Today, more and more people seem to be talking about psychology, therapy and mental health. This year the media has been extra generous in its portrayal of mental health issues. We have had multiple soap opera plot lines and docudramas detailing the life of the rich and bipolar and a vast array of celebrity ‘meltdowns’. The lay man is enjoying an informed tour of mental health issues, from the comfort of his front room. Everyone can experience mental ill health from the famed, to the less than famed and if it is on the TV it must be ok. As the adverts would have us believe, that elephant in the room has been well and truly exposed, with famous faces around the world admitting to a mental health issue or confessing to using medication for said difficulty. With all this in hand, one might guess that a girl about town of today’s world would be more comfortable than ever before in sharing her own challenges.
Today’s culture is increasingly driven by ambition and achievement admitting to feeling low, stressed or anxious is just not a desirable option. One might be forgiven for concluding that it is socially acceptable for a celebrity to have a public breakdown or an overdose But for the average woman of the world, to admit your finding life a bit stressful or god forbid admit that you just are notcoping is just too much social pressure to bear. A recent survey polled by the depression alliance suggests that women often report feeling ashamed to discuss mental health concerns with friends and family for fear of being judged, misunderstood or Labeled. It has been reported that young people in today’s achievement oriented society can often feel a sense of failure, upon receiving antidepressants almost a last resort scenario when one cannot think of another way. And sometimes it is. But a last resort is still a choice and that in turn requires that one exercise initiative also.
Accompanying this fear, is the common misconception that once you have moved into the ‘out group’, and experienced a mental health difficulty, you will have it or live there forever. This is a massive misconception that many mental health organizations have been campaigning to change. You may experience a great achievement and find yourself glowing at the highest heights elated even. Mental health disclosure takes on a more serious consequence when one explores the workplace Medical records, insurance and selection criteria.
But that kettle can wait for another day. While some research suggests that women may hide their use of antidepressants in an effort to maintain positive self-concept and appearance both to themselves and to others. It is this very seeking of help that is an adaptive and indeed resilient behavior. A courage which can only denote a strength of character present in one who is unwilling to settle for feeling less great then they know they can feel, and deserve to feel.