Mental health is just like physical health, everyone’s got it and everyone’s experience of it is different. For some, anxiety can occur in situations such as exams or job interviews and depression can occasionally visit for a number of reasons. And most of the time when the trigger is removed, life continues as normal with the occasional hiccup along the way. However, for some people, their mental health can be extremely difficult to handle and cope with, whether triggers are present or not. To the point where this becomes a constant occurrence and the severity is massively increased.
How many of us truly understand mental health conditions and are able to recognise them in ourselves and others? The answer sadly is ‘not many’. So how do we change this? By talking. Simple yet massively effective. Talking to one another and being open about our feelings is something that we could all do more of. You’ll be surprised by how much this actually makes a difference.
Having a mental health condition can often seem like i’m living with a dual personality. Sometimes everything seems great and then all of a sudden I don’t recognise myself anymore. I can be happy, thankful and content with everything, yet there’s often a critic inside my head that’s taking the joy away from everything. Sometimes, no matter how well things are going, depression can change my mood instantly.
I spent many years not knowing that I had symptoms of anxiety and depression. I didn’t know what the symptoms were. When I was finally diagnosed, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I thought I would be judged, that I wouldn’t be able to do the career I wanted anymore and that friends may no longer accept me (oh how wrong I was!). Because I didn’t recognise the symptoms, I didn’t speak to others about it and I didn’t know how to seek help… I reached breaking point quite literally. My mental health condition reached an extreme level and I desperately needed help.
I reached out for help and I began to speak to others about it (although this took me a long time to do). The more I did, the more support I received and the easier each day seemed. Gradually day by day, things got better. I still have mental health conditions, I still have bad days. But my life is much more positive now.
This brings me to my blog. I began to realise that if I didn’t speak out about my mental health then I was simply contributing to the stigma. I wanted to create a place where others could read a personal account of what mental health conditions are like. Where they could learn about symptoms and learn how to help others. And where they could find sources to better manage their condition. I created a social media platform where I have been able to connect with fellow ambassadors and what I like to call mental health warriors. I have had the absolute pleasure to encourage others, to make new friends and even help to save a life.
We need to talk to one another. We need to ask others how they’re feeling. We need to be honest with others and truly tell them if we’re having a bad time. We need to educate others so that they can recognise symptoms and get the help that they deserve before the condition grows too much.
I promise you that things will get better. You may not believe me now, but I’m certain that one day you’ll see it.
On behalf of other mental health ambassadors and fighters, those who are scared to open up and those who have lost their ability to express how they feel… please aim to make a difference after #WorldMentalHealthDay. You don’t need to do much. All I’m asking you to do is hug someone you love and ask someone how they’re doing. And by doing that you’ve made someone feel special – more than you’ll ever know.
I’d like to say a massive thank you to those who have supported me along the way and who have been a part of my journey. Your actions and words are appreciated more than you realise.