Over the years, I’ve written extensively about my mental health issues: if you’re bored, go look up on the gaming blog the dates in previous years when Mental health days have corresponded with posts. Having spent time talking to professional media people over the last few months I realise a lot of those stories would not be considered as acceptable for general consumption, and not just because of their subjectivity.
It is easy to slip into stereotypical behaviour when you’re the one who’s struggling to cope, and the whole point of weeks like this is to try to alter everybody’s mindsets, including your own. Telling a story matters, of course it does, but doing so in a fashion that alters outlooks and challenges stigma means thinking long and hard about language, and how other people will react to your words on a page.
Language is the key to so many things.
I’m still caught up using insults that will undoubtedly resonate with those of my generation, but which are woefully cringeworthy in the modern world. It helps a lot in this regard to have a 15-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son who constantly remind both me and my husband just how jaded and dated our language can be. Having a decent digital friends list is also an advantage.
This isn’t just about listening either, learning is vital. I possess the world’s most pathetic learning curve, so there are still insults that slip out, especially when stressed. Unlearning historic behaviour is a tough ask: however, if I can be taught to run from scratch, can find the means to beat personal bests posted when I was considerably more physically able? It’s doable. People can change.
The bigger issue, of course, is if they want to.
This week I’ve produced quite a lot of content in relation to the MHAW Theme of Kindness: there is a lot of history for me, online, where my own anger has superseded the rational. Many people have decided I was the villain too, and sometimes, they were right. Admitting your faults, especially in writing, is a tough ask for many, but an important part of the process to grant both redemption and healing.
Being kind to yourself, ultimately, is the hardest task of all.