In support of World Mental Health Day, I thought I would share a bit of a mental health update with you all. If you know me or have been reading my blog for an amount of time, you’ll know that mental health is something that affects me personally, and something I am a strong advocate for talking about.
For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from anxiety and depression, but only in the last few years did I do anything about it. When I was younger, I used to have feelings of being completely overwhelmed and powerless with life, but I always pinned it down to going through puberty, and I assumed that every teenage girl felt the same as me.
It was only as I got older and found my feet a bit more that I realised that some of the feelings I was having were not ‘normal’ (which is a term I use loosely, because who the hell knows what normal is anymore?) and I began to open up more.
I remember first going to the doctor and not really knowing what to say: I wasn’t at a stage of crying myself to sleep with worry, but I felt so anxious day to day that I was cancelling plans, shutting out those closest to me, and keeping myself to myself – and because I was such a worrier, I was convinced that I was going to lose everyone because I was doing this.
It was a vicious cycle of wanting to feel ok. but not knowing where to turn in case people didn’t understand or I couldn’t explain myself. Anxiety is quite tough to deal with on a day to day basis and it only gets harder with the amount of responsibility you have of being an adult. Everyone’s experience is completely different, but for me, even the simplest task can trigger it and I feel helpless.
Over the years, I have tried a whole range of things for my anxiety, including hypnotherapy, councilling, online chats and medication. Some days I feel as though I’ve made so much progress with my mental health, and some days set me back to square one, but I have my own ways to deal with it, and opening up is definitely one.
You may be wondering why I’m telling you this? Well, in short, it’s because I’m not afraid anymore. I’m no longer worried about what people will think of me if they know I take medication; I don’t mind if people know I worry and over-analyse every situation and I’m ok with people knowing something about me they might not have been aware of previously.
My blog has always been a place to share my feelings and a place to clear my head and I for one am all for breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. I know from personal experience how hard it is to talk about mental health, but our society is getting more clued up on the different issues and symptoms surrounding us, which seems like a step in the right direction.
There is no magic way to click your fingers and feel better – if there was, I’d be all over that. The first step is identifying that something isn’t right (which only you will know), and if you’ve had a particular feeling for an amount of time, I would suggest seeking some professional advice.
Don’t be embarrassed to talk; it’s the first step to the acceptance that your mental health is just as important as physical.