As its Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAW17) I thought that the Mental Health Tag would be a really great post to share. I’ve already spoken about my mental health in several other posts, mainly my University Series, but I feel like this tag is a really great, informative way to discuss my own mental wellbeing.
Raising awareness for mental health is a huge passion of mine and I’m so glad to have seen this tag floating around this week. It seems that more and more people are talking about mental health now, which is just amazing!
I found the questions for this tag on the creator, Hollie Rose’s, blog and you can read her post about this tag, as well as her answers to the questions, here.
1. What is your mental health issue?
I have panic attacks, generalised anxiety and depression.
2. Do you have medication and/or therapy?
At the moment I’m on an antidepressant, Prozac, and I’m browsing around for therapy I think will work for me.
3. What therapy/medication have you tried and has any worked for you?
For my panic attacks and anxiety, I tried a beta-blocker which worked really well for me, but I decided to take it in small doses as I felt like I was becoming dependent on them. For depression, I started out on sertraline/Zoloft initially but it ruined my sleeping habits and didn’t work well with my body at all. A month ago I asked to change medication and now I’m on fluoxetine/Prozac which has worked really well for me and given me no side effects at all!
For therapy, I tried counselling at my university which meant I could only have up to 6 sessions. The counsellor I saw was really lovely, but she was more emotion based which didn’t work for me. She would tell me to stop negative thoughts in their track and tell myself more positive affirmations, but a lot of my negativity wasn’t so easily identified and I really struggled with her advice.
4. How long have you had problems for?
I have always been a very anxious person, but I was officially diagnosed in 2014 shortly after starting university. I was only diagnosed with depression in October 2016 but had struggled with low mood and thoughts for about a year before I got help.
5. Does your family/friends know?
A few years ago, I felt really uncomfortable talking about my mental health and afraid it would make me seem stupid. Eventually, I realised that it wasn’t my fault that I was suffering and nothing to be embarrassed about and I managed to tell those around me. Two years later, I’m more honest and open about it than ever (as you can tell from this post & my whole blog really) because I’m sick of the stigma surrounding mental health and feeling like we’re to blame for our own suffering.
6. Does this affect your work and daily living?
Not so much anymore. The biggest impact was on my studies and time at university, but I decided to take a gap year to focus on my health before continuing with my degree. This has meant I have a lot of spare time, and there are some days I struggle to get out of bed and push myself to do the things I know need doing, but they don’t happen as often now.
With work, it’s always been a hugely positive environment for me. I decided to keep my mental health struggles a secret when I started there, which was tough when I was put in situations that made me feel panicky, but also helped me in the sense that I could be the person I always wanted and no one knew any different. Last year, I decided to tell my coworkers (who are the kindest people, they’re more like best friends!) and they were all so understanding and kind.
I also work with kids, so even if I’m having a tough day it’s all put to the side when I’m there because kids don’t care AT ALL about any problems you might be having, and you have to make sure you’re giving them the best support and encouragement. I could go into work after a 6-hour crying spree and with the worst thoughts but leave hours later in the best ever mood.
7. What makes you feel calm?
Taking a step back makes me feel calm. I do this by colouring in, writing/blogging, having a nap, watching funny videos, playing Sims or meditating. I usually use the apps on my phone, either Stop, Breathe, Think or Flowy, which allows me to take time for myself away from any negative situation and let me calm down and feel better.
8. What do you do in a crisis?
In a crisis, I make sure that I speak to someone I trust. If I’m having a really tough time, I’ll usually phone up my boyfriend and explain how I’m feeling to him, which in return helps me deal with the situation. I’m a big talker, and I think it is so important to share how you feel so I usually write down my feelings or speak to someone around me to get it all out which helps me feel better.
9. What advice would you give to others suffering?
Make sure you don’t keep it all to yourself! Whether you write your feelings down, speak to a loved one or contact one of the organisations below, it’s so important to ask for help if you need it. There are also so many people who are suffering too, way more than you think, and usually those that seem the least likely! It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and it’s not your fault.
10. What makes you smile?
Thankfully, there are a lot of things that make me smile! My family, my boyfriend, my guinea pig, my job, and my blog along with all the lovely people I’ve met because of it!
11. Describe your mental health issue in five words.
Quiet, tired, lonely, worry and cloudy.
12. Insert a picture to make people smile.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and finding out a bit more about me and my mental health story. Please feel free to share this post using #MHAW17 on social media if you feel it might be able to help others in a similar position, I would really appreciate it!
If you feel like you’re struggling or need someone to talk to, please chat to someone you trust. Alternatively, you can message me at any time or contact one of the organisations below.
www.samaritans.org // 116 123
www.mind.org.uk // 0300 123 3393
www.sane.org.uk // 0300 304 7000
www.supportline.org.uk // 01708 765200
Mental illness can strike anyone at any time. It’s really important that we are able to raise awareness and make sure that we are able to give support to those who might be really struggling. Mental health is super personal to each person and it’s so important to find out what works for YOU through trying different things and speaking to different health professionals.
I tag anyone who would like to give this tag a try and would like to speak out about their own mental health, although some questions can be removed/changed if you don’t want to talk about certain topics.