Thursday, 6 February 2014

Time to Talk Day - what to do if you can't talk

Today was Time to Talk Day - organised by the charity Time to Change to get people talking about mental health, and encouraging people to give a little bit of time for a chat with someone who might be struggling.

Unfortunately, both my sister (who is severely autistic) and I have depression and anxiety, which can be unnoticeable or overwhelming, depending on how things are going in our lives. There has been much discussion about the mental health benefits of gardening and being outdoors, and I think both have been a blessing for us.

Whether it's going for a walk on a beach in Brighton...

...or spending an hour or two in a garden or park, there lots of ways to make the darkness a little less intense. This is a picture from her Brighton garden last August. She often sat outside in the summer.

Last weekend, she came back to stay with the family, and she was ever so quiet. But she seemed to enjoy watering the autumn-sown nigella, cornflowers and Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow'.

None of these are a cure for mental illness. But for people like my sister who can't really have conversations with others, these are ways of making the days a bit brighter. And for someone like me, who appreciates thoughtful talks with friends and family, these are ways to help myself.

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