Bleats

Jameela Jamil Bravely Shares Story Of Her Attempted Suicide For World Mental Health Day

“Things can turn around. I promise.”

Mental health is never an easy topic to broach. It affects all of us in one way or another. It’s scary. It’s difficult. And it still carries an ugly stigma that should be long gone.

But talk about it is exactly what we should be doing. And days like World Mental Health Day (October 10th) are an incredible way to encourage positive discussions that can truly change lives.

With that said, however, it can still be terrifying to open up about mental illness. This is why it makes such a difference when public figures step forward and share brave stories with their audiences. Seeing healthy representations of mental health management can make a world of difference to someone who’s struggling.

Actor and activist Jameela Jamil knows this. And, being the admirable woman she is, Jamil chose to share an incredibly intimate story in the name of mental health today.

The Good Place star, who also runs a body-positive Instagram account @iweigh, took to social media to share the story of her own suicide attempt and in the process, highlighted the incredible power of treatment.

“Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay,” she wrote.

“This month, 6 years ago, I tried to take my own life. I’m so lucky that I survived, and went on to use EMDR to treat my severe PTSD. I urge you to hang on just a bit longer and ask for help if you need it. Because things can turn around. I promise.”

In her Instagram post, she went on to share useful resources and examples of positive accounts that people living with mental illness can refer to for guidance.

“Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to access affordable therapy. But if you can’t, in the mean time, there are helplines ( @crisistextline @giveusashoutinsta ) and community groups online around the world and friends and family who might surprise you as to how supportive they can be,” she wrote.

“It’s not something you have to tolerate on your own. You have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. I feel you. I’ve been there. And it’s a process of radical self forgiveness, patience and care that will help you out. It feels like the pain, nightmares and exhaustion will never end sometimes, but they can. And they will.”

It’s incredibly moving to see Jamil share her journey in the name of other people’s health, and unsurprisingly, the post was met with a wave of gratitude and support. Here’s hoping we can all take a lesson from her bravery and become a little more open about the need to talk about mental health.  

If you or someone you care about needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

There’s A Problem With The Way Films Depict Mental Illness In Women

Let's talk about the difference between Harley Quinn and the Joker, shall we?

When you think about Comic-Con, images of superheroes, fantasy film series and video games tend to come to mind. And while that is certainly what sits at the heart of the event, there’s actually a lot more depth to it than you might assume.

New York’s 2019 Comic-Con has held a number of panels discussing social issues and how the industry treats them within popular productions. One such topic is mental health and the manner in which it’s depicted within the world of sci-fi and fantasy (SFF).

For the panel ‘Putting It All Out There: SFF and Mental Health’, writers Shaun Hamill, Lauren Shippen and Stephen Graham Jones spoke with Assistant Editor of The Mary Sue, Princess Weekes, about the treatment of mental health within the genre. In the process, they highlighted an important point.

“The depictions of women with mental illness to me is always interesting because there’s this element of hyper-sexualisation with it,” Weekes started.

“…thinking of like, Basic Instinct, and thinking of even the idea that you have to ‘save a woman by killing her’ – rest in peace Daenerys Targaryen…

“how to you think that, or what would you think that gender plays into depictions of mental illness?”

The panel went on to discuss the all too common conflation of beauty or sex with mental illness for female characters, and the (fairly obvious) problems with that as a trend. If you look at examples like the Bunny Boiler, Harley Quinn (holding out for Birds of Prey) and Nina of Black Swan, they’re each connected with a prominent sexual theme. And the story doesn’t end too well for many of them…

Cases like Daenerys Targaryen and Dr Jean Grey (X-Men The Last Stand) differ slightly, but they remain beautiful women whose mental health stories are linked to their romantic interests. Both of these characters lose control, forcing the men they love to ‘save’ them from themselves.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Comparatively, men are more likely to be shown to be dark, tormented souls like, say, the Joker. He is not an alluring puzzle to be figured out… just a violent monster. Depictions of mental illness being synonymous with violence have traditionally been another problematic reoccurrence in the SFF world, I should point out. But that’s another discussion.

While this isn’t every film, and there are exceptions in Hollywood’s illustration of mental illness, it is clear that historically, certain tropes regularly pop up.   

Credit: Warner Bros.

Responding to Weekes’ comments at Comic-Con, Hamill added:

“I have seen the irresponsible depiction, Harley Quinn of course being the most iconic one for most of us in this room, probably. And you still see it – the Manic Pixie Dream Girl; I feel like that trope is tied up in there, as well.”

“…I don’t know if anybody remembers the TV show Six Feet Under, where there’s the brother and sister. …They’re both mentally ill but Brenda is this incredible sex pot and Billy is allowed to be this play for laughs… or joke, walking around the house in this Christmas sweater crying. Really ugly crying. And she doesn’t really get to do that. When she starts to break it’s sexy; she starts giving hand jobs to clients, or whatever… hopefully we’re moving away from that.”

He pointed out that truthful writing is the best way forward from here:

“Let it be ugly, let it be drab. Let it really feel like what it feels like. Let it weigh.”

Graham Jones added that he’d “be interested in a statistical analysis of whether men or women writers do this more often of rendering women with mental health issues…”.

“If it is more men, which I suspect is the case… then I guess it’s one of two things,” he continued.

“…the Pygmalion thing where, ‘this woman is clay, I can mould her into something useful.’ Or how do I make this woman interesting? They know that they shouldn’t have her raped, which is like, the go-to thing in fiction. And so, they give her a mental health issue. ”

In any case, while Hollywood’s relationship with mental health is far from perfect, it is improving. And discussions like this one at Comic-Con’s mental health panel are a great way to push forward.

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, it’s always a good time to seek some support. beyondblue can offer you personalised support.

The Response To Lizzo’s ‘Emotional Honesty’ Is Exactly How Super Fans Should Behave

Less death threats, more of *this*, please!

It seems all we’re reading about of late is the bad behaviour of extreme fans.

Most recently, it was Marvel fans that needed to be called out for bullying the seven-year-old actress who played Tony Stark’s daughter, Morgan.

Before that, it was the Beyhive that made headlines after they came for Nicole Curran (wife of the owner of the Golden State Warriors) with a barrage of ~death threats~ because she spoke to Jay Z.

And a couple of months before that, Ariana Grande’s fanbase spat venom at a writer who dared to hit back at the musician for calling blogs “purposeless”.

You see the trend.

This week, however, we saw just how uplifting a community of fans can be in the face of a pretty confronting situation.

Musician Lizzo took to social media recently to reach out about feeling particularly low. She shared a video to Instagram that was overlayed with text that read, “I’m depressed and there’s no one I can talk to because there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Life hurts”.

In the corresponding caption, she went on to share that:

“I self-love so hard because everything feels like rejection… it feel like the whole world be ghostin me sometimes. Sad af today. But this too shall pass. S/O all the messages of love. Thank you.”

What the ‘Truth Hurts’ singer received in response was a tidal wave of support.

Fans and celebs alike rushed to Lizzo’s side. Her Twitter and Instagram accounts were quickly filled with messages of love, messages of solidarity, and messages of understanding.

It was quite moving to see.

The following day, Lizzo returned to social media to express just how powerful the show of support was.

“I learned in the last 24hrs that being emotionally honest can save your life,” she wrote.

“…I used to think of sadness as a constant with fleeting moments of joy in between… but it’s a wave joy, sadness, joy, sadness, and my sadness can be as temporary as my joy.”

In the video she shared, Lizzo spoke about her commitment to using her “sadness constructively”, using it as “a tool for gratitude”. She then went ahead and asked her followers to engage in a little emotional honesty themselves, pushing a positive discussion around mental health for whoever might need it.

“What triggers your sadness? What do you do when those buttons are pushed? What do you love about yourself in those moments of darkness?” she asked.

What happened, as a result, was people were not only connecting with Lizzo and her experience, but fans were responding to each other’s comments with words of kindness and understanding.

The touching interaction was a reminder to thousands of people that it’s always okay to ask for help. And it simultaneously proved that no, the Internet doesn’t always have to be a dark, nasty place where all shreds of human dignity dissipate completely.

This, you guys, THIS is how a passionate group of fans who give a sh*t should behave.

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, it’s always a good time to seek some support. beyondblue can offer you personalised support.

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