We are encouraged to be more open about our mental health/well being and constantly told that it is good to talk. However the issue, in my view, is that the language around mental health is essentially negative. Words like ‘crisis’, ‘breakdown’ are used, all reinforcing the idea of an individual being weak. The problem is that the individual is already feeling that they have somehow failed to live up to expectations, so these words just reinforce that perception.
Showing emotion, especially for a man, even in the age of the metrasexual, is still defined in negative connotations. Last November when reporting on the aftermath of the Bataclan attack the BBC (male) reporter showed his emotion on television. The Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror all reported it as BBC reporter breaks down during live television report or words to that effect. Social media was however a lot more supportive, using words such as honesty, integrity and authentic around his report. It’s hardly likely to make you open up!
But is is easy to do, I find myself talking about my time before my depression as ‘when I was at the top of my game’, implying that what I am now is somehow less than what I was then. So it is not easy and as individuals it is easy to fall in to that trap by just using an everyday phrase.
So we need to find a new way to talk about mental health/well being that is more positive or at least neutral in it’s tone.
Day 4 – 40 mins
It was a bit of a slog, early morning round town isn’t a great run, the only noise is the flat footed slap of my feet on the pavement and the odd car getting an early start on the morning commute. But I had a destination in mind. When walking to some friends in Sandylands on New Year’s Eve I’d spotted a road that I did not know, so I headed towards that to have an explore. When I got there I saw the name Saw Mill Close so I didn’t have high hopes but occasionally there will be a path out of a close that might lead somewhere else, but not in this case. Less than 2 minutes later I was back on the main road. So I came back via the river down Aynam Rd and past the church and Abbot Hall before popping up Dr Manning’s yard on to Highgate and home.
Dr Manning’s Yard.