It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week and the theme this time around is Kindness. Now I know that word is bandied around a lot, it’s a motivational meme staple and honestly, I don’t hate it. Following the sad suicide of Caroline Flack it has also became a kind of catchphrase – Be Kind Always – and I think about it a lot.

There are worse things to do than strive for kindness and compassion in this world, especially right now. I think we all mostly try our best to be nice people and well, it takes so much more effort to be a dickhead all the time. I know this because I’ve spent my fair share of time hating my life and the people around me.

I spent an embarrassing number of years trapped in a toxic relationship but worse, within the prison of my own mind and I didn’t have the strength or emotional capacity to be kind to myself, let alone anybody else. I was deeply depressed, numb to the world around me and I wanted to die.

It was the kindness of new friends (and a few old ones) that saw me through that horrible period. When I came out the other end not only did I finally start to look at how I treated myself, I also softened a lot. I became more empathetic and less judgemental having totally – but thankfully, temporarily – fucked up.

I credit that segment of my life (the aftermath of the break-up) with all the good things that came after it. I found bliss with my husband but really, the greatest love to come out of trauma was the one I found for myself.

Now I’m strong enough to know I only need the simple things in life and that I want love and kindness to be woven through it. Sure, I enjoy a bitch with the best of them, I really do, I’m far from perfect but I work on myself as much as I can. I’m quite sure most of us do because what’s the alternative? Bitterness and rage can only get us so far.

Anyway, whatever you think about Mental Health Awareness Week – or the brands and companies that cash in on the sentiment but fail to support their own staff members – it’s still good to be talking about it. Good mental health couldn’t be more important and now, while we don’t have the luxury of surrounding ourselves with people, it’s even more imperative to show kindness where we can.

People are struggling, I’m struggling too and if we can handle it, reaching out is the kind thing to do. It doesn’t have to be heavy-handed, just a word or two can sometimes change a person’s whole day. The kindest kindnesses I’ve received over the last two months have been letters, messages and memes. These are simple and effective tokens to make us all feel less alone.

Life is tough and not everybody has people to turn to but everybody deserves kindness ❤️

DISCLAIMER: I am inclined to say, who the hell am I to preach kindness when I’m so flawed myself? True. I am a work in progress and maybe I always will be. All I’m trying to convey is a little kindness literally saved my life back there and if I can pay it forward, even in the smallest ways, as often as possible, then I’ll always be happy.