It is now commonplace to see posts in the media about “improving your mental health”, with a strange obsession over mindfulness and yoga, eating clean and being teetotal. Whilst this advice is stellar for the average Joe Bloggs, it doesn’t really do much for those of us with long term conditions.
You’ll hear celebrities tell you how they suffer with anxiety and how they get anxious over a big event or going on stage in front of a large crowd. I’m not saying all celebrities are like this, for instance YouTuber and Singer/Songwriter Dodie has been extensively open about her struggles with anxiety, depression and depersonalisation disorder.
Not for one second am I doubting these celebrities or their struggles, I know as much as anyone how to hide wrapped in layers of fakery to the world. It is more how the media have picked this up and used it to sell anxiety to the general public, painting it as a moment of nervousness rather than the debilitating disorder it can be.
It’s why I often say “I have generalised anxiety disorder” rather than “I have anxiety”, the interchangeability between anxiety as a disorder and an emotion, along with representation in the media has blurred the lines between the two. Making “I have anxiety” seem to be sweaty palms and stuttering words, rather than sleepless nights, hyperventilation and vomiting.
The spotlight has been cast on mental health, but there are still things lurking in the shadows that we dare not discuss.