The past couple of days I have been feeling a little grotty so I thought I would write a blog that is a bit more upbeat. Since I started sharing my experiences of my battles with depression and anxiety through videos and blogs I have received great feedback. I have been lucky enough to gain the trust of strangers to talk to me about their own battles. I feel honoured knowing that there are people out there who feel safe in confiding in me. Talking about mental health issues can be damn hard and no one should underestimate the courage it can take to speak out as the stigma is still strong. People fear the stigma and fear being judged. Being labelled as weird or crazy is also a huge fear. No one wants to be seen as a freak or as someone who is losing their mind. The fear of rejection and being alone can be overwhelming. For some, their illness is so deep they can feel as though they are to damaged to be helped or worthy of love. Let me assure you that you are not worthless, you are not a freak, you are not losing your mind. You are important, you are loved, you matter, and you are not alone. The fact that you keep going shows how strong you are. Your strength is amazing and you are awesome. Most of all you deserve to be loved, you deserve to be listened to and you deserve to be happy. A lot of people go undiagnosed for years so they can believe that the only thing about them is depression. Its easy to believe you feel alone with your thoughts and feelings because for so long you have tried to cope on your own. You would be surprised to learn just how many people out there have similar thoughts , fears and feelings to you. For some reading the stories of others can be the step you need to ask for help because knowing you are not alone can give you strength. sometimes a little reassurance is all it takes.
I often get asked if I have any tips to help get by. People suffer from a variety of mental health issues for a huge variety of reasons so the tips I give may help some but wont work for everyone. I wish I could help everyone and I wish I could take away the pain but I cant. all I can do is lend a shoulder and tell my story. I can give tips of what works for me and could work for you. I see a lot of ridiculous quotes on facebook on how happiness is a choice or antidepressants don’t work and other ridiculous quotes in fancy writing and for some reason if its on facebook then for some it must be true. These ridiculous quotes get shared as words of wisdom and them people go right back to being to scared to talk about it. Never feel ashamed of your illness. and never feel ashamed of yourself. Your illness is not your fault so if you need to take antidepressants then take them. No one has to know anything you don’t want them to. If you feel suicidal then talk about it and remember you are not alone. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised at just how many people understand. if you need to scream then do it. If you want to write how you are feeling then do it, no one else has to read it unless you want them to. Keep telling yourself you matter. tell yourself that your thoughts and feelings count.
At Christmas I got a pair of pjs in a bag. In the bag is two pens and lots of scrap paper. If something makes me laugh I write it on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in the pj bag. If something has made me happy, feel good or smile again, I write it on a piece of paper and put it in the pj bag. When I feel bad I can read those pieces of paper to help me feel better. You can write about anything you like. At the end of the year I can read them all with my daughter with a glass of wine and laugh. I also love lavender so at night I have my laveneder candles, pillow spray and temple balm. The smell calms me as its great for anxiety and insomnia. The colour soothes me to so I surround myself with smells and colours I love. I also write this blog and for me its great therapy. Its through my blogs and videos that I have gained strength and acceptance from others because we all want to be accepted and loved. Do what ever makes you feel better. If you need to see a doctor then do. Never be afraid to ask for help. Remember that the severity of each persons illness differs from person to person so never compare yourself to others because, it may look like others are able to do more or cope better but it isn’t always true. Another thing I do at bed time to help me sleep is make lists in my head. May sound daft but for me it works. I think about all the places in the world I would love to visit so I make a mental list in my head to soothe and calm me. Its also great for keeping away those awful intrusive thoughts. I make all sorts of lists that help me sleep. Like I said these tips work for me, not all the time but they can work. All any of us can do is cope the best way we can. We need to end the stigma and help each other.
You matter. You are important. You are loved.