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"Are You Okay?"

"Yes, (but my mind really says no)"

By Carol TownendPublished 10 months ago 9 min read
3
"Are You Okay?"
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Look at the women in the picture above.

The first thing that you notice is that they are all smiling, and they look like they are confident, happy, and having plenty of fun.

The question that you should be asking yourself is:

Are they really happy?

It is easy to hide behind a happy mask. We all do this; especially when we do not wish anybody to know our true feelings. We can walk around, holding our heads high, smiling, laughing and whistling a happy tune.

To an outsider, we may appear as if everything is great. On the inside, we may not be truly feeling what we are portraying to the outside world.

Mental health is still not talked about openly.

There is still stigma and shame attached to many mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders and more.

Of course, the world still insists on being open about mental health, and there is certainly much more awareness that has been raised over the last ten years.

However, there are still many people who feel shame and embarrassment when it comes to talking about mental health.

The one thing that hasn't been talked about enough is how society reacts when it comes to light that someone in their community has a mental health problem.

Take the following examples:

Janes Visit To Jade

Jane visited her friend Jade today. Jade has a child. Jane understood that Jane really wanted to be a mum. However, today seems different. Jade is snapping and crying. She seems a little stressed out.

Jane asks her friend,

"Are you okay?"

Jade replies,

"I'm fine. I'm just fed up with Daniel (the child) because he won't do anything I ask him to do."

Jane takes her friend's word for it. She knows children can sometimes drive a parent up the wall. She normally sees Jade happy, so she puts this down to a one-off bad day.

Analysis

Jane normally sees her friend as happy, so she puts her friends' reaction down to a 'bad day.' She bases this on her knowledge that 'children can sometimes drive a parent up the wall.'

What doesn't Jane see?

Jane is not with her friend all the time, so she cannot see behind closed doors. Below is a list of issues that Jade might not admit to Jane:

1. Jade may not be sleeping or eating well.

2. Jade may be feeling very low inside.

3. Jade may not be coping well with her child because she may be depressed.

4. Jade may be struggling with routines and her child's behaviour when alone.

5. Jade may be feeling lonely and overwhelmed.

6. Jade may be feeling irritable and anxious.

7. Jade may be feeling exhausted.

8. Jade may be feeling useless as a parent.

9. Jade may feel too embarrased to admit her feelings, and ashamed to seek support or ask for help.

10. Jade may feel that she is not allowed to experience depression because she has children. She may have seen other parents managing well, or she may have been stigmatized for not being able to be happy herself.

Timothy and Darren.

Timothy visits his best friend Darren.

Darren is smiling, and appears to be happy to see Timothy. Darren tells Timothy about a new job he has just been approved for. Timothy is happy because he knows Darren is very good at managing people. However, once Timothy leaves; Darren sits on the couch in tears, with his head in his hand.

Analysis

Darren may well have been excited about his new job, and Timothy may well have been right in his knowledge that Darren is good at managing people.

Fact: Many people who suffer mental health problems are often good at managing others. However, it is often the case that they prefer to 'rescue' others because it is easier than helping themselves.

Timothy left and Darren sat on the couch in tears, with his head in his hands. Darren seemed happy when Timothy visited.

However, Darren may well have been feeling down while in Timothy's company. He may have felt embarrassed or too ashamed to show his real feelings around his friend.

Conclusion

The above scenes are very common; not just with depression but with many other mental health problems.

Sometimes it can be hard, even for professionals to notice mental health problems because people can put on a mask of happiness.

This does not mean that there is nothing wrong with a person.

The person may have a deep-fear of talking about their problems due to stigma.

A person may be afraid of losing their partner, job or their children if they open up about their difficulties.

It is important that we are open about mental health; though we must consider the person's circumstances and not come across as too pushy.

There are some cases where fear can stop a person from opening up, and there are cases where professionals themselves can misjudge someone with a mental health problem.

A person may already feel shame, embarrassment and even guilt for not being able to manage mental health problems.

Of course, in a case where there are children; they must come first. However, how we talk about mental health is important, and the language we choose can either ease or create barriers that stop people from talking too.

As the cases above show; there are instances where people who have mental health problems cannot be seen. This is not always purposeful, it can be caused by many factors:

  • Stigma

  • Mental health is still not talked about openly.

There is still stigma and shame attached to many mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders and more.

Of course, the world still insists on being open about mental health, and there is certainly much more awareness that has been raised over the last ten years.

However, there are still many people who feel shame and embarrassment when it comes to talking about mental health.

The one thing that hasn't been talked about enough is how society reacts when it comes to light that someone in their community has a mental health problem.

Take the following examples:



Janes Visit To Jade

Jane visited her friend Jade today. Jade has a child. Jane understood that Jade really wanted to be a mum. However, today seems different.

Jade is snapping and crying. She seems a little stressed out.

Jane asks her friend,

"Are you okay?"

Jade replies,

"I'm fine. I'm just fed up with Daniel (the child) because he won't do anything I ask him to do."

Jane takes her friend's word for it. She knows children can sometimes drive a parent up the wall. She normally sees Jade happy, so she puts this down to a one-off bad day.



Analysis

Jane normally sees her friend as happy, so she puts her friends' reaction down to a 'bad day.'

She bases this on her knowledge that 'children can sometimes drive a parent up the wall.'



What doesn't Jane see?

Jane is not with her friend all the time, so she cannot see behind closed doors.

Below is a list of issues that Jade might not admit to Jane:

  • Jade may not be sleeping or eating well.
  • Jade may be feeling very low inside.
  • Jade may not be coping well with her child because she may be depressed.
  • Jade may be struggling with routines and her child's behaviour when alone.
  • Jade may be feeling lonely and overwhelmed.
  • Jade may be feeling irritable and anxious.
  • Jade may be feeling exhausted.
  • Jade may be feeling useless as a parent.

  • Jade may feel too embarrased to admit her feelings, and ashamed to seek support or ask for help.
  • Jade may feel that she is not allowed to experience depression because she has children. She may have seen other parents managing well, or she may have been stigmatized for not being able to be happy herself.



Timothy and Darren.

Timothy visits his best friend Darren.

Darren is smiling and appears to be happy to see Timothy. Darren tells Timothy about a new job he has just been approved for. Timothy is happy because he knows Darren is very good at managing people.

However, once Timothy leaves; Darren sits on the couch in tears, with his head in his hand.



Analysis

Darren may well have been excited about his new job, and Timothy may well have been right in his knowledge that Darren is good at managing people.

Fact: Many people who suffer mental health problems are often good at managing others. However, it is often the case that they prefer to 'rescue' others because it is easier than helping themselves.

Timothy left and Darren sat on the couch in tears, with his head in his hands.

Darren seemed happy when Timothy visited.

However, Darren may well have been feeling down while in Timothy's company.

He may have felt embarrassed or too ashamed to show his real feelings around his friend.



Conclusion

The above scenes are very common; not just with depression but with many other mental health problems.

Sometimes it can be hard, even for professionals to notice mental health problems because people can put on a mask of happiness.

This does not mean that there is nothing wrong with a person.

The person may have a deep fear of talking about their problems due to stigma.

A person may be afraid of losing their partner, job or their children if they open up about their difficulties.



It is important that we are open about mental health; though we must consider the person's circumstances and not come across as too pushy.

There are some cases where

fear can stop a person from opening up, and there are cases where professionals themselves can misjudge someone with a mental health problem.

A person may already feel shame, embarrassment and even guilt for not being able to manage mental health problems.

Of course, in a case where there are children; they must come first.

However, how we talk about mental health is important, and the language we choose can either ease or create barriers that stop people from talking too.



As the cases above show; there are instances where people have mental health problems that cannot be seen. This is not always purposeful, it can be caused by many factors:

- Stigma

- Shame

-Guilt

-Embarrassment.

We must not be quick to assume that a person is okay.

We must talk openly, but gently without being pushy, and we must be aware of the fact that when someone says they are okay; they may not be really okay.

When dealing with mental health.

Remember:

  • A person can hide behind a mask
  • Ask 'Are you really okay?'
  • Be non-judgemental
  • Be patient
  • Ask twice.

The person who appears okay, may not actually be okay.

humanity
3

About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche!

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