I struggled with my mental health on my own for years.
I didn’t talk about it.
I thought I was broken.
I didn’t want to worry anyone.
There was nothing anyone could do.
I couldn’t find the words.
The sneaky things about many mental illnesses are that they make you feel isolated and alone in what you are facing. This isn’t true. It’s the illness making you believe it so that it can keep a hold. The moment I started being honest was the moment I started to regain control of my life.
There is no cure, but there is a fix and a way for it to be something in the background rather than the thing that defines you.
I met my partner in mid-2015 and he has been instrumental in helping me to overcome and face many of my demons. Through his support and understanding, I was able to start talking about how I was feeling to my family, my friends and eventually my doctor. Now I am in a place where I am able to talk about it openly here, and on my other platforms, to hopefully help guide others towards a more hopeful future.
Support systems are vital to getting better. You need to identify the people in your life – who are those who will help you? Who are those who will hinder you in your journey to improved mental health?
If you don’t have anyone in your immediate life who can be your support system then make it a task for yourself to find your tribe. Finding your tribe means finding like minded people. That’s not to say people who are necessarily suffering in the same way as you but those with something in common that you can latch on to. Maybe a fan group for a band or a podcast? Maybe a forum for people who do similar work to you? Join a gym class or a book club? Whatever brings you joy is a good place to start, you are likely to find your people there.
If you still struggle then there are always mental health professionals – which is something I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. I started my journey towards positive mental health by being referred by my GP to the NHS SilverCloud service. It is an online service that allows you learn techniques which will help you deal with negative thought patterns and destructive thinking whilst being supported via the telephone by a professional therapist. A great way to seek help, without having to make time in your busy lifestyle – you can complete the classes when it suits you.
I supplemented this by also taking medication, but this isn’t necessary for everyone. You can talk this through with your GP, they might simply refer you for the talking therapy. You can also refer yourself if you’d prefer.
There are also a number of other options for online or remote therapies that could help you, here are a few:
Here you can find an outline of the benefits of online counselling – if you need some more convincing: https://www.thespark.org.uk/online-counselling-benefits/
Mind, a great mental health charity, are also a useful place to find resources to suit your individual needs. Here is a handy link that you could try: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/talking-therapy-and-counselling/how-to-find-a-therapist/
Mental health issues? The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. So many people nowadays suffer from mental health difficulties – from eating disorders, to anxiety, OCD or depression.
The best thing you can do is talk about it, whether it be to your GP or to a friend, family member or someone online.
The first conversation is always the hardest but once you open up, that’s when you can start towards a better future.
If you are looking for a sign, this is it.
Here are some useful links to use if you are struggling and need to talk to someone.
You got this… keep being awesome.
Written by Rebecca Hansell for Small World, Big Cause Blog.
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