Whilst I have yet to meet her in person, Megan Rees has become one of my closest friends in the MH/blogging community. I can talk to her about anything. A little while ago I wrote an open letter to her, praising her as the “admirable woman” I believe her to be. However, I neglected in this letter to comment on her blog (www.megrrees.com). Since writing, I have read it from top to bottom; every single post from her July 15th 2016 debut to an interview with the lovely Louise Chatters published just yesterday.
In short, Megan’s blog is not just fantastic, but fantastically important. Her intentions when launching were clear:*
I wanted to create a space where people can come to learn about mental illness, a space where loved ones can come to be able to help those in their life with mental illness and, most importantly, a space where you know that you’re not alone, you are loved and it is worth it.
This she has plainly achieved. Over eight months, she has produced – among other things – a series of mental health-themed guides, ranging from self care to sunbeds. These are thoughtful, informative and genuinely helpful. “Helping anyone is a hard yet noble thing”, she writes in her guide to helping someone with mental illness. “It’s bloody difficult to try and help, but as long as the support is there, that’s the main thing.” Megan tackles painfully difficult and potentially contentious issues, such as the pressures of mental health blogging, and elsewhere – perhaps surprisingly – agrees with the claim that those with mental health issues lie:
We say everything’s fine when our whole world is crumbling down around us due to depression. We pretend to be relaxed when we can feel a imminent panic attack due to anxiety. We smile fervently even though that plug socket that is currently switched on even though there’s no plug in it which is destroying us due to OCD. We suggest we’re still full but are desperately hungry due to eating disorders.
One cannot read that and disagree about the excellence of Meg’s writing. Her letter to a future lover, for example, is sweet, funny and charming, whilst her descriptions of depression and psychosis are as haunting and suffocating as Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. I very quickly find tears in my eyes when I read her Open Letter to Those Suffering. (“You may feel like the loneliest person right now, but it’s okay, it’s not you, it’s just your illness, don’t worry.”) “I’ve become much more comfortable in my writing style, which in turn is making me much more confident in myself”, wrote Meg at the end of November 2016.
On paper, I can be reduced to a mental illness, but to my friends, family, followers, I’m Megan and I have a whole lot more going for me than I allow myself to believe a lot of the time.
I should like to say that having talked to her a lot, I know she is a kind, caring, intelligent, hilarious** and courageous young woman. How much of this Megan may believe, I can’t be certain; but I will do everything I can to convince her.
Love you, Megan
Everyone deserves all the happiness in the world, for some it’s going to be a lot more difficult than others, but we’ll all get there, I strongly believe in it.
* January 2nd 2017: “I hope to make sure that I continue to help and support as many people as possible through this year.”
** Exhibit A: “NB slides and heels are not very dignified”
Exhibit B: “The best (and possibly only good) thing about the next four years is the amount of creativity it will produce and it’s starting well (despite the world possibly burning).”