I am aware of mental health. There is no more aware of it I personally need to get myself. I blog about it daily. However I volunteer for my local mental health charity to raise awareness and destigmatise mental health disorders for the unenlightened  minority majority.

I live with the bugger, therefore I know it well. I live with mental health, or rather mental ill-health, everyday. I live with the extreme and constant mood shifts. I live with a wonky wired brain that is not my best friend. I am about as MENTAL HEALTH AWARE as humans get.

I am aware that mental health disorders are NOT chosen.

I am well aware that mental health disorders are far harder to get by with, and gain acceptance about in society than their physical health equivalents.

I am aware that for many people, mental health issues are nothing more than made up, exaggerated, attention-seeking symptoms that we wilfully brandish about in order to shirk responsibilities, get out of work, live life unfairly on disability benefits, avoid anything that might be remotely an effort, and excuse ourselves for not pulling our weight or conforming like the rest of you do. I am aware of that, but I want to make you aware that these assumptions and negative societal stereotypes are a complete load of BOLLOCKS.

I am aware that admitting to having the label of a personality disorder, as I do, is not ideal conversation for dinner parties. ‘Don’t speak about it. Hush. You must surely be a dangerous, violent, manipulative, and erratic and deceitful criminal’, assume the masses.

I am aware that admitting to having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder means that people, [well-meaning, though sometimes otherwise], will make a whole host of helpful unhelpful suggestions about how you might get over that trauma nice and quickly so you can ‘leave it in the past, not dwell on it, rise above, not let it defeat you and look to the future, counting our blessings’. I am aware how PTSD sufferers feel a failure when people say this, as we are already trying to do that bloody fucking obvious thing that we agree would be a lovely way to handle it, but we are simply incapable, because it is our brains that are poorly. Do you get that? Our trauma-damaged brain circuitry and distorted perceptions of our safety enable us to never fully forget and never be quite the same people following trauma.

I am aware that there is nothing awry with the motivations or effort put in by those who live life with actual diagnosed mental health disorders. We ARE motivated. We DO work hard and we DO give recovery our all. We do TRY our hardest to battle on relentlessly. Sometimes we get tired and say “NO MORE”. Sometimes that crisis will linger for a while then pass like the clouds on a mixed British weather day. Other times the crisis does NOT lift. The storm clouds do NOT budge. The pain does NOT always pass.

I am aware that people with mental health disorders are at far higher risk than the general population of attempting/completing suicide. Those statistics certainly ring true for me, being a living survivor of three significant attempts to end my own life. I am aware we are far more likely to hurt and self-injure ourselves in other ways too that may not prove fatal; but that lessen our life spans, create extra stress, pressure, physical health problems, and possibly also emotionally and financially hurt those around us. I am aware we do not intend all this, but we just sometimes cannot help but be driven to seek relief from our misery in dysfunctional and less than healthy ways.

I am aware that many will lose their lives to suicide :( Particularly people with major depressive disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder like me, who are the most likely patient groups to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals and/or complete suicide.

I am aware that for people (like me) with Borderline PD, suicidality is a recurrent feature of our existence. The concept of suicide is never far from my thoughts, which believe me, makes it really bloody hard to really embrace living. I want to kill the painful bits of me and be healed to the full. Instead I have to live with being part-healed, and emotionally hurting chronically and pervasively.

This is no ideal life, but it is my life, and the life similar to many other people just like me; people who look on immediate appearances just like you.

That is what I am aware of. How much are you aware of?

This afternoon I drove the circuit of the Bamburgh 10k run that I am doing on Sunday to suss it out. (I am running in this race in order to raise funds for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind).

It’s a beautiful coastal route that I am not looking forward to running, if it were not for the mental health crisis that currently has me in full headlock, refusing to let me struggle free from. Suicidal ideation is high right now. Self harm-urges are present. But life goes on, because it has to for my children who need their mum.

Please help me by donating on the link below.  Not only does it motivate me to keep going, but it helps countless others with mental health problems in my area with their own problems; ones which are both similar and different to mine.

Mental health is as unique as our personalities are, but what I am aware of is that people like me do deserve support. My friends certainly deserve support from people who are trained and skilled in supporting us. That is why donating to mental health charities is absolutely vital. We all have mental health and a potential to become unwell with it. One day I might turn into you. It could be you…..writing similar words to the words I’m writing now; saying that you are struggling and appealing for help. That is why I am asking for your support today.

There is nothing more universal and essentially important as looking after the mental health of ourselves and others.

BE MENTAL HEALTH AWARE, AND PLEASE, IF YOU CAN SPARE A SMALL AMOUNT (OF ANY MAJOR CURRENCY) TO DONATE TO TYNESIDE AND NORTHUMBERLAND MIND (IN THE NORTH-EAST OF ENGLAND), HERE IS THE LINK TO MY JUSTGIVING PAGE….here :)

I HAVE RAISED £216.87 SO FAR :)

WITH MUCH LOVE AND GRATITUDE

Imani Summer (summerSHINES)

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind Fundraising Volunteer

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