Twitter has recently been inundated with tweets about mental health, sparked by an ignorant and uneducated fool who claims that mental illnesses ‘are not hard’ and that sufferers should just ‘get a grip’ and try ‘going for a walk’. This followed a Twitter conversation (the Twitter chat #TalkMH) about seeking help for mental illness which got so many sufferers chatting and supporting each other, so seeing this very negative comment after such a positive chat about coping with mental illness was very hard. Thankfully the mental health community on Twitter was extremely supportive, particularly towards my friend Hannah who is the creator of #TalkMH (Thursdays on Twitter at 8.30pm UK time). In the end, the uneducated, ignorant fool seemed to quieten down, however, this persons theory of #justgoforawalk is sadly not an uncommon viewpoint.
Mental health, even today in 2016 has a HUGE stigma attached to it. Seeking help is not something that many sufferers feel confident in doing, and who could blame them when so many sufferers are told that their mental illness ‘doesn’t exist’, or ‘it’s just teenage hormones’ or ‘some more exercise might help’. So exercise is gonna just sweat out the chemical imbalance IN MY BRAIN, is it!? Life changing. This sort of talk isn’t just from everyday people like you and me, this talk also comes from health professionals. I have so many friends who have been turned away from their doctor with crippling anxiety and depression after being told that it’s ‘just their age, it’s just school work, eat better and exercise more’ – wow, if only it was that simple, maybe then I wouldn’t need to shove 4 pills a day down my throat just to function.
Being told to ‘just go for a walk’ is bullshit. Yes, it may help clear your mind for an hour or two, but the problem is not the lack of exercise or fresh air, it is the chemical imbalance in your brain. For many people it can take years to control this, and for many it will never be controlled without medication.
So you can take your stinking ignorant attitude out of my face and maybe just go for a walk….