“It Gets Better”

The hardest thing when writing about mental health is avoiding clichés. As anyone who has ever been told “it gets better” will know, it’s quite honestly the single most unhelpful piece of advice. But at least they’re trying, and I hope you can appreciate me trying too.

Sometimes we feel like all we are doing is waiting for things to get worse, for that last penny to drop and then we go crazy. As Matt Haig  puts it “we’re all walking on these unseen tightropes when really we could slip at any second and come face to face with all the existential horrors that only lie dormant in our minds”. This message is scary, right? Some people spend their whole lives unknowingly finding their way along this tightrope. While the rest of us can feel ourselves slipping, barely clinging on while those above us glide along, unaware of us scrambling to survive below their feet.

Okay, so that may seem a tad extreme but it’s true. Sometimes I feel like I’m in freefall, waiting for that moment when my body hits the cement below. Then, when I least expect it, I’m caught, and pulled up for a moment before I’m freefalling again.

We can’t really expect to understand everyone’s experiences. For example, recently in the media there’s been plenty of people ready to attack Meghan Markle for having such a privileged life and still being affected by mental illness. Even those living in the highest level of our societal hierarchy aren’t exempt from human emotion. Depression doesn’t go about kicking only the people who’ve drawn the short straw in life. We shouldn’t feel guilty for being depressed just because we have food and shelter.

Allow yourself to feel, take a moment to accept what’s going on and that sometimes there isn’t a reason. Recovery is not a linear and our feelings certainly are not, it is okay to be in freefall sometimes, as long as you’ve got someone or something to grab you just before you hit cement. If you need someone to grab you when you fall UCL has many facilities available to support you from conselling on campus, to out of hours help through phone lines and email. Talk to a friend or family member, go eat some cake or ice cream. Maybe things really will get better someday.