Time to get real about mental health

It seems sad to me that people often get criticised for expressing their struggles with mental health. This is tough when you’re actively encouraged to talk about it more. As a society, I think we still regard it as a relatively taboo subject. Honestly, we shouldn’t. It’s something so strong and gripping that needs to be discussed. So that’s what I’m going to do – discuss my mental health.

I’ve been suffering from anxiety from the age of 11. Secondary school, at times, was horrific and that continued right through college. I took the scary plunge and sought help at the age of 17 after a horrible breakdown.  I got put on medication and I got better with the help of therapy, my family and friends and the drugs. 

Fast forward two years and I’d decided that I no longer needed the medication. I came off of it – probably too quickly – but felt fine nonetheless. Four months went by and I wasn’t myself. I was slipping into the spiral of uncontrollable sadness coupled with crippling anxiety.  I didn’t enjoy doing fun things, and I certainly didn’t want to think about going to a job that, quite frankly, made me ill. 

I finally cracked at the end of August and took myself to the doctors, in floods of tears. I broke down in the doctor’s room and I knew deep down that I’d done the right thing. 

I had to delay my move back to London while I battled with the grim side effects of Sertraline once again, but I persevered. While it’s six months on, I still have days where I want to go to sleep for a long period of time. I still find it hard to motivate myself, and I have a toxic lack of self-belief.

A coping mechanism for me is to write down my feelings – so while it may seem odd to you, reading something very personal about me, it helps my head to know where I stand. It helps in a way that I struggle to explain, but I just know that it does do some good. 

I’m also incredibly open with my friends about how I’m feeling. I bottled my emotions up for a very long time and it made me sick. Talking does relieve pressure, and it also helps you realise that you aren’t alone. 

In fact, I would go as far to say that talking about mental health is fundamental. So please, don’t judge anyone if they say they’re having a bad time, or they’re posting aobut being sad again. We all have our ways to make ourselves feel better. And, you may think I’m exaggerating, but it may just save a life.

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