Hurrah. It’s that time of year again.
That’s right. Mental health awareness week is upon us. One whole week where we can celebrate the joy that is mental health. And this year the theme is Anxiety. (Hello, my old chum.)
Cue the positive mental attitude social media posts, LinkedIn articles on wellness, fuzzy encouraging Slack messages from colleagues, and aLL oF tHE tHInGS to remind us how important our mental health is, this week.
Cue a small part of me withering up and keeling over. I can’t disagree with all this — of course mental health is critical. But as someone with chronic, crippling, unrelenting anxiety, I’m facepalming a tiny bit this week.
Because it’s critical all the time, right?
And I can only take some responsibility for that. Sure, some of my anxiety is my fault — I’m a natural born worrier and a seasoned overthinker. But some of it definitely isn’t.
*Gestures wildly at everything.*
When I talk about my anxiety, dodgy mental health, rollercoaster moods, intrusive thoughts and all the other exciting things I’m blessed to endure, the room quite often goes extremely, awkwardly, unbearably silent. Or there’s an uncomfortable giggle, because let’s face it, humour is my load-bearing coping strategy.
I’m from the Anxious, But Make It Funny camp. How else could I navigate this world? I’m a fully grown adult and I’m still trying to learn the ropes.
Honestly, it’s a full on shitshow out there and it’s not getting better.
As the World Health Organisation highlights, social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and the climate crisis are among the global structural threats to mental health.
Indeed, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released a report in 2022 establishing many connections between financial insecurity and poor mental health. I mean, I could have told them that.
So if we want to talk about mental health awareness, then we can’t really just neatly skip over these…