One of the biggest dilemmas people have whilst suffering from mental health problems, or even if one of their families or friends does, is do they keep quiet about it or do they tell the truth. I can’t answer that for anyone else but myself, and I think it depends on the situation and what people mean to you. I for one kept very quiet about my past and the people at school didn’t know, and to be honest my Dad died without ever knowing. Although he knew I attempted suicide once, and he and Mum lied to everyone else and said I had a physical problem. They did this because of reputation, I obviously came out with all my problems when I wrote the book and many people found out because I was in hospital for such a long time. I am glad that people know as I truly believe you can find out who your real friends, are and who are loyal to you. Although I would not fall out with anyone who tried to hide it, as each person is entitled to their own opinion, and it affects us all in different ways. All I can do is to promote my issues in a positive way and be honest about them. I met many different people on the ward and many were professionals, they were rich and they were poor, many from all different cultures, and areas. It was also an eye opener to find out that many people who worked in the mental health also had dealt with their own problems and issues in the past. I don’t need to go telling everyone I meet about my past, and an incident happened not long ago which made me laugh so much. A new lady had joined the basketball club where my kids play and the conversation switched to reading and someone else told her I had written a book. She immediately wanted to know more and bought one. The following week one of my friends who I knew from basketball only was sitting on the bench talking to the new lady, when I approached the new lady turned and pointed at me and told my friend that it was me who had written the book. My friend jumped up out of her seat and literally shouted across the room “You!” She looked so astonished and surprised I had to laugh, where she actually started to laugh as well. She couldn’t believe it, and I wanted to know why. It was because I had never mentioned my book to her in the last year. She wanted to know why, I and the truth it hadn’t come up in conversation, obviously with the new lady it had. But when my friend knew she read the book and was very proud, which was a nice reaction. But saying that one of my oldest friends who I write about in the book was so shocked she can’t bring herself to read it. People all react in different ways, my Mum and sisters cannot come to terms with the book or my past. They will not talk about it, and I don’t force them to as they don’t want to, on the other hand I have many close friends who needed to know details, and it is actually them who I turn to when I am not feeling so well as they understand and can help me better then most people. As with many other issues how it is managed and understood is down to communication, and where appropriate I think the more people know, the better they can help but at the same time privacy is important and it depends who it is, why they need to know and also how much they need to know.
I know through my son who has dyslexia that I wanted to find out as much as possible and to me any true account of a person who has dyslexia would be very helpful, taking into account that each individual is unique but the insight would still help me.
I hope that the ebooks and blogs help many more people with all sorts of problems, whether it be an illness, trauma or even sometimes personal issues be able to write about them in an appropriate entertaining and educating way. I also understand when certain issues can be distressing that people would not want to read about them, also in my case with my book, some of the description are quite graphic, yet it is up to the reader whether they want to read a particular book, and as I mentioned before it is up to the reader’s perspective how beneficial the book can become.
Not everyone knows about my mental health issues, but those who do and know the most, are the ones where the support is greatest.