First up, I am so glad that today is the tenth of October, because I know I have some readers from all over the shop, and writing dates down in the way I did in the title gives me low level anxiety as I never know whether to write it the way I would normally write it (dd/mm/yyyy) or the way Americans (and Australians I think?) write it (mm/dd/yyyy). The fact that today’s day is the same number as the month we are in has saved me a whole dilemma in itself.
Anyhoosers, today is World Mental Health Day, and I just wanted to chat a bit about that a little.
How are you feeling?
No really, how are you feeling?
Everyone is talking about mental health these days. There is a huge focus on it in social media, and pretty much everyone I know, and probably everyone you know as well, has heard of self-care, self-love, meditation, and the 101 different ways one can make their days go by with a little extra happiness and a little less suckiness.
Massive positives have come from this mental health movement we have been witnessing. We’re all working together to try and rid the world of the stigma that has surrounded medicating and going to counseling with regards to our mental health, and it is much more openly discussed nowadays. Just recently, I noticed a packet of pills on my colleague’s desk and remarked that we are ‘pill pals’ – that is, we are on the same medication. Instead of shirking away in fear and disgust as everyone seems to think will happen if we address medication and taking pills, my colleague and I had an in-depth conversation about it, discussing what side effects we both saw as a result, and whether or not we thought they were having a healthy impact on us and our lives.
As we are being more aware of mental health and the fact that anyone and everyone is carrying a burden of their own, and even the strongest seeming people could be struggling underneath the weight of it all, it is absolutely amazing that we, as a society and as individuals, are being encouraged to just… check-in. Check-in with ourselves, and well as with our peers.
That is why, in my opinion, World Mental Health Day shouldn’t really be a thing.
Every day is a mental health day, and it shouldn’t fall onto one day a year for people to realise that there is something to be spoken about and hey, presto, they check up on their own mental health, and perhaps ask the person they are sitting next to how they are feeling and show that they’re reading a Buzzfeed article that today is WMHD and they chat for a minute or two about the importance of mental health and then they’ll start talking about physical health and then one of them turns out to be a gym bro and starts rabbiting on about how he can bench press 180kg with his girlfriend sitting on the bar and how his biceps are so big he needs to wear a size L in shirts even though his body is a size S and how sometimes he cries into his protein shake because he doesn’t feel like his muscles are big enough and he only sees a skinny version of himself in the mirror but it’s okay because he got 500 likes on his latest Instagram post and therefore he feels a little more valued and validated in the world and tonight he is going to go and do more bicep curls and hopefully this time he’ll get 600 likes on his Insta post otherwise what even is the point in lifting weights and drinking so many protein shakes it causes stomach pain… you get my drift right?
The way I feel about World Mental Health Day is similar to the way I feel about Zero Discrimination Day (1st March), International Day of Happiness (20th March), International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21st March), World Health Day (7th April), World Day for Safety and Health at Work (28th April), International Day of Families (15th May), International Day of Living Together in Peace (16th May), Global Day of Parents (1st June) – AS IF there isn’t a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day already?!, World Day Against Child Labour (12th June), World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30th July), World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September), International Day of Peace (21st September), International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17th October), International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November), International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (2nd December), Human Rights Day (10th December). Along with these, African American History Month (February), Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept/Oct), amongst others.
It’s not that I don’t like the fact that there are certain days and months of the year that are dedicated to raising awareness about certain issues, but there are some things I feel shouldn’t be limited to one day or one month. There isn’t a White History Month, because that history is the norm that the majority of us know and have been taught. Similarly, there is no World Health and Well Being of Cisgender Individuals Day, because those are the individuals who make up the majority of our society today.
What I am trying to say is that the topics that each of these days and months are celebrating or raising awareness for are such a massive part of our society today that they should be more prevalent in our conversations and daily lives so that we don’t need to box them into particular time frames during the year. They should be discussed throughout the 365-day cycle of the earth around the sun.
Make world peace, and child labour, and poor mental health, and poverty, and slavery, and relevant history, and human rights and the eradication of violence part of our day-to-day narrative. Let’s not solely think about them when their relevant ‘day’ pops up on our Instagram stories, or in something we’ve been tagged in on Facebook, or is a trending hashtag on Twitter.
If things are important, they should be at the forefront of my mind. I don’t want my loved ones, or anyone, for that matter, to notice what they are feeling just because something on the Internet reminded them that it was World Mental Health Day. I want them to know what they are feeling, the impact of their thoughts and the consequences of trying times and difficult solutions because they know to check in with themselves on a regular basis.
Every day is Mental Health Day. Take stock of how you are feeling. Who you are surrounding yourself with, and what brings you joy. Don’t leave it till October every year like some sort of Autumn clear out of your life, you deserve better than that.
I sincerely hope I have articulated my point in the correct manner. I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of anything that is celebrated on different days of the year, I merely think that they should be way more prevalent than they are and deserve a lot more time in our thoughts than one day a year.