This week is mental health awareness week (14th – 20th May 2018) I recently heard the radio advertisement for MHAW on the radio, featuring the likes of lady gaga and even some royals. It’s so important that mental health is openly discussed as unfortunately mental health affects most people at some point in their life.
Mental health is the ‘invisible illness’ that affects 1 in 4 people in the UK every year.
I’ve heard on a number of occasions the phrase ‘it seems everyone’s got something wrong with them nowadays’ – that is so unbelievably incorrect, people have suffered with mental health issues for decades, but it was always such a taboo subject that no one talked about it.
Just a decade ago there was not the open publicity about mental health that there is now, I remember being a teenager, scrolling through the internet late at night trying to find information about mental health because I felt so low and depressed, but nobody talked about it and it wasn’t brought up in school. I didn’t understand what I was feeling or why and I suffered in a really dark place for the majority of secondary school and college.
Whilst at college a friend of a friend told me she was getting free counselling at the college, I wasn’t aware the college even had a councillor, she showed me where the office was and I signed myself up for a little while – those counselling sessions changed my life, not immediately, but it forced me to open up about how I was feeling and each time I did I felt a fraction better.
My councillor offered to speak to my tutors about how I was feeling so they could go ‘easy’ on me and give me extra help with my exams. I turned this down as I was too embarrassed by the thought of getting special treatment and other people knowing how I feel. But now I look back I should have jumped at that offer, I could have done a lot better at college than I did. I carried around the secret of being depressed for too long and with that came so much baggage that weighed me down every single day, to the outside world I looked my ‘normal happy’ self, but internally I was screaming for help.
Being open and honest about how you feel to yourself and your peers is so important, it’s so clique but a problem shared really is a problem halved. If you have something bothering you, no matter how small you may feel that is, from stress at work all the way up to a serious breakdown, you should never suffer alone, speak with a parent, a friend, a partner and find they don’t judge you as you may fear, they understand and maybe have even felt the same themselves. I used bottle EVERYTHING up, to the point that bottle was over flowing and I wanted to explode but I’ve tackled my demons, overcome my fears and live my life honest and open and I have not felt that way since.
If you’re worried about someone you think could be struggling with mental health, make yourself aware of the signs and symptoms. If however you feel like you’re the one struggling, have the courage to talk about it. It will be the hardest and most reliving thing you can do.
Feel free to contact me via my social media accounts or email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever want someone to talk to.