Sunday, 5 February 2012


I can believe people suffer from discrimination when talking about mentall ill health. It's an emotive subject that people, sometimes, just cannot grasp.

I heard, more than once, that people despise those who overdose. They say things like ' how selfish', 'how ridiculous' and 'what a waste of resources'. It saddens me grately that one human that could think that about another, whilst they are clearly suffering mental distress for whatever reason. Does it matter why they have overdosed? Sometimes it does, yes, other times not at all. Why should it? Do most people never feel the angst, the stress and the pain of everyday life? Surely they should know that life can be tough and hurtful?

I have often said something to these people as I believe everyone deserves respect, regardless of their actions. Any action. These people are sick and need our help. I have never heard anyone say anything about me regarding my illness or my previous self harm. Maybe it's because they know me? Maybe because they see past my illness and I'm 'not' my illness. By that I mean I am me firstly and more often than not people are surprised I suffer from mental illness, unless I tell them. My illness is not obvious and I can hide it. Some mental ill health is not easy to hide though and it can be quite scary when confronted with someone who is out of touch with reality or not acting 'normally'.

Some of my colleagues admit they find it hard to look after patients with mental health problems and they have no patience with them. Some look after their physical needs just fine but will not talk about their psychological needs and are often taken aback when I ask a patient who had overdosed if they are feeling better and why they did it. Of course I don't ask them so bluntly, I phrase it much better than that!

People are surprised when I talk with patients about their feelings. Why should this be? Whether the patient is psychologically hurting or not, feelings have a lot to do with overcoming fear and confidence in getting better.

After all, 30% of the population are at risk of developing depression or some sort of mental ill health. People have to remember, no one is immune.