There are so many different “days” in the year, I mean did you know there is a national vodka day, national pizza day, national coffee day? And with so many ways to keep up with we can lose attention and focus on the events which we should really be pushing until they reach high exposure. One of these is World Mental Health Day.
If you have been following me for a while, you will know that last year I wrote a pretty in-depth and honest account of my experiences with Mental Health (which you can read here). So many of you came to me and thanked me, thanked me for speaking out and giving you the confidence to do so yourself. I had people asking for advice, people offering me advice, and people telling me how beautiful the post really was. I can’t describe how it feels to have helped just one person because that is the reason I posted it – to help people.
And with that thought in mind, this year, rather than expressing my story again in depth, I have decided to give you a brief insight into my story and have got a few of my amazingly brave friends to do the exact same. Mental Health really does impact so many of our lives, and you truly do never know exactly who is suffering from a Mental Health issue. So many people hide their Mental health issues, and why? Mental Health issues shouldn’t be something that we hide, they shouldn’t be something that we are embarrassed or are scared to talk about but so many of us are. A mental illness is something which unlike a physical illness, cannot be seen. And I personally believe that this is one of the biggest reasons that people tend to shy away from the topic of Mental Health. If you can’t physically see something, how can someone who has never experienced it, ever understand what someone is going through? And the bigger question, how can someone suffering from a Mental Health problem ever try and explain what is going on in their head to someone, when sometimes we can’t even understand it ourselves?
Just what exactly is a Mental Health Problem? There are countless Mental Illnesses that you could suffer with, some of which, you may not even realise are classed as a Mental Health problem. Symptoms of each individual Mental Health problem very, and you could experience multiple symptoms at once. I can not recommend checking out the MIND website enough, where you can explore all the different Mental Health Illnesses, the symptoms, and most importantly get advice to help you.
You are NOT alone
Despite what you think, you are not alone. So many people suffer, people you wouldn’t expect to suffer – it can happen to anyone of us, but don’t just take my word for it – have a read through each individual account below. Mental Health can impact people in many different ways, and each one of us who has contributed really just wants to emphasise how important it is to speak out, and how important it is to get help for yourself.
“Being a young girl with alopecia and being bullied all my life I wanted to keep everything about how I was feeling to myself. But this was something that I couldn’t keep to myself no more. It all started about 3 years ago and I was in a very difficult relationship that ended messily. Very messy. The ending was what started my mental health issues. I couldn’t get over what had happened and then when I thought I had. I was then treated badly again by a guy that knew all of what happened in my past but he couldn’t get over it. It hurt a lot. The pain was so much that I began to self-harm and hide myself away. I didn’t want to but I had to reach out for help. It was hard but I’m hopefully slowly but surely getting back to the old me. I still have down days. But I just want everyone to know. Don’t be afraid of reaching out for help you’re not alone there are other people out there knowing how you feel and what’s going on. Getting help is better than suffering alone.”
Jess Terry, 21, Diagnosed at 16. I am a journalism student working as a door to door fundraiser. I suffered from anxiety, depression and past agoraphobia after treatment for cancer. The anxiety manifested as PTSD like symptoms. Had cognitive behavioural therapy and anxiety medication/anti-depressants, but mainly just a change in lifestyle helped me.
My advice would be to listen to yourself. If you need to check out for a while then that;s okay. Self-care is so important – be patient with yourself. Also, tell your parents/siblings that you love them, they’re going through this too and they worry more than you know. Don’t be scared of loving and definitely do not be afraid to be loved. Remember that you are loved.
Hey, guys, I’m Shan from http://www.sweetlyshan.co.uk , I’m a 21-year-old English Literature and Media graduate from South Wales.
When I found out Gabby was doing another Mental Health Day post I knew I had to be involved, because my form of anxiety I’ve never heard anyone else online talk about. I hope my story helps some of you reading to better understand what you or someone you know may be going through if you suffer from Health Anxiety.
Since I was around 11 years old, I have suffered from health anxiety. I first started to display symptoms of health anxiety in year 7 after my first science class where we learnt the dangers of eating in the labs and all the chemicals used within them. Initially, it took form as an OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), where I would wash my hands and carry hand sanitizer everywhere with me. I would eat my sandwiches out of the foil because I was terrified of my hands touching the food – even after I’d washed them twice already. Children in school picked up on it and called me weird, even teachers started to notice my unusual behaviours. I used to strategically time asking to go to the bathroom every chemistry lesson so I didn’t have to participate in the practical’s, although one day when I returned there was an entire tub of blue powder chemical split on my science book. That was one of the worst days I had suffering with health anxiety.
My OCD got a lot better once I left school but my anxiety was still causing me to believe I had some form of a health complaint. In the weeks before I started university, I was experiencing stomach pains which magically disappeared after I started university. It was at this point I started to understand what it was I was suffering with. Whenever a major life-changing event or something I was extremely nervous for was approaching, my anxiety would take shape in the form of an “imaginary” health issue. For me, it varied from stomach pains to joint pain to headaches, but the understanding and rationalisation helped to decrease the symptoms a lot.
Thankfully, I don’t suffer from health anxiety now anywhere near as bad as I did when I was younger, but that’s because I talked about it with people – in particular, my mum, and together we got through the roughest patches. My advice to anyone suffering from anxiety, but health anxiety, in particular, would be to talk to someone, as clique as it sounds but it helps just to talk about it. Learn more about it, try to gain a better understanding of what causes it and see if you can find the root of where your anxiety started. It really helped me, but the main thing I’d say to anyone reading is that you are not alone, and anxiety isn’t something you have to go through alone.
If you ever want someone to talk to my twitter DM’s are open, even if it’s just for a chat or to ask me some more about my experience, feel free to message me! –
I suffered crippling anxiety for four years and it started when I was in my last job and I had a manager who was very nit plucky constantly on my case all the time and it made me start worrying about whether I was doing my job right and these thoughts eventually turned into an everyday item in my until I had this constant thudding in my chest and I was unable to sleep at night and I started washing hands all the time and ended up with red rough patches on both of them that were very sore and I also became worried to be happy and enjoy myself up to a point where it became a fear it still is now, and one day in work it got that bad that I physically was unable to carry on doing my job because my thoughts were that over powering. That was four years ago, Anxiety is a slow recovery process I am still recovering and I have had a few relapses but am getting there. I’ve also got a new job as a support worker this year which I enjoy and am hoping it’s a job role I can develop on as well. To anyone out there suffering in silence your not alone speak out because the help is there you need to talk and it’s OK not to be OK.
Let me start by saying that no matter how “happy” someone looks, their looks can be so deceiving. I’ve struggled with mental health for a while, particularly with depression and anxiety. I neglect to tell my family about my suffering because they don’t understand – they’ve never been through it so they wouldn’t know what it’s like. I feel as if I’m all on my own which isn’t how it should be, but is. I also suffer from Season Affective Disorder, meaning I get more anxious or down in the winter months as the sun draws in. This is so debilitating as I can’t stop having intrusive thoughts about hurting myself, suicide and self-harm, all things I think about every year. It especially affects me in my workplace (the theme of this year’s mental health day) as I get really anxious every day and yet I still enjoy my job and everything that I get to take part in. I want to go to doctors about my bad thoughts and get them sorted, but there definitely is a stigma surrounding mental health that’s exacerbated by doctors saying that patients “don’t look like they have depression”, when in fact they could be suffering the most. Don’t suffer in silence. Please speak up and make your mental health struggles known so that someone can help you. That said, I should probably practice what I preach.
Carys – I am 19 and was diagnosed when I was 14. Currently, I am a Student and work as a front of house assistant. I suffer with Anxiety and Depression along with other chronic illnesses. I Was seen by CAMHS when I was first diagnosed but was dismissed as it was ‘just puberty’ I have a great supportive family around me and having a part-time job is great especially as my colleagues understand. I now go to group support sessions and one to one therapy with MIND which really helps. I try to distract myself on bad days with things I love like meeting up with friends and watching Disney films. My advice to others is to always put yourself first, especially when your mental health is doing too great and to cut any toxic people out of your life and focus on the great, supportive people around you.
I just want to take time to thank all the people who got in contact with me, you’re all so brave for speaking out and each one of you is amazing. Having suffered with depression and anxiety myself, I know the struggles a mental health illness can bring, and I know it can be so challenging to speak up. But believe me when I say, people ARE there to help. It doesn’t seem like it but, there are so many people who can help you huge amounts. My DMS are always open, if you ever need a chat, message me – @gabbyfabrizio
Remember, mental health can affect any of us, even though everything seems “fine”, for some people they could be falling apart. Treat people with kindness, and if someone opens up to you, give them respect, give them advice, but most importantly, listen.