“We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast. But if you tell people you are depressed, everyone runs the other way”. Mental illness is a thing it exists. In fact 1 in 4 people will experience a mental illness in their life time. So, someone you know may be going through or has had a mental illness and if you don’t know anyone with a mental illness it’s probably because they haven’t told you about it. We are so excepting for any of our body parts breaking except for our brains.
If you don’t feel well you would go and see a doctor, right? What if you felt anxious, depressed, or sad would you go to the doctors? Probably not! Many of you will suffer in silence. There is a social stigma attached to mental health, which is created by us. People with a mental illness find it harder to deal with the stigma than the mental illness itself. This stigma is created by us, too many people are scared and made to feel isolated and ashamed and will suffer silently making it harder to recover.
Each and everyone one of you must have felt down, sad or depressed during a certain time in your life. This could have been through your GCSE’s, A levels, University, Bereavement, illness, or a breakup. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had a fair share of breakdowns, and have reached a low point in life. I’m coming towards the end of my Master’s degree with the determination that I will not let myself get back to where I was back then. I have recently become much happier in almost every aspect of my life. It may have taken me a long time but I finally feel like I have started to figure myself out. I may not be fully there yet, but I am on the way for sure. Many people have helped me along the way and I couldn’t thank them enough, including my friends and my university tutors.
Okay! So I have learnt many things and lessons along the way which I would like to share with you all, hoping that some of these will help you even if its in the smallest way.
1. Talk about your feelings: If you are experiencing or going through a difficult time talk to someone have a conversation with your family or friends, even a tutor from university, college or school. Having a conversation can make you feel much better just by letting everything out. I can promise you will feel a lot better. Go for a coffee date and just talk about how your week has been just a conversation will make you feel a lot better.
2. Learn to accept yourself: I think learning to accept yourself is very important for our mental health. I spent a lot of my teenage years probably up until I finished my undergraduate degree comparing myself to others and this only damages your self-esteem. I know this can be difficult with the big influence being social media, but I think its very important to be yourself, it sure as hell took me years to finally be happy with myself.
3. Exercise: OK! Exercise is by far the best therapy, I go for a morning run every morning before I go to work and it really does set me off for the morning. I feel a lot happier and ready to face the day ahead. Running allows you to forget about everything and get away from whatever it is that is causing you stress. Research states that people who run or engage in regular exercise are happier than those who don’t. Running has helped me not only with my confidence, but it has made me feel a lot better and happier about myself. Running has definitely helped me perform better at work and generally throughout the day, I am able to think more clearly and have a better outlook on work and life. So, go for a morning run, go swimming, play tennis, go to the gym or any sort of exercise and I can promise you that you will a lot better about yourself.
4. Reading: Where can I start with books! I think reading has helped me a lot and is a good therapy itself. I think reading is an escape from reality, I have always loved to read but then never got the time during high school and university. Now! On my commute to work I will always carry a book, I even sit in coffee shops with a drink and read a book, it is honestly my favourite thing to do. A book which I recommend to all and each one of you to read is “Reasons To Stay Alive” by Matt Haig. This book taught me reasons to stay alive.
So, there it is my little blog post about mental health. There is no shame in asking for help if you are struggling, we all reach a low point in life sometimes.
“Its so common, it could be anyone. The trouble is, nobody wants to talk about it. And that makes everything worse.” – Ruby Wax.