Mental health conditions are becoming much more accepted today than what they were twenty years ago. Gone are the days of “melancholy” and “lunacy”, to times of understanding and acceptance.
As an adult living with Autism, I have often struggled with my own mood and masking the feelings I had that I couldn’t self interpret. At times I don’t know what I feel. It’s like knowing one has forgotten something, but can’t figure out exactly what that is. Which leads me to ask the question, is this okay?
One of the most common slogans associated with Mental Health Awareness these days is “it’s okay not to be okay?” I take things literally, it’s part of the Autism territory. If I go on stage and someone tells me to “break a leg”, for a tiny second I can interpret this as nasty. So when I feel down is this okay too? Is it okay to the point where I don’t need any form of professional intervention?
I don’t know every single person in the world with Autism but I think it’s safe to assume that we take things literally. For a while I thought that to feel low was the right feeling to feel. Saying as it was “okay to not be okay“. Phew! Wrong. I allowed myself to plunge into the darkest recesses of my already over active mind to the point where I alienated everyone.
Mental health is is still very stigmatised. In my view, slogans such as these don’t help to ease that stigma. I have never seen a slogan that reads “it’s okay to have a broken leg” or “it’s okay to have Yellow Fever”. My point is, if you get to a dark place in your mind, seek professional help. Community mental health services are there to talk and help you through difficult times. Speak to your doctor or someone you confide in! Don’t think that having a low mood is in any way okay or fashionable. Take the first step and speak to a Doctor. I certainly did and it helped me tremendously.
I know now it’s a difficult thing to do. It took me years of my Mum, Dad, Emily and my son to make me realise that I needed help to bury historic demons. The question you have to ask yourself is this, do you want to get better or not?