Since I decided to talk openly about my mental health battles I’ve been flooded with comments and contacts. (https://whatsadaddyfor.blog/2017/08/12/the-dark-part-1/)
That’s great. That’s why I did it.
Some of the stories people have told me have been heartbreaking. They have all been inspirational.
It’s taken some time but I’ve worked my way through every single person who has reached out and responded to you all.
I believe I’ve made many new friends and rediscovered a few I’d lost along the way.
But part of having any open discussion is recognising that not all people are going to agree with you.
That’s fine. I want to hear all views in this discussion.
Today I received a missive from a new correspondent. He called himself Sean.
I’ve reproduced it here exactly as I received it.
i AM SICK AND TIRED OF SUPPOSEDLY GROWN MEN LIKE YOURSELF COMPLAINING ABOUT HAVING TOUGH TIMES. YOU DO NOT HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESS. HOW DARE YOU LESSEN SUCH A SICKNESS WITH YOUR PETTY COMPLAINTS ABOUT WHAT EVERY ADULT GOES THROUGH.
TOUGHEN UP YOU SILLY DRAMA QUEEN, SNOWFLAKE. THE WORLD OWES YOU NOTHING.
WALK IN THE AVERAGE MAN’S SHOES YOU LITTLE SNOWFLAKE.
So there you are.
I had a number of thoughts when I read this.
First I’m always on the lookout for a new nickname and I quite like Snowflake.
Every snowflake is delicate, beautiful and utterly individual.
Hell, I’ve been called a lot worse.
My next thought is, does Sean have a point?
He says I don’t have a mental illness but I’m just dealing with what every adult goes through.
This is exactly the thought I’ve been wrestling with for decades.
It’s the main reason I didn’t come forward to get help sooner.
It’s essentially the same response I got when I went to see a doctor in my teens.
As I said before, part of starting the debate is accepting there’s a different viewpoint.
And leaving aside Sean’s invective and obvious desire to hurt me, he represents a view that is very common.
But more than any other message I have received, this one convinces me I did the right thing in speaking out.
There is so much that is still to be understood. So many still to be persuaded.
Sending a message such as this, so full of obvious malice and spite, to a person who is prone to depression and tendencies of despair is desperately dangerous.
Luckily I’m in a good place and it has no power to wound me.
But imagine I’d received it when I was at my lowest. Or it gets sent to another person who is struggling.
One of the greatest responsibilities we have is over our own words and understanding the impact they can have on another.
I wish Sean all the good luck and happiness in the world.
I hope that your certainties always keep you safe from harm in this world.
Take care my friend xx
* If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog or need immediate help call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000