I was going to do this as a vlog, maybe I will at some point, but as my emotions are quite mixed up with it all, I cant promise what will come out of my mouth. And let’s face it, more people are likely to watch something then make the effort to read something. Sorry, but it is a statistical fact.
I as always just want to say that these are MY opinions, my thoughts and my words. I am not trying and would hate to offend anyone with what I think and say but I wouldn’t be being genuine or true to myself if I was to only tell the truth, or my truth, when it suited. In a world where people are offended upon opening their eyes on a morning, this is certainly a whole new minefield.
Social media firstly. I have social media to thank for a lot of what I do and where I am now right now. Red Balloons is growing steadily, literally by the day! I can reach and talk to people I would never be able to in the ‘real world’, without using a shit load of petrol and having my kids think they had been abandoned anyways. Social media reaches billions of people, so of course it is used to spread news, good and bad, real and complete fallacy. It also gives those that wouldn’t say BOO to a goose (I wouldn’t either mind, those things are EVIL) a chance to actually verbalise what they have going on. This can be a truly amazing thing, but it can also be an absolute mare when the keyboard warrior trolls get on their high horse and think they know everything about everything and anyone, because they read the daily or weekly shit-rag.
You see, for me, these “professional” media people are very similar to healthcare professionals. They read something, maybe even do a bit of on top of the surface research, and think they have the answers to the meaning of life and all that shit. They don’t actually have a clue what they are talking about and in some cases, are doing a damn site more harm than good. Yet, they seem to get a lot more attention than those who are actually LIVING these things that are getting reported on. As much as I love Holly Willoughby, more news can be made from what she was wearing one day than the actual serious subjects that the programme discusses.
This is a proper random rant but I swear it has a meaning. Mike Thalassitis, the new famous face to become yet another statistic of this countries horrific suicide stats. Yet again, before he tragically thought that taking his own life was the only option left, what did we really know about him? What a prick he was on Love Island and Celebs Go Dating and whatever else. How absolutely flipping gorgeous he was! That he was a footballer. We didn’t know anything about him really. Nothing that was worth knowing. The media liked to portray him in a certain way as this is what sold stories and got “click bait” on their pages. Yet do they not think now, that they caused such an image that Mike himself couldn’t escape from. That he could have felt he had to play up to for his “fans”? Did we know that he was in a bad place? Do you think he had the courage to say “I am suffering, I need some help?” He clearly couldn’t, clearly didn’t and now look.
So, now we get round to the usual 5 days ish of social media wallpapering of stories from the media, of quotes with his face on etc. We get every man and his dog sharing them all over and urging that you “check on your strong friend”. Yet, hand on heart how many of you can actually say you have!? How many of you maybe did that day, asked once and if you got an OK, left it at that? Did you ask again the next day? Will you ask again next week? Next month? Or will it take another media story of a person no one ever expected to do such a thing before you actually take your head out of your arse and ask again?
How many of you, instead of just taking 2 seconds to click share, retweet’s, etc, are actually commenting on peoples posts when they are posting something about mental health or being in a bad place? Can you say you are starting a conversation that could ultimately save a life? Are you even reading what you are posting and sharing? Or are you being exactly what the media wants you to be and being a lemming. Following others.
It is EVERYONE’s job to make mental health an every day subject. I am in no way taking away from the fact that, yes, the message is starting to grow and more people are aware, more people are seeking professional help and that at least these kinds of stories are not getting swept under the carpet anymore. Hats off to Mikes family and friends who are being honest about what has happened, honest about the potential reasons of why, although no one will ever know what was really going on in his head.
I suppose what I am asking, is please, if you are going to make a deal about getting involved with all this on a social media or media platform, please take that vision and use it in every day life. Whether you are close to a person or it is someone you meet by chance. Let’s take our eyes off our screens for a while (yes I understand the irony of this as I am sharing this on social media) and actually look around and really see what is happening.
Suicide will happen to the people you least expect. To that one who is the constant life and soul of the party, to the person who’s abs you could wash clothes on because gym is life, to that big bloke who looks scary as hell and is terrified of nothing, to that policeman and fireman in the front line, protecting their community, to that student who is nailing their school work. These are also the people that feel like a burden if they talk so simply wont reach out, even when they know themselves that they need a life vest. Re posting a news story might help a few, but you can imagine the absolute power of a genuine, off the cuff conversation? Wow! Just imagine.
In fact no, don’t imagine, go on and do it! It takes 2 seconds, the same approximate time it takes to retweet, to type or say, “are you ok?”
I am far far from perfect. I do this whole mental health campaigning and shit a lot and I am sure the people that still bother to read my random ramblings are thinking, well do you ask me you hypocritical, gobby bitch? But one thing I am genuinely doing is trying. I may get it wrong, so very wrong, more times than I would care to admit, but I do, 100% just want to help. And one way that I can see that has helped, is me just being me. I understand that being so honest about my story, about my failed attempt, can be painful for those that care about me, but it needs to be said. I have no idea if I have saved an actual life and if I have who or even how many. The number to me is not important. It is knowing that I have started a conversation off. That people have being able to reach out to me because I genuinely understand. I am not reading from a textbook or reciting a quote I read online.
As I always say, if 10 people read this and think, Fuck off, but one person reads it and it helps, then I am doing what I am here to do.
Rant over……. for now