Schematics of the Depressed, Oppressed and the Suppressed.
The mental health system as we know it is struggling, and although staff are doing their best with the (rapidly) limiting resources they have at their disposal, many people are falling through the gaps.
The system is broken, and we are becoming well aware of the schematics that take place behind closed doors and the subsequent repercussions affecting support services for emotional wellbeing.
But to what extent does the crisis present itself…?
Just how badly is the broken system?
I describe it here, using just 3 words. Depressed. Oppressed. Suppressed.
And here’s why….
Approximately 1 in 4 people within the UK are suffering with their mental health, with 4 out of 10 having reported episodes of anxiety and/or depression at one point or another during their lives. These may seem like surprising statistics, but they are far from palpable as this data only represents what is reported and recorded. There are many more suffering in silence.
In fact, on average we are much more depressed as a nation than we were 50 years ago.
Although disputed; my opinion is that amongst other factors, technology has played an important role in our downfall to becoming more depressed as a nation than ever before. Since it hit the mass market at the beginning of the 21stCentury, media and technology as we know it has supported the cause for concern in paving the way for a closed off society. We are constantly stuck behind screens and, a lot of the time we feel more comfortable with sitting behind a computer or a smartphone to communicate and make connections with the world and others rather than meeting in person and experiencing life away from our devices. With media and the internet everything is at our fingertips within an instant, which has lead to our impatient personalities and unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. It’s a world where we misperceive reality as what we see on our devices is far from the society we truly reside within.
My Experience: Depression is something that I experience often and having the condition means that some days I am capable of filling my mind with positivity and facing the world with a smile on my face, whilst other times I get stuck in a negative spiral where it’s a struggle to keep my head up and carry on. I’d be lying if I said it isn’t difficult to get out of the spiral of depression as I call it because it affects my ability to function at a cope-able capacity. Depression is also silent which means that for me, it can spring up and occur at anytime, anywhere. This can sometimes make it difficult to speak out or recognise if I am heading into a downward spiral of unhelpful emotions. But overtime I’ve been proactive in learning about some of the more prominent triggers that cause my depression and try to avoid them as much as possible, as well as some coping mechanisms to get through the difficult patches.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve wanted to share something about your mental health, your struggles, your anxieties and you get told to “sit down and shut up”?
With many people feeling unable to share how they feel due to outside influences and social stigmas; it can be difficult to find a voice and speak up when suffering.
This is oppression at its core.
Oppression does not have a set source, but it largely stems from the ‘unwritten rules of society’.
Conformity is not just appreciated but is expected as a ‘rule of thumb’ in order to live in a progressive, ordered and organised world. Anyone who breaks this rule by vocalising their concerns and struggles are considered as ‘rebels’ of the system who seek to cause havoc outside of the social norms. There are a multitude of ‘conformity’ issues within our world that increase tension amongst communities and make talking about our struggles a taboo topic especially amongst (but not limited to) LGBT+, Mens and Post-Natal and Students mental health.
Targeted support means that sometimes minorities seeking mental health support feel oppressed because there are not enough support services that offer tailored support to individuals who fit into these psychographics/demographics. This is largely due to stigmas, stereotypes and taboos.
My Experience: Oppression is something I have experienced a lot due to the complexity of my mental health diagnosis’. Fitting in has always been a challenge as my personality and style is not always accepted, and I have often found myself as an outcast, as one of societies rejects. I defy the stereotypical boundaries and outside appearances of what someone with ‘Depression’, ‘OCD’, ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Autism’ should behave like (Read my 10 things you should know about my Autism blog to gain more info into my disability). For a long time, I lived up to expectations of what conditions I had instead of accepting them for what they are and learning to shape my own story. By haulting my attempts to fit in, I’ve learnt to create my own piece of the puzzle of ‘life’ and by sharing my struggles and not feeling oppressed to conform to one way of thinking, I can be the person who I truly am.
Suppression manifests in mental health more than you might think. Some of the people who desperately need the support are suppressing their struggles. Many people supress because they’ve either been turned away from services for not being ill enough or are waiting so long for support that becomes ‘easier’ to push the emotions down and bury them under a ‘fake smile’ and ‘positive’ mentality.
Suppressing only leads to much greater difficulties and struggles in the future and with a lack of funding and
My Experience: I’ve supressed a lot in the past for a number of reasons, butI’ve learnt to take matters into my own hands and discovered a number of coping mechanisms that help to ease my emotions.
Here’s some of the ways I’ve found are useful…
- The Outdoors: Appreciating your surroundings
- Exercise: Eases stress and anger out physically
- Regular Chats: With your support network (friends, family, colleagues etc.)
- Creativity: Express yourself through artistic ventures (Painting, Drawing, Writing, Photography)
- Do something that challenges you every day: Moving through the anxiety one step at a time
- Share out loud: Get your side of the story out there (Blogging, Speaking at Events, Networking)
There needs to be a drastic shift in how Mental Health is treated and discussed. It needs to happen fast. Something needs to change for the better.