There’s such a tendency in this world that whenever you have a problem you just keep quiet and get on with it. Far less hassle right? There’s little discussion of the painful, the unknown, the awkward. Yet where does this really get us? We’re aren’t progressing at all.
Last night I was watching a Russell Brand documentary about the war on drugs and it really hit me just how stigmatising and damaging such a silence can be. Yes, I realise that he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and whilst I may not agree with everything he says, he certainly raises some good points, in my opinion.
So let’s take a look… In school I remember learning about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and safe sex. But that was pretty much it. There was no talk, to my memory, about why people get caught up in drugs and alcohol abuse… how self-harm is not attention seeking… the importance of sexual consent… what is a healthy relationship, romantic or otherwise… self-esteem… self-worth… how binge eating isn’t just someone ‘being greedy’… no mention of anorexia… you get the gist. These issues just weren’t discussed, and so I haven’t really discussed them since.
Yet, this silence is stigmatising. These issues need to be talked about, they need to be acknowledged. In keeping them in the quiet we are making them even worse than they already are. It is incredibly difficult for someone to come forward and say that they are experiencing issues related to binge eating, let’s say. Let alone when so few people talk about binge eating – it gives the impression that it just isn’t an issue. So it is so much harder to talk about something when you feel that you are the only one experiencing it.
Silence can give a stigma to issues that they are ‘weird’, that they should remain in the quiet. These problems sure aren’t glamorous, so why bother?
Let’s start, as a community, to break out of that silence, break down the wall. Speak out about your experiences, your problems, and start the conversation. It doesn’t have to be in such a public arena as on a blog, just start with your friends. It is so refreshing to be discussing something with a friend and for them to say “oh, I went through that too”; or to read a blog post from someone speaking out about issues that you have experienced too. Speak out from the silence, and let others know that they are not alone. It is okay.