When thinking of someone with depression what do you imagine? Do you think of someone who makes no effort, who’s skin is dull and hair unwashed? Do you think of someone who is perfectly dressed, with a smile and a laugh?
Depression/anxiety cannot be seen or heard, having a mental illness doesn’t place a big sign above your head to let everyone know, ANYONE can suffer with mental illness.
The picture to the left is me, just 3 weeks ago. Full face of make up, hair straightened and preened ready for an evening out. When you look at that photo do you see crippling anxiety? Do you see severe depression? No, you simply see a person. You can’t have any of idea of a person’s story by simply looking at them.
The shop assistant who went out of their way to help you with some shopping, the bus driver who always has a smile and a joke, even the doctors you visit, they may all suffer with mental health problems.
One thing I have realised, especially more recently, is that you can’t judge a book by its cover. My mental health issues are not a secret to my peers, nor are they a taboo subject, but most are not aware of my struggles, nor am I aware of theirs. Most of those that are unaware treat me no differently to my dearest friends and family, but some, not open to others struggles, can change the path of a day with just one comment or look.
Be kind, a smile is all it takes to restore faith on a bad day.
Be open, just because someone doesn’t appear to be suffering, doesn’t mean they aren’t. Ask the lady at the till about her day, wish the salesman on the end of the phone well. It all makes a difference.
Treat others how you wish to be treated – one day it could be you.