Opening Up About Mental Health

You may have seen lots of articles lately promoting mental health awareness, wellbeing and mindfulness.

Mental health has also been highlighted in the media recently, especially when it comes to encouraging men to talk about their mental health.

There needn’t be any stigma about it, but it can be difficult to start the conversation.

So, in the spirit of being open about mindfulness and mental health, I’m going to share something from my life.

My best mate was killed in a car crash ten years ago, and it had a devastating effect on me.

It felt like half of my very being was ripped out, leaving a huge void. I lost confidence, my social skills diminished to almost nothing, and after sinking into a depression, I had no option but to seek out counseling.

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Now, all these years later, 99.99% of the time I am absolutely fine.

However, I continue to find this time of year a struggle as the anniversary fast approaches; I will cry at unexpected moments such as driving to work, or making dinner. Oddly enough, the actual anniversary passes by without incident; rather it is the build up to it that is so mentally unsettling, stirring up once again, those familiar feelings of grief and loss.

What follows below is an excerpt from another post that I recently wrote here.

Sometimes I daydream about you suddenly turning up, as if nothing had happened, and I marvel at all the catching up we’d do; there would be a decade of things to talk about, to laugh over. Occasionally you appear in my dreams, tantalisingly real; I know you are dead, but for a brief moment before I wake up, you are living and breathing again. Ten years may have passed, but I know that you would still be you, and I would still be me, unchanged; we’d click right back to where we were. Best mates, always.

It is easy to say “I miss you”; indeed it has been said so many times that it inadequately conveys how I really feel. I have learnt that grief never truly goes away; it just gets tucked up, deep inside, but sometimes it escapes, often when I least expect it, and sometimes when I do. The pain has lessened, the wounds have healed. Sometimes the scars itch, but for most of the time they are just there, a permanent reminder of what once was.

 

7 comments

  1. Im so sorry your friend died. I know the scars are there always because when we share a relationship that person is a part of our life and the missing of them hurts. Its always a comfort to me to know I can speak to those I love who passed over. I am not sure if they hear and its sad they cant answer (though sometimes in my mind they do) but it gives me comfort to feel them close with the talking and sharing.

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  2. Matthew, this chapter in your life that you have so gallantly shared, moves me. You have the gift to be able to express your thoughts and feelings. Thank you for sharing with me. I am so glad you came into my life a few years ago. Although we were both struggling, as we both still do, it helps to know we are not alone with our shared grief for loved ones gone ahead. Thank you for your sympathy and encouragement.

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  3. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, I’ve suffered something similar with friends being taken young and know how it can affect you. In May it will be ten years since my Mum died, and I’m dreading the anniversary, as it always coincides with Dementia Awareness Day. I’m glad you’ve found ways to help you get through it. Thanks for commenting on my blog, I’m now following yours.

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