It's good to talk.
That iconic catchphrase used by Bob Hoskins in the famous BT advert couldn't be truer for someone battling with mental health. Reaching out to talk to someone who is battling with their inner demons could be one of the most heroic things you will ever do. It may be scary for you, but believe me, it'll be harder for the person who is suffering, but it will mean so much more than you can ever imagine.
Let me explain, I have some amazing friends who I know I can turn to in hard times, but when they ask first, it means so much & I feel less of a burden for telling them how I feel.
When I was first struggling with depression, my most wonderful friend, whom I had met from an old job (she & her husband used to stay at the hotel where I worked) offered me to stay with them for a weekend, just to get away from it all, it helped me so much & to know someone was willing to let me in to their home, just in order for me to rest meant the world to me, we have since become so close, to be honest, I see her like my mother!
I have some amazing friends who I know I can turn to in hard times, but when they ask first, it means so much and I feel less of a burden for telling them how I feel.
I've struggled to hold down a job for more than about 6 months, I tend to run away as soon as there's a problem, but my current job is different & quite honestly it makes it so much easier, just a few weeks ago, I was having an absolutely horrible day, the director of the company & a colleague knew it too, they could just sense it, they gave me space but the next day I was called in to the office. The sense of dread was overwhelming, I'm one of those people who thinks of every bad thing I've ever done when someone utters the words "can I have a quick word" but alas, it wasn't to berate me for something I had done, but to ask if I was ok, I'm not sure they will ever realise how much that meant, but it's made bad days a hell of a lot easier to deal with.
I strive to be that friend too, sometimes you just know if someone isn't right, it needn't be your best friend either, if it's just a text that doesn't read right, don't be afraid to ask, if it is someone who needs your help, remember, it could be the message they need to make them see how special they are in someone's life.
So just reach out, you never know, by saying to someone "I'm here for you" you may actually be doing one of the most heroic things you ever do.
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org