I don’t really suffer with Mental Health issues any more than anyone else, but I do believe that we all manage our mental health on a daily basis.
Issues with our mental health, as with our physical health, can manifest and affect us in many different ways. These are all different for each of us, with no common baseline. Even within ourselves similar things can affect us in vastly differing ways, depending on our mood and what else is happening in our lives at that point in time.
What does any of this have to do with socks I hear you say?
Well one of the things that triggers me is conforming. I am in many ways quite confident in myself, and I hate having to change to conform. I have been lucky in that I have never had to work in any role that has involved wearing a uniform, as such. The idea of this terrifies me, the thought of losing the ability to express myself and my personality through what I wear.
I have, however, had to work in roles that have required me to wear a shirt, tie and trousers. Nothing unusual about that. But this organisation (this was a while ago now, I am hoping this kind of practice no longer exists) had rules about who could wear what.
So the level of your role would define what you were, and weren’t allowed to wear. Junior level plain white or blue shirt, black or grey trouser, plain single colour tie, plain cufflinks and belt.
As you rose through the ranks you were allowed patterned ties, striped or checked shirts etc.
Socks were the only free choice items and as such the only way to express any personality. I embraced this and had brightly coloured, striped or boldly patterned socks. This has stuck with me since and I still buy, mostly, bright colourful, eye popping in some cases, socks.
So most of the time, I wear these socks, I don’t know if anyone ever notices, sometimes people comment but only when they are particularly bright. But sometimes I wear a dark pair, plain, unpatterned, black or grey.
Nothing unusual there, puts me in the same bracket as a huge number of other working guys. Except for me it is unusual. Again I doubt anyone would notice, but for me it is a sign.
I am signalling (to no one in particular other than myself) that I am feeling low. There is no expectation that anyone will see and react. It isn’t a cry for help that I hope someone will notice and try and offer an intervention.
Indeed it is more a confirmation. An acceptance. A message to myself, letting me know that I acknowledge that something isn’t right, and that when I feel up to it I will do something about it.
Sorry for the strangeness of this post, it has no real purpose, please don’t all start checking out my socks to see I am ok. Really I guess the message I want to give is we all have mental health. We all suffer from mental health. We don’t have to do it alone, and it is acceptable to talk about it.