Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters: struggling on the quiet

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In our weekly spot where we talk about mental health and wellbeing, a few words on keeping struggles bottled up.

Hello! A big welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters, our little space on our site where we talk about things that may be affecting oyu, or people around you. . If you’ve not read one of these pieces before, it’s a place where we write about things that may be affecting you, us, or people around us. We know not every article we run is going to be of use to everyone, but hopefully across this series, there’s something that’s of use to you. Comments are very welcome, and appreciated. We want to keep trying to improve these features.

This week, then, with all that preamble in place, a few words on struggling. Quietly struggling.

As much as it appears otherwise sometimes, nobody has an entirely idyllic life. Some have it easier than others, that’s very much the truth. But oftentimes, the projection that people put out about how they’re getting on and the life they’re living isn’t an exact replica of what’s going on behind closed doors.

My daughter is an avid watcher of endless YouTube videos about seemingly very well off families who always get on, going about their business and being lovely and successful and stuff. Their Christmases are perfect, they never argue… you know the drill.

I’ve been writing about mental health now, in one form or another, for the best part of a decade. And whilst the world has opened up a little in that time, I still believe that most people struggle on the quiet. Even idyllic families on YouTube. That they don’t open up about most of what’s bothering them, that it’s easier to suffer in silence than it is to risk further hurt by opening yourself up. I’ve been guilty of this, and still am to a large extent. I’m careful what I put out on my social media channels, I generally try to come across as bulletproof when I’m in work mode, but my head is also a huge cauldron of insecurities, of impostor syndrome, and of struggles. I think everyone’s is to some degree, and I always try to remember that.

It’s impossible, really, to persuade people to talk if they really don’t want to. I regularly come back to the point that none of us entirely know everyone else’s story, and that the person in front of you who may be happy and laughing may just also be having the worst day of their life. That’s the thing with struggling on the quiet: some people are very, very good at it.

There’s no perfect resolution or conclusion to this, short of, I think, simply trying to treat people right. To not assume the worst of people straight away, and to try and take that breath to consider that their head might be in the place that their demeanour is reflecting.

For those of you who are struggling at the moment, I’d always recommend trying to open up and talk to someone if you can. But I also appreciate that’s not always possible. Still, if there’s even a sliver of a chance? Hopefully you’ll think it’s worth a try.

You all take care. This column will return next week.

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