We've come a long way in recent times in our ability to talk about mental health. Increasingly people are able to admit when they're struggling, to realise that they need help, and we're slowly, albeit too slowly for my liking, chipping away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness. But then something like this pops up.
Monis, like Tamerlan Tsarnaev before him--who attacked in Boston with his homemade bombs--were both asylum seekers legitimately granted asylum from parts of the world where torture, war, killing and mistreatment are commonplace. Each over a period of years of unsuccesfully integrating into their new country fell prey to the lure of terrorist ideologies and there are likely others like them.
I don't like my labels. I didn't ask for them, and I would certainly rather I didn't have them. But I do. They don't define me, and they're not all I am, not by a long shot. But accepting them, rather than fighting them, has brought me just that bit closer to being able to manage them. So go ahead, label me, it helps. Just don't judge me.
For too long self-harm has been dismissed as something that is just an issue for teenage girls. We have too recognise that this is an issue for boys as well. Boys may often self-harm differently to girls, they may bang their heads or punch walls, and often this is seen as just aggressive behaviour rather than self-harm.
One of the first symptoms of depression is when you can't make any decisions. Choosing which direction to walk is overwhelming, looking at a menu is like going on Mastermind. Eventually your brain gives up, it has no more room, you've scored 'game over' hit your full capacity like an over stuffed hoover bag before it explodes.
I felt like an outsider, an imposter, someone who was tolerated, but not really accepted. Awkward. I always felt so unbelievably awkward, like I was taking up too much space. I was afraid to join in. I didn't do societies - walking into a room full of people without actually being required to be there was beyond me, never mind walking in and actually striking up a conversation.
With the clocks going back this week, the season of S.A.D is upon us, and with that comes a surge in diagnosis. Seasonal affective disorder is type of depression that comes with the changing seasons, hitting at the same time every year, usually in the dark depths of winter. It's estimated to affect about two million people in the UK.
You call in sick with a moderate physical ailment, because it's easier to tell your boss you have a migraine/food poisoning/the flu than go into the intricacies of something you may not understand yourself. Have you ever been told to 'be strong' or 'get over it' by someone who just can't fathom the incorporeal nature of what's affecting your life?
I'm tired of being asked why I got depressed. I have no problem talking about how it has impacted on my life, and that of my family and friends, I think people need to know exactly how much mental illness can take over and infiltrate every aspect of life. But I have a very big problem with the perception that this could somehow be my own fault