So right now we are in 2 awareness weeks/months which are personal to me.
Mental health awareness week.
And Tourette’s syndrome awareness month (which confusingly is the latter half of May and the first half of June)
What do these weeks/months really do.
Seeing so many messages that say that Tourette’s exist.
We know Tourette’s exists, probably most of the British public know that Tourette’s exist.
Guess what knowing it exists doesn’t stop people from bullying me, it doesn’t stop them filming me, or laughing at me, it doesn’t stop the verbal and physical abuse, and it doesn’t stop me being kicked out of places.
Awareness is not enough.
There needs to be acceptance, understanding, knowledge.
One of the most common things said to me is: “I wish I had Tourette’s so I could get away with swearing like you”
See people are aware of Tourette’s, they can recognise it in a person, but they still decide to be an ignorant, ableist person. So really what has awareness done, nothing. We need to move past awareness and into action, into acceptance.
As I said it’s also mental health awareness week, another week of lip service where not much is actually achieved.
Whilst I don’t deny that hearing of others with stories of being mentally ill can help some, there is no actual help for either the story teller or the listener.
We also predominantly hear stories of depression and anxiety, the mental illnesses that are more acceptable.
People would rather hear about my depression, and anxiety, than my intrusive thoughts, or hallucinations, or flashbacks, or paranoia, or mood swings.
It is a week of people telling mentally ill folk to talk to people. But who do we talk to?
Not the therapists as many of us are turned down for either being too complex or not ill enough.
I myself was told I was too complex for the complex cases therapy team.
And even if someone is placed on the waiting list for therapy they then have a minimum waiting time of 12 months, usually more like 18-24 months wait.
What about the places which hold therapy which aren’t accessible.
Charities offer help lines but so many mentally ill people have difficulty speaking on the phone. Or they may be speech impaired or Deaf/deaf.
So when we hear celebrities, charities and the government say just talk there are not the services to talk. They are having money cut and therefore services get cut.
I got sent from Manchester to Bristol when I was hospitalised this time, and I have been sent to Darlington before.
Once I was even told that the professionals wanted to section me but there were no beds anywhere in the country so they sent me home.
Mental health awareness week needs to be more than just telling people to talk.
And if you do say I or anyone else can talk to you, remember it’s not necessarily going to be depression or anxiety. You may hear about my terrifying intrusive thoughts, or my delusions of grandeur and my hallucinations, or my flashbacks.
If you say people can talk but you only mean about depression or anxiety then you are not an ally to the mentally ill.
Again awareness isn’t enough. We need more.
So awareness? Is it enough?
No, it bloody well is not.