**10th October 2017**
World Mental Health Day
I think it is quite ironic that WMHD is held in the same week as Baby Loss Awareness Week. I think anyone who has had to live without their baby/child has some sort of awareness of mental health.
Before losing Jason I wasnt really sure what mental health related to. I always assumed it was describing those who were obviously in need of support, through care or institutes. I hadnt really thought of those suffering with mental health on a daily basis and were able to go about their daily lives.
Mental health can affect many people without you ever knowing. As a child I was aware of many things such as people being “different” and I have never been fased by those with additional needs. For years as a child my mum suffered with her own mental health which had been misdiagnosed which led to her having panic attacks at the thought of just leaving the house. However back then I wasnt entirely able to understand.
Now I am older my eyes are much wider and I am more aware that mental health isnt as scary as the media wants you to believe. (I remember watching One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest as a teenager and believing that anyone with mental health issues were crazy.)
I have seen how Jasons death has affected not only my mental health but family and friends too. I am fully aware that although I am comfortable talking about Jason and sharing my own experiences with baby loss, I struggle to show my emotions and this isnt a healthy way to deal with grief. I bottle it up until I break down. I am unable to talk to my husband as he is struggling with his own mental health. It is not healthy to keep your thoughts to yourself. Yet I (and many others) do it anyway.
To the outside world I am fine. I am a strong woman because I have survived the loss of my first born, I am a warrior because my life continues while his was stolen. Yet I am not strong or brave or inspirational because I would give my life without a second thought so that he could live his. To the outside world I do not suffer with my mental health because I am not locked away or a danger to society. Yet I do suffer. Daily in fact. I dont think anyone who has lost something so precious could not be struggling sometimes.
Give a moment to think about all those around you who may be suffering themselves. Let them know they are not alone.
If you yourself are struggling, allow yourself time for self-care and if you need it look for support. Unfortunately in my experience the support is very hidden BUT it is there.