Today, I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve because, for the first time in ages, something I saw on prime-time TV made me feel something.
On Tuesday night’s episode of The Project, the panel spoke to Mitch Wallis, a 27-year-old Microsoft Marketing Manager who on the outside appeared to have the perfect life. At night, however, he would cry himself to sleep dealing with an internal struggle with mental health.
Watching the raw footage of a video diary filmed alone in a hotel room at his lowest moment, I started to cry. And I couldn’t stop.
Because as Carrie so eloquently articulated what many of us were feeling, I saw myself in his tears.
Just like Mitch, my life is arguably the best it’s ever been. New job straight out of uni in my chosen career path. Great housemates in an enviable suburb of Sydney’s Inner West. A stable long term relationship, supportive parents and enough money coming in to pay my bills and order Uber Eats once in a while.
But from time to time, I just feel down. And when I try to explain why, I can't.
It comes in waves - some weeks I'm up, feeling like I've got everything together, while others I struggle to get out of bed. I'm not sure if 'kinda depressed' is the right term to label how I feel every other week.
And the worst part is I've got no tangible reason to feel this way. What right do I have, as an employed woman from a white collar family with a roof over my head and over 500 Facebook friends, to feel depressed?
It's this - the way we internalise the depths of our emotions - that the Heart On My Sleeve Movement is trying to combat, getting people to really talk about how they're feeling with the people around them.
Watch: Mitch Wallis explains the moments leading up to his lowest moment (post continues after video...)
So often we refer to social media as being the highlight reel of people's lives, only showing the very best parts of what is, on some days, a pretty sh*tty time.
By drawing a heart on your forearm and sharing your experience with mental health on Instagram with the hashtag #heartonmysleeve, Mitch hopes authenticity can cut through the captions and images that make us think our lives could be so much better if we only had/did/were x number of things.
#HeartOnMySleeve ✨????➡️ lead from the inside out. It's ok. This is scary but I want to help reduce the stigma. I'm Not one to share about mental health all the time but you know what, it's a big part of me and I want others to know there's help out there. Put a heart on your sleeve and help people speak out and seek help will less fear ❤️???????????????? @heartonmysleevemovement #awareness #speakup #mindsetiseverything #bebrave #youmatter
So that's why today, I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve. Sure, my problems might seem on the first world side, but that doesn't diminish their power to weigh me down. But scrolling through the #heartonmysleeve hashtag, I can take comfort knowing I'm not the only one feeling this way, and that I will get through it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please reach out to Lifeline 13 11 14 or at lifeline.org.au.