The invisible wound. Our problem with mental wellbeing.

Jo is back at work now after nine months off for depression.

It has almost destroyed his marriage, and suicidal thoughts have been persistent.

Jo never thought he’d get back to his job; it seemed like another life.

But with support from both his bosses and therapy, he has. He’s just completed his first day.

Now there’s a new problem, however: ‘What do I say to everyone else?’

‘If it was a broken ankle,’ he says, ‘that would be fine. I’d have a plaster cast to show them! Everyone would get it. But when it’s an illness you can’t see – well, people aren’t so understanding.’

There’s a lot of talk about mental health these days, which is a step forward.

But perhaps the biggest issue in attitudes towards it, remains its invisibility.

We don’t see difficulties arising in ourselves.

But crucially, no one else sees them either when we crack inside. There’s no plaster cast or bandage to sign post the damage to everyone else.

The inner torment is hidden; and the wound, invisible.

So when Jo goes back to work feeling fragile and taking one day at a time, he has a problem, because everyone says:

‘But you look fine, Jo!’

Sometimes a smile is not what it seems…