Thursday, 17 June 2021

YESTERDAY (February 2) was Time to Talk day. One of Farm Community Network’s slogans is: “Don’t suffer in silence, talk to us.” We know that talking, sharing and listening is part of the journey towards healing and survival.

Time to Talk is a national day encouraging people to have a conversation about mental health. Talking to end stigma, fear and suffering.

It’s about listening, too. Listening in a way which helps relieve the inner fear, sense of shame and suffering that people who live with poor mental wellbeing experience.

Not everyone finds it easy to talk about how they feel. How many times have you asked people “How are you”, and they answer “fine”? How many times have you said it? How many times has the person you ask been screaming inside. How many times have you ever wanted to say: “Actually, I feel really low, upset and depressed today”?

Do you know how I feel? Which of these is true about me?:

l I suffer from regular and recurring bouts of depression.

l I struggle with personal relationships because I feel that no one really likes me.

l I cannot accept praise because inside I feel so worthless all the time.

l I find it hard to pray because I think that even God dislikes me.

l Sometimes I cannot get out of bed, the day seems so long and dark ahead.

l Sometimes the anger I feel towards myself spills out in irritability and anger with and complaining to others.

l Sometimes I feel like hurting myself.

Who is “me” here? How can you find out? If you found out it is me I am referring to, how will that affect what you think about me, how you respond to me and how you accept me?

And how do you think it would make me feel if you knew this was about me?

Time to Talk gives us all an opportunity to open a conversation and to share and listen. It can help reduce the sense of isolation and loneliness which poor mental wellbeing can bring to individuals.

How will it help you understand and reach out to the many others who simply feel too scared, unworthy, ashamed, or unwell to pick up the phone or sidle up to you and start a conversation?

Let’s open up to mental health, end the stigma and share the conversation.

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