As a happy side effect of doing RED I have had the good fortune to meet (virtually) some really awesome mental health warriors/ninjas/badasses. We all have our own struggles, whether it’s battling our own mental illnesses or supporting others, but the one thing we have in common is a desire for ourselves and others to be well. No one chooses to have a mental health problem and I’m sure that if there were a vaccination to prevent it we would all eagerly join the queue.
There is a real sense of camaraderie when a group with a common bond, usually one of adversity, join together. The caring support and genuine compassion is shared readily, we look out for each other and provide kind words when things are tough, we can relate to how others are feeling, we can advise on things that we’ve found helpful or just send a thoughtful hug.
I have also been a member of an infertility group and breast cancer support groups, similarly members of each group had a shared experience of adversity. In each case the same level of empathy prevailed throughout the group. I have also made some really good friends through these groups.
Wouldn’t it be great if society as a whole shared compassion and empathy for every individual person, if they could put their prejudice and judgement aside and just accept that things are difficult right now. Speaking for myself, I don’t need answers or discussions about why, how or when. I just need kind supportive words, a hug and to know that you know it’s not my fault.