So Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) has been and gone and it may seem like I have missed the boat with this post.
But I think that if you are speaking up then you don’t have to wait a whole year to ride the wave (see what I did there) of speaking about important issues.
Did you know that mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people each year? It’s time to talk and end the stigma. I thought it best to start with my own story to give you a flavour of where I’m coming from.
Often when asked to speak about my experiences I’ll gloss over things as I just feel awkward expressing these experiences to other people. But why is this, when discussions about mental health are finally been encouraged in society? So here is my mental health story…
For me it started in 2014, I was 23 and at risk of being unemployed as I was being pressured by the bank to pay off my debts. To add to my worries I found that when I was eating I was having increasing diffiulty swallowing foods and that things would often feel like they were getting stuck in my throat.
All my worries were building up and I was coping at all – my usual mentality is ‘ahh everything will be fine’ but really I was just burying my head in the sand. For me time was running out and I didn’t know where to turn.
With the difficulties with my throat I was eating less and less and the weight was falling off – each week when I arrived at work my boss would look extremly concerned and ask me if I was alright and why was I loosing so much weight.
This added to my worries and soon became the only thing on my mind. The negative thoughts I had went on for months and I found I wanted to stay in the house more and more.
It was time for me to get help, after a frank discussion with my doctor I was put on the waiting list for Cognative Behaviour Therapy (CBT). When I got into CBT and assessed I had high levels of anxiety and was suffering with very mild depression.
Through talking through therapy I was taught to recognise the signs of anxiety and that some of the phyiscal symptoms that I experienced are actually linked to this.
I was taught the different tools and techniques to be able to manage my anxiety day to day.
Ive had three different rounds of therapy and each time I have made progress from where I’ve started . I think the issue is learning how to deal with your symptoms on your own and learning to manage them and not being becoming solely reliant on the therapist.
I can’t imagine that I would have come so far without seeking help. I still have a long way to go but I have come so far in the past 4 years.
If there’s one thing I want you to take from this blog post is to take the time to listen. It’s not always about problem solving some people just want someone to talk to without fear of judgement. I’d love to hear your thoughts – if you wish to share please comment below.