The Reality Behind Mental Health

Written by on 25th January 2018

Alice Dew demands change from the UK government for her boyfriend and others suffering from mental illnesses with little professional support.

Yesterday, I visited my boyfriend at University. I watched him socialise with his roommate, everything seemed great.

Then, behind closed doors, his true self showed. He became a shell of his public self.
Trembling, he told me he feels lonely, but I had just witnessed him talking to someone I would consider a true friend to him.

To everyone else, he wears a mask, appearing bubbly and friendly. In reality, social interactions intimidate him. Every possible negative outcome rushes through his mind, overwhelming him, consuming all logical thought. He’s left thinking he’s isolated and that no one wants to be around him.

That’s where I come in. I try to best provide 24/7 support, be it a 3am phone call, booking a doctor’s appointment or spending all night talking. It takes a toll on your life. I find myself battling the urge to sleep in lectures, a result of a night reassuring him everything is ok.

But, of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I fell in love with him two years ago, and I fell in love with the whole package. I’d rather offer my continuous support than know that he’s struggling silently. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where I can see he’s full of happiness. Nothing compares to these moments.

That’s what I aim for. I strive to provide happiness into his world, but it’s not as easy as it seems. I could say the wrong thing, making his thoughts spiral out of control.

I share the weight of his situation. When I get a midnight phone call telling me that everyone thinks that he’s weird, it affects us both. Do you understand how heartbreaking it is to hear the person you love in pain, and not be there to give them a hug? All you want to do is smother them in kindness and tell them that everything is going to be alright; but when they’re suffering like this, your words aren’t always enough.

One in four people are affected by mental illnesses during their lifetime, that means that 16 million people in the UK are currently in a situation that could potentially be resolved.
The result of budget cuts is damming and it’s obvious. Parts of the UK are reducing spending on mental health by whopping £4.5 million. How is it fair to leave so many people struggling?
According to The Independent, Theresa May has “promised” £1 billion to mental health services by 2021. Why should we trust that when the £350m “promised” to the NHS from Brexit was a lie?

Why claim change is coming when you can’t follow it up?

He went to get some help, but his GP said she couldn’t give him it. What use is that? I am not trained. I am not qualified. Yet I am the only one giving support.

Does Theresa May know how much pressure is put on people like me?

I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m asking for change.

Originally Appeared in Spark Magazine.

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