It is estimated at least 1 in 4 of us will suffer from some form of mental illness in our lifetimes with 1 in 6 suffering in any given week. To put that in to perspective that’s more than 10 million people suffering with a mental illness EVERY WEEK in the UK alone.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had my fair share of mental illness – diagnosed as a sufferer primarily of anxiety, a good while back now. Upon a period of suffering with the ‘noise’ inside my head, I visited my Doctor who told me I was suffering from general anxiety & ‘hypochondria’, a form of anxiety focused primarily around health conditions, leading me to believe that even the slightest lump, bump or cough could be the sign of something unthinkable.
You could ask anyone around me as I was growing up, I’ve always been an anxious person, but that does not mean that’s how it has got to be. I’ve been there, in the dead of night feeling like I’m a stuck in a never ending tunnel that is absolutely pitch black and in that time there’s no other way to feel, it’s easy for people to say; “it’s going to be okay” or “this won’t last forever!” but in that moment, it is truly incomprehensible that things will get better.
That brings me to the point of the blog, ‘Why DO we need to all start talking more about our mental health?’ Easy. In the bluntest of terms, a problem shared is a problem halved (IMO)
If only it was as simple as that… but in reality the point still stands, I know for myself, that if I’m going through a rough patch, actually opening up and talking to people is so so important.
But, why should we? Think about it, if not just for yourself, if you’re anything like me when you’re in a rough place, you tend to go ‘into’ yourself, close yourself off from the world and think about very little except what is going on in your head. That’s no good for anyone, whether it’s at home, work or socially.
How I overcame my mental illness:
Having people to talk to:
My family, friends and partner have been gigantic pillars of support for years.
As I battled, throughout my teenage years with numerous bouts of anxiety, my parents spent endless nights sat on the end of my bed consoling me, rationalising my thoughts and generally comforting me.
Nowadays I’m in a much better place in my own head, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important to talk and open up.
It’s cliche, but it’s so important – get outside and do some exercise! It doesn’t have to be a 5 mile run, a game of football or a 2 hour bike ride, just getting outside, getting in the fresh air and moving your body will do to start! If you can get yourself to a state where you can get out, the mountains are the best. Nothing can beat sitting on top of a mountain or hillside with a cup of coffee, watching the sunset.
Mental illness can drive you into yourself and remove every bit of energy that you have, so getting creative can be difficult. However, if you can, you can’t beat that feeling of successfully completing a creative project; whether it’s a drawing, photograph, video or piece of music.
‘It’s okay to not be okay!’