This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I’ve seen lots of people open up on Social Media about their own experiences in the hope that it may help encourage those who are currently suffering to reach out and seek help.
I love this. It’s such a positive thing to do and I try to be open about my own experiences with others as I believe that being honest about depression and anxiety will have a more positive impact than trying to hide it and allowing the stigma that still exists in some people’s mind to win.
I suffered with, first, anxiety and later depression for a long time until eventually it caused an almost complete breakdown of my life. I’ve spent the last couple of years slowly rebuilding and in many ways the experience has made my life better as I have a different perspective on many things now.
I have to be honest. I’ve had (and still have) set backs. Life generally throws up road blocks from time to time and trying to beat depression sometimes feels like taking two steps forward one step back. But there is help out there in lots of forms. Some things will work for you, others will not.
One thing I would say to someone who is suffering from depression right now and doesn’t think it can get better is to try everything suggested to you. Some things won’t make much difference (no one thing works for everyone) but something you try will help, and whilst it will take time, things can improve. Not overnight, but slowly they can get better.
There’a a chance you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t have believed me a couple of years ago. But to be honest if you’re currently suffering you don’t have much to lose from at least trying things.
This of course assumes you have reached out already.
And for a lot of people their mental health issues are made worse because they are dealing with stresses that nobody knows about. I know full well that just saying your problems and worries outloud is hard.
So the other thing I would say is talk to someone. Today, tomorrow – Find someone – anyone – and tell them what is causing the problem.
I eventually turned a corner by complete accident.
In a general chat one day I just suddenly splurted out everything that was causing my stress and anxiety. Once I started speaking it just kept coming and eventually I’d said outloud for the first time all my fears. I didn’t even know the person that well at the time.
It was the catylst for beginning to tackle the things that were causing the stress and drastically improving my mental health.
As I talked they didn’t react with shock or disgust. They listened and then we talked about it. Saying it and not being judged was the starting point that gave me the belief I could fix things and wasn’t a failure
It doesn’t matter who you talk to – a friend, family memeber or stranger. It will help reduce the load and allow you to move forward and start to improve your mental health.
Almost everyone is affected by Mental Health issues in some way at some point so if this week can remind us one thing it is to not be ashamed to speak up and ask for help.
Tomorrow as my own contribution to raise awareness (because it is a fitness blog!) I’m going to share my tips on how exercise and food can help improve your mental health – something that everyone would benefit from.