This Wednesday the 14th of March is a very special day. Why? Because as of the 14th of March 2018 this little blog you are visiting right now will be two years old. That is right folks, as of Wednesday it will be two whole years since the birth of Born Without Marbles, nay not birth, the hatching of this tiny little mental health blog egg that I had been keeping in my oh so sufficient plumage until that moment (and my my do I have a lot of plumage).
How crazy is that? Pretty crazy if you ask me as two years is a really long time…Like a baby can go from a screaming ball of tears to a waddling and talking human creature in that time and I would like to think that my blog has undergone a similar amount of progress.
Now, you are going to have to forgive me in this entry as I fear I am going to sound very much like one of those actresses in a ball gown making a thank you for my Oscar speech and I am well aware that two years of running this blog does not entitle me to any award, but still today I really wanted to thank all of you out there reading this for making this blog what it is and for putting as much effort into reading it as I put into writing it. Indeed, you readers have helped and supported me more than you can ever possibly imagine. “How?” I hear you ask “What have we done?”. Well dear friends, you have done the most important thing that one can do when living with or dealing with someone with mental health problems: you have listened, and I think that this whole listening malarky is a seriously underrated piece of malarky on the scale of all things malarky.
I know people have messaged me in the past, people who may know or care for people with mental health problems and who have asked me what they can do to support them and the answer I want to advocate today is to listen to them. That is it.
I think a lot of people often find that when they have a loved one with mental health problems they want so desperately to fix their problems and unfortunately that is seldom, if ever, possible.
Mental health illnesses and disorders are complex and difficult to understand, intricate beings (which is why I have managed to write about and try and explain them for a whole two years now without really scratching the surface as to their mysteries), and I think that when people see themselves as responsible for curing a loved one it is simply too much responsibility to take hold of. It would be like asking one person to fight a whole army of sword wielding warriors who will need a lot of strategy and weaponry to defeat as apposed to one lone soldier with a mallet (for we all know it is notoriously easier to get hold of a mallet than it is to get hold of a sword…seriously where do they even sell those? Are they available on Amazon? Not that I want a sword of course…I am just seriously curious as to how one would obtain such a thing were one to be in need). If you ever set yourself the challenge of you and you alone curing someone with mental health problems then I think you are setting yourself up to fail.
This doesn’t however mean that when it comes to mental health problems and people who are struggling with them that it is best to do nothing, and that is where this listening thing comes in that I want to thank you all for today.
You see, when you live with mental illnesses, you live with a constant stream of noise and mayhem between your temples and that noise is difficult to deal with. Maybe that noise comes from the barrage of thoughts that come with depression, maybe they are the intrusive thoughts from OCD or an eating disorder, maybe they are audible hallucinations from psychosis or schizophrenia, whatever the condition, whatever the disorder, there is a lot of noise, and keeping quiet about it is a sure fire way of making that noise louder.
If people don’t speak about the noise, the noise tends to build up, louder and louder until all “real” sounds are drowned out by the cacophony and therefore it is important to have an outlet, a place to talk about and release a bit of that noise, not necessarily because that will make it all go away but because it will slightly lessen the burden that staying silent will weigh you down with.
That is where listening comes in. When you simply listen to a person with mental health problems, when you allow them to be heard, you are helping them more than you could ever know because you are sharing in that noise and therefore are giving it a little less power. I think when a lot of people think about going to see a therapist they assume that they will have these big elaborate contraptions designed to zap the mental illness away or physically remove it by some grand operation when really that is not what therapists do. There are no magical contraptions (unfortunately) and there are no magical zappers (also unfortunately), instead therapists listen, they hear and take on some of the noise because when you speak out loud about something it loses power. That is why in Harry Potter everyone is so scared of Voldemort, they don’t speak his name and by keeping it locked up in their minds as this big scary word they increase the fear. As Hermione wisely once said, “fear of a name increases fear of a thing itself”, and that is exactly how I feel about mental illnesses. When we fear them and keep quiet about them, we give them more power to control us, we give them authority as some big terrifying thing never to be spoken about and alright, I admit it, they are terrifying, but unless we talk about them and get them out into the real world, they cannot be tackled. If everyone were to keep their illnesses inside of their heads then they would be kept in a place where nobody else could reach them but by talking about them, they become tangible, they become part of our world and thus are something that can be dealt with.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that talking about a mental illness is going to cure it instantly, if ever, as I know very well myself that after a lot of talking and a lot of therapy, things are still pretty terrible (hey, I am nothing if not honest), but as terrible as they are, at least I have an outlet to get them out of my head both in therapy and on my blog. I have people who listen to me and hear all the pain it is hard to speak out about and if you have been a reader of this blog from the beginning, last week, or even if this is your first ever entry (welcome!) you have been a part of that and you have helped.
So what do I want to get across today as we approach the two year anniversary of Born Without Marbles? Simply this: That if you want to help someone with mental health problems, the first and best thing you can do is to listen to them, and if you have been listening to me for years or just today, then I want to thank you for hearing and taking on my noise. Trust me I do not know where I would be without all of you wonderful people out there listening and supporting me and I want you to know how much I appreciate, and how much all people with mental health problems appreciate it when people listen, when they are heard and when others are there to share in the noise. From the bottom of my heart and from my head to my toes, today, my message is thank you for being there. You do more than you know, and more than I can ever thank you for in a mere blog post. I hope you all know that I am also here to hear all of you struggling out there and share in any of your noise as well.
So happy second birthday Born Without Marbles and to all readers and mental health sufferers alike, remember to keep talking and to keep listening, for doing so is one tiny tactic we can use to tackle the mental health demon army.
Take care everyone, and thank you x
16 thoughts on “The Importance Of Listening To People With Mental Health Problems”
OMG! Two years already? That’s insane! I’m so happy for you! You are an amazing writer and an amazing person with the kindest heart in the entire world! You’re also really brave for sharing all of your struggles with us. This blog helped me in so many ways! Every single one of your posts talk about something I’m experiencing. You can always find the right words to say and that’s amazing!
This also means we’ve known each other for almost two years! AHHH I love you so much!
I’m always here for you Katie ^_^
Big kisses from Portugal ❤
P.S: Sorry for being so distant lately but I'm not in a good place right now. A guy broke my heart. He used me and then dumped me.I feel like sh*t.
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Ahhh thank you so so much lovely one you are too kind! It is crazy to think we have nearly known each other for two years now! Time flies eh? Am really sorry to hear you are having such a hard time at the moment though 😓 From personal experience I understand that heartbreak feels like the worst thing in the world and my heart goes out to you for going through that right now. Please let me know if there is anything I can do or say although I know that with this kind of thing usually time is the biggest help…and cuddles so I am sending you loads of those! Don’t worry about being distant or anything, just look after yourself and know that I am here for you at this difficult time. You will get through this I promise, I know it never feels like it but one day this will all be a bad memory. Love you so so so so much and sending loads of hugs and kisses from England ❤️😘 xxxxx
Also as a second part of this reply PLEASE don’t let this heartbreak rule you and ruin all the hard work you have done over the past few months. No guy is worth that. Take care of yourself okay? Seriously that is very important, love and heartbreak hurts but they are no reason to hurt yourself more. Keep up the good fight my dear now more than ever. Love you xxxxx
Thank you so much, Katie! I won’t let him ruin all of my hard work! I’m finally getting my life back, I go out with my friends, I laugh more, I dance and I love life! I’m also almost weight restored and I feel awesome in my body! I have boobs now (LOL)! So don’t worry about me, it’s just a heartbreak, it will pass.
I love you so much my dear ❤ I hope you're doing ok
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THIS COMMENT MADE ME LOVE YOU MORE THAN I EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE YOU ABSOLUTE BEAUTY ❤️ xxxxx
Thank you so much for two years of this blog! You’re such an amazing communicator and your words are so comforting. Even right now, it’s helping me though a hard time. I’m going through a breakup and the waves of fear and loneliness are disabling. The fact that you’re here for us even during a really difficult time for you reminds me that we’re all tough as nails. Though we also require hugs and tea. Hugs and tea to you, and most of all, congratulations!
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Ahh thank you so much for such a lovely comment! This has made my day although I am so sorry to hear that you are going through a breakup right now! I know from experience that those things are the worst so my heart really does go out to you my friend and I hope you know that I am here to listen to and support you in any way right now! Thank you very much for listening to me and for being so lovely about my blog, I really appreciate it and you for being so fabulous. Remember you are not alone right now even though your heart is hurting and though it will take some time to get through, time really does help this kind of thing. Keep up the good fight and know that I am thinking of you lots! Loads of love and hugs and general thanks for you being lovely xxxx
*sends bonus hug because you said you felt lonely and you should never feel alone as I am always here for you.* Stay strong xxxxxxx
Happy Birthday Born Without Marbles. Such a paradox because your marbles are quite intact. You are a beautiful, articulate writer with a brave and fiesty spirit. I wish I could do more to help except long winded stories about my experience with my son who is your age, but know I care about you am just quite impressed at what a talented young lady you are!
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Aww thank you so much! Don’t be silly about not helping though! Trust me your “long winded” stories about your experiences with your son are invaluable to me and I care about them very much. You help more than you know, trust me. Happy two year anniversary! xxxxx
I have always loved this blog – so full of wise words. And I loved your tea parties too x
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Aww thank you so much for such a lovely comment! My blog has always loved you too 😉 hopefully one day I will have enough confidence to do loneliness tea parties again! I will keep trying! Have a fabulous day xxx
Happy 2nd birthday to your blog! I’m glad to have found you (and your blog) and look forward to reading here every Monday!
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Aww thanks pal! Happy two years of friendship! Hoorah for us! X
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A belated reply from your biggest fan – I have read every one of your blog posts and you are a joy to listen to. Biggest love,
Your gal H B-C
Oh HBC you spoil me! I am honoured to celebrate my blog anniversary with you! Thank you for supporting me this past two years you beautiful wonderful human. All my love to you, signed your future wife xxx