Why we need to keep talking about mental health
As it’s mental health awareness week, I thought it’d be fitting to write my own two cents on the topic. I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with mental health in past but it wasn’t at all easy to start talking about and I know there are still thousands of people out there suffering in silence.
So this post isn’t to talk about my experience with depression and anxiety - though if you want to know, please just ask! This blog is written with the intention of really helping people in need to find their voice and the courage to reach out, because it’s a scary position to be in but sometimes we just need a little help from a friend.
You are not alone and you will be understood
One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. If you worry that nobody is going to understand or they’ll think of you as some sort of freak, trust me, they won’t! It happens to the best of us so there’s no shame in talking about it.
Let someone else cut your irrational thoughts with fresh perspective
I know as well as anyone that mental health problems can cut your ability to see sense and think rationally. Like a dark fog that blinds you and causes panic, it’s hard to know right from wrong, good from bad. If you let someone in, they can help clear the fog with their fresh perspective and logical way of thinking.
Things will only worsen if you let your problems stew and build and carry on unmanaged
In the same vain, if you don’t let someone in when your mental health and negative thinking takes a turn for the worse, they’re only likely to escalate and cause serious problems. Talk to someone whenever you feel irrational so that negative thinking never gets to a point of being out of control and dangerous.
You’re not saving anyone from worrying about you by not telling them
I found it really difficult to tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry about me. In reality, it was a relief when I told her that I was suffering from depression and anxiety because it also meant I was getting help. She was more worried when I was showing all the signs of mental health problems and not admitting it than when I finally acknowledged it and spoke up. Your health is not a burden to anybody.
If you’re embarrassed (which you shouldn’t be) there are ways you can get help without physically talking to anyone or sharing your identity
There are so many services out there available to you that make it as easy as possible to talk. I’ve included a list in the comments of this post for your reference. You can get counselling over text message, phone calls that are anonymous and Skype sessions with professionals from the comfort of your home! Although you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or want to keep it a secret, if you want to, you can whilst still getting the help you need.
Life is precious and will only get better, don’t let rock bottom be the end of the journey
At some point in our life, we’re all going to have a moment in time that is the worst in our lives (unless your entire life is 24/7 rainbow and sparkles but that just doesn’t happen). Don’t let rock bottom be the end, trust that if you can make it out this bad patch, things can and will get so much better. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.
You never know who else might be struggling, your openness could be a catalyst for someone else to open up
I was so scared for such a long time to talk about my mental health, I was so scared of being judged that it almost prevented me seeking help. Once I did talk about it publicly, the support I received was overwhelming. So many people thanking me for my bravery (though the more we talk about it the less ‘bravery’ it will require) and so many people reached out to give advice and love and well wishes. Now I have people messaging me all the time for support and whilst I can’t be there for everyone all the time (you can’t pour from an empty cup) it has opened up peoples minds to communicating about it. So speak up, for your own sake and for the sake of other who might just need a little encouragement or inspiration to do the same!
Remember, it is an illness. Would you be scared and secretive if you broke a bone or had the flu? No, it’s just another health problem that can’t be shamed, only helped!
I say this one all the time because it really hits home. If you found a lump, you’d go to the doctors to check for cancer and then get treatment if that’s what it was. If you broke your leg, you’d call an ambulance and get taken to the hospital for treatment. If you struggle with mental health, don’t hide it, talk to a professional and get help.
I really, really hope that this post has helped. Whether it’s helping stimulate the conversation or helping someone to feel like they can teach out for support or anything else for that matter. Coming out of a very bad place was hard and I’m by no means completely cured from all my problems but it’s a journey that only starts when you recognise the problem and take baby steps towards getting better.