Drowning the horse

Posted: February 7, 2014 in Mental Health

There’s a very old and familiar saying that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink, we’ve probably all heard it used, used it ourselves and its normally about frustration at offering an option to someone in need and they aren’t listening or taking the advice, there of course other times its used but in my experience the most often in the frustrated cry of a helpful friend or colleague.

I don’t see my self as an evangelist about personality disorders but I am aware I can communicate things quite well so I try to make the case for myself and everyone else blighted by the condition and to be fair Mental health issues in general, it serves a purpose for me and hopefully does some good. That said I tried an experiment on Facebook around the Time to Talk campaign. I offered the opportunity for anyone to ask me directly about either my own issues or mental health in general as I know my condition is common knowledge to my friends but also that most of them don’t really understand the ramifications of the diagnosis.

I have a modest 90 or so friends and only three asked anything, one was a fellow mental health service user and the other two were family and their questions were asked for my benefit, they could see the lack of response and probably thought they’d throw me a bone, which I am not dissing but the point is no one who probably could have benefitted from some more information bothered and I don’t know how to take it.

I don’t know everything about me, and by that I mean the condition the causes and the effects it has on the people and world around me, I could say I’m ignorant for expediency, what I don’t know wont hurt me but the reality is I’m a bit of a coward about it all so ignorance is bliss comes to mind. That’s fine for me as I do know a lot more than most people and in doing so I understand a lot more about their behaviours and know what is related to their issues and what isn’t, in real terms who’s an arsehole because they always have been and who is behaving according to their emotional stresses, I think this makes me a better person all round and certainly a more forgiving one, isn’t that what we would all want?

I don’t doubt my friends and anyone else who saw the post as it was shared too, has no overt issue with mental health but by not taking the chance to know more aren’t they just exacerbating the ignorance that surrounds it and also losing the opportunity to protect themselves. If you are feeling crappy, not eating and losing motivation and you remember speaking to someone who was also feeling that way you might spot the signs early and get help before the depression has hooked you in, likewise when you see a friend behaving differently, or a family member if you’d spoken to someone with lived experience you might be able to see something that needs help or likewise know its nothing to do with their mental wellbeing either way¬†information is king as in all things.

I cant say I’m not disappointed but I am not disheartened, yet. The Time to Talk campaign is a wedge we can use to force the issues wider and who knows I might not have to offer to answer questions in the future maybe some of them will ask because they are interested and not because of the campaigns or anything else, we live in hope that the horse will drink of its own free will I guess


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