Monday, 27 October 2014

Us and Them

You never think it will happen to us, it's something that happens to others.
How often do people in the news say that statement?

I've been to two different mental health training sessions in the past week, the first one was trying to normalise mental health, giving the scary statistics that 50% of people the NHS is working with have a mental health issue. The one in four of us will have a mental health issue.

We hear it about physical health too – 1 in 3 people will get cancer in their lifetime.

The second lot of training – today – talked about us and them. This training was focused on self-harm, and the speaker talked about how “we” as “normal” people dealt with distress instead of “them” the people who react badly, which leads to self harm.

How does he know that in that room of 8 people who work with young people that we aren't or weren't self-harmers.

It's made me ponder two things:

1, we assume that everyone is like us.

2, we assume that noone is like us.

In the ways we are “normal” we assume that everyone else is like us. It's why LGBT people have to come out, but straight people don't. I met for the first time one of my fiancĂ©'s colleagues recently, and before I met her I asked him what she looked like. The picture in my head was totally different – I realised it was based on someone else I know who does a similar job to her – but also similarities to myself.

In the ways we are the “them” we assume we are totally on our own – not helped by the way that so many things are still taboo; mental health, abuse, some physical illnesses. We don't talk about things, we assume we are the only one. Sometimes though when you open up, let down your walls you find out you have more in common with others than you think.

I've always said “Everyone is a little bit broken.”

1 comment: