens all the time. Some people are, yes, but more often than not it's a cry for help because they're not doing so well on their own. And we, as fellow human beings, should be there for each other to make them believe that it's not a disgrace to not be okay all the time, and that sooner or later everything will fall back on its place. Those who are going through a dark and hard time shouldn't keep it all bottled up inside, and those who see other people in hardship shouldn't judge, but help if they can in any way.


    http://couturecase.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. So true. Thanks for reading lovely xo

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  3. This was really lovely. Sometimes it's hard to get up and be motivated especially with anxiety and some people are just comfortable talking about it more than others and that's okay. I think you can make a difference even if you start small!

    x Kenzie// Kenzieblogslife.blogspot.com

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  4. It's ok to talk about these things, I don't understand why people are so scared about mental illness (probably because nobody talks about..)
    Great post !

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  5. We all have our ways of dealing with issues in our lives, some people are more bold (or just more comfortable) with talking about their problems publically then others. When I'm having/going trough a bad period/time, I tend to keep to myself but we're all different. I do strongly believe that there is nothing wrong in talking about our problems, mental issues etc. In fact, being open about it can help our healing process...and besides, you never know whom you can inspire by sharing your story/example/ experience. As Maya Angelou said, we should tell the kids/the young only the good things about ourselves because it makes them feel like they can never live up to some idea...it takes courage to share our mistakes...but afterall, we all made them and it is nothing to be ashamed about.

    I do write about my bad experiences not just good ones but I guess it is in my nature to wait....not to talk about an issue while I'm having it. For me it is a lot less stressful if I 'share' on social networks things that haven't happed this day. I like to put some time between my online and real life, sort to speak. Nevetheless, I think it is important to cover different topics, to be honest with ourselves and not to let our life become an ad of some sorts (where we show only those aspects of ourselves that are 'positive' or that we think people will like). Great article, well written, well thought and I enjoyed reading it!

    http://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

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  6. It's very brave and right of you to be so open. I try to be open about my mental illnesses as well, and at times it's quite hard to be open. Being as blunt, and saying to people that "I'm not okay today" can be really hard, but it is so important that you, and me, and everyone else with these illnesses can talk about it. That's the only way we're ever going to break the stigma around it.
    Brilliant post!
    And I do think you can make a difference. Because your readers will hopefully think about mental illnesses in a different way after reading this, and maybe they will go on to tell others, and we can get a chain reaction in that way.
    Very well written post about an important topic! Great work!
    Much love,
    Mona

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    Replies
    1. This is such a lovely comment. Thank you Mona <3

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  7. I'm really glad you address this issue since it is something not everyone talks about nor is always comfortable talking about. I've struggled with anxiety and depression a lot in the past and it is an ongoing thing but I'm learned to speak up now and not be ashamed about the way I feel. I think it's important we all say something. Wonderful post!

    Stacey | www.thebambieyes.com

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    1. Thanks for reading lovely! I'm glad you're more comfortable talking about your struggles now xx

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  8. I think it's great to be honest about this, I think alot of people wish they could be more honest about mental illness. If anyone sees it in a bad light then they aren't worth working with anyway! Lovely post X

    eleanorfrances.com

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  9. I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling with mental illness, though even more than that I'm full of admiration that you're talking about it openly on your blog/social media. I've no doubt it'll comfort those going through similar situations :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice
    x

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  10. love this post, can totally relate to how you feel, i spent alot of time throughout my early twentys in and out of work due to either redundancy's or bitching girls at work making my life hell, it made me feel really really low and i lost alot of confidence. It does get better though, never stop trying and things will get better. surround yourself with positive people and remove the negative ones that bring you down. I am now in a job where i have friends and have more security, both financially, and more importantly mentally too. i wish mental health wasnt so taboo! :( x http://sarahinwonderlust.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/pinata.html

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    Replies
    1. Oh sweetie I'm sorry to hear you went through such terrible things :( but I'm happy you're doing better, keep fighting!! <3

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  11. i think people need to be more open about mental health to remove the stigma around it. i also think posts like this are really helpful for people who may not have someone to talk to, and seeing someone share their experience might give them a little comfort to know they aren't alone. i love this post, keep going gal 💕

    xo Sarah
    http://absolutelysarahx.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so so much lovely!! <3

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  12. This is such a well-written post, I particularly like your stance on brands who may see your mental illnesses as a stigma, you're not being close minded at all, THEY are! People are real, we all have problems. From the age of about 16 I've suffered depression, and more recently, PTSD and related anxiety. These are the kinds of things that I really want to talk about when the time is right and I'm ready. I also hate the idea of sounding like 'woe is me' haha, I don't want any pity or awkwardness in that sense! I hate pity! I'm always amazed by people who are open about it. Like, yeah, I do address the fact that I am suffering these things, but I never actually discuss my experiences. That's a whole other thing in itself. thanks for being so honest about it. There really isn't a need for mental health to be seen as a taboo any longer.

    Amanda Jayne | beauty, style, life

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  13. This post is ON POINT!
    Really resonated with me.
    Tenz
    www.shesabouthatlife.com
    xxxx

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  14. Mental illness's are such a common thing, I think it's ridiculous that it is still such a taboo topic. Talking about it normally like anything else like you do, will hopefully over time, make it something that people a willing to more openly discuss. Also, totally agree with you on the whole thing about brands, I don't think that's being close minded at all!

    The Velvet Black | UK Style & Beauty Blog

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  15. I hate saying that this is a brave post to put up because it goes back to the stigma of having to hide your problems but serious kudos to you. I've struggled too like you and everyday is a challenge. Just remember every good day you have is one day you're getting stronger. I don't see a problem with writing about it on your blog, it's a personal journey. :) XX

    Sally - DiagonSally

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  16. I LOVE that you've spoken about this - mental health is so important and it should be the norm to speak about it. We all have a mental health and it's crucial we keep well :) We can't be 100% all of the time, remember that! If you ever need someone, you know where I am xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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  17. such an important reminder- while I don't have the same approach in my blog, if anxiety and stress is negatively impacting my ability to function I know it's OK to let everyone around me know! Talking about mental health issue and removing stigma is one of the most powerful tools we have

    http://secret-hipster.blogspot.com.au/

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  18. I think it's wonderful that you are so open about this. Hopefully this will help others who are dealing with the similar things not feel alone. This is a beautiful post!
    ~Lili
    www.thefashionsalt.com

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  19. Yes! This is such an inspirational post I am so happy you wrote this! The more we talk about these issues, the less of a taboo they become. Mental health issues affect so many people, and I think honesty is a great way for people to feel more comfortable in their own skin and accepting the fact that it's okay to not be okay, and to let go of trying to be perfect. I feel as though showing this side to yourself can be so helpful to those who look to social media and only see the perfect, happy, successful side to things. Behind every photo there is a story, stories we often don't tell from fear of being judged, so I think it's very brave of you to do this and I admire you so much for it!

    My Lovelier Days

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  20. Aww, I totally feel you girl. Sometimes laying it out there can be the best medicine! Hopefully you're doing better now! Glad I found your blog and look forward to reading more!

    Xox Dana Ivy // www.iadorewhatilove.com

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