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World Mental Health Day

I'll be honest, although I've known about this date for many years, and have seen posts about it, it's never been one that prompeted me to respond.  Not because I thought it was unimportant - it self-evidently is.  Not because I don't know people who live with mental health conditions - I know plenty.  But because, if I'm honest, it never crawled high enough up my personal list of priorities.

A couple of things have changed that. 

The first has been comments by a small number of people that I should be grateful to have had a physical health condition that people care about, because for people with mental health conditions, it can feel as if no-one cares.  That was quite salutory.

The second was the responses I've had, in life and online, since, back in the spring, I outed myself as taking anti-depressants to help with my menopausal mood changes... the Menopausal Monster who was always angry and hated herself.  I even led an evening service looking at mental health, which seemed to be very well received.

To complicate matters, and as illustrated by my own experience, traumatic life events and stress can trigger or exacerbate mental health conditions, or at least lead to a degree of mental unwellness.  Oodles of cancer patients develop depression; oodles of people with depression get cancer - the two shouldn't be set in opposition by anyone.  Better to recognise the reality that for some people one or other will emerge as more significant.  And it's probably fair to say that people with cancer have more emotional energy to 'shout' their cause than those whose mental wellbeing is affected.

I'd like to think that my, very limited, personal experience, and the relationships I've formed with others whose conditions are chronic and/or incurable have helped me to be more compassionate and understanding.

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