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  • Writer's pictureSonia Aste

Mind The Mind (Join the Conversation. It's Mental!)

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

It was Mental Health Awareness week and just in time too! Two days ago, a friend called me shouting, 'Covid-19 is all part of the plan to RULE THE WORLD by Bill Gates!'.

I'm thinking…Bill Gates?! Everyone knows it's Mark Zuckerberg.

People are going crazy! Oh, sorry – I shouldn't say that; it's not politically correct. Instead, I'll use the word LOCA (crazy in Spanish); that's OK, isn't it? Cause of the song? 'Living la Vida Loca? Such a great song about mental health! Thanks, Ricky Martin, you made it cool to be crazy!

I should know. I suffer from depression, which is like going on a terrible date if you're wondering. You're exhausted, can't wait for it to end, but you're expected to say, 'everything's great!

Today one in every four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives (WHO study). That means in every LUDO game, one player will be affected, and no, we depressives don't always play BLUE.

Statistics have never been higher. Not long ago, it was one in every ten people; at least back then, I felt unique and extra special! Now everybody is jumping on the mental bandwagon, and the Coronavirus isn't helping.

You hear things like:

'Oh, I have cough-o-phobia! I'm afraid to go into the office!' – that's not a condition … you hate your job like the rest of us.

'I can't get out of bed; it's corona fatigue!'

No, it's not. You just stayed up Netflixing until 4 am!

Ladies and gentlemen, please get your mental health together! Resources are limited, and some of us were here first! And for goodness' sake, don't say, 'Well, we're all a little bit mental'. That's like telling someone bankrupt, 'Well, we all have cash problems sometimes.'

It's essential to take care of your mental health, and one way is to stay connected, which proves difficult when there's enough connectors, jacks, plugs, ports and &#beeeping#& UPGRADES to drive anyone crazy!

As for what I call the ZOOM DOOM GLOOM, yes, it's better than nothing, but it can't replace my mom's (real) hugs and kisses, not even after a couple of Gin & Tonics.

OK, maybe it was more like seven.

They say relaxation techniques help, so I took a 'Mindfulness: Clear Your Mind & Create Inner Peace' course. The only peace I'm going to get is if they could help me clear my credit card debt, the course was £150!

Debt collectors aside, MINDLFULLNESS consists of staring into the horizon chanting stuff for hours. That's all well and good, but what if you have a bladder the size of a walnut? I ended up chanting, 'I need the toilet, I need the toilet'.

Don't get me wrong, these techniques help. Still, there's something to be said for munching through a jumbo size bag of salt and vinegar Kettle Chips until I'm so bloated my face turns into a round, smiling emoji. Plus, it's a lot cheaper (£2.50).

For those with a sweet tooth, reliable sources say raw cake dough works a treat. Don't worry about the sickly aftermath; after all, what truly fulfilled life doesn't include Pepto-Bismol?

What does NOT help is what I call the 'Happiness Brigade'. People who insist all we have to do is stay POSITIVE to beat mental health. They'll say things like, 'You have so many things to be thankful for, yes, but your advice is not one of them. You wouldn't say to someone with a broken leg, 'Why can't you make an effort and go skiing? Maybe start with the kid's ski slope?'

It's time to talk. If you are suffering from mental health issues, it's time to come out of that mental health closet and seek help. Please don't wait until it's so cramped in there you can't even open the door. I waited WAY too long and only came out because there were so many skeletons; it was like a walk-in graveyard.

For the remaining three at the Ludo board (those not affected), it's time to listen. Organizations like MIND, SHOUT, Mental Health Foundation, and humble blogs like this one ask you to please join the conversation. Let's create a world where we can talk about mental health without the stigma and the shame.

Now you'll excuse me. I'm off to dance to Ricky Martin because despite mental health issues, I can still shake my Bon-Bon.

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