She’s lying there, curled up softly,
Feet linked together, blankets pulled up round
I’m watching her breathe, in, out, up, down, but
that’s all she does. Survive.
The wind is picking up; a storm rolling in,
but still she doesn’t move.
The sky is dark. The sun has gone.
There, rain beginning to pool around her,
I call out to her, reach out my hand
to let her know she’s not alone. She
stirs, and her hair falls across her eyes,
before she settles again. She does not take my hand.
The rain gets heavier, and I call out again, again,
I am frantic. Lightning begins crackling and
I shout, begin screaming. But she cannot hear my voice.
And then I realise.
I am her. I am not reality.
Not understanding isn’t a crime, but it’s not an excuse. It takes no time to ask a friend, a colleague or a stranger how they’re doing. Tuesday 10th October is World Mental Health Day. It’s not contagious. You can’t catch it. Be kind.
Mental health conditions affect one in four of us, yet still the majority of people wait over a year before telling those closest to us. We wouldn’t wait a year to mention that we think our leg is broken. 90% of people feel they have experienced stigma. Nobody is immune – there is no vaccination, no pill that money can buy to protect you, and no agreement with society that we need to accept this as a problem. Some famous faces that have struggled with their mental health over the years may surprise you.
Whatever you’re doing tomorrow, take the time to speak to someone, educate yourself or listen to a friend in need.