Mental Health issues are something we will all deal with at some point in our lives, whether that be with ourselves, a co-worker, a family member or a friend.
There will not be a magic cure, our mental health issues are something we need to nurture and care for on an ongoing basis.
Many people take supplements and vitamins, they eat healthily and exercise in order to keep physically fit. We need to be doing this for our minds.
I know that this is not an easy fix and there is no easy fix, there isn’t a simple solution, there is no cure.
I suffer from social anxiety, PTSD, depression and mild OCD. I am fully aware that I probably always will, and it might not always be apparent. For instance when I stand up and talk in front of people or when I perform on stage, these things do terrify me but pushing myself out of my comfort zone helps me overcome my anxieties.
My symptoms will regularly fade and they will lay dormant, waiting until I least expect it. Each time it rears its ugly head I know I am stronger from how I dealt with it the last time. And it’s important to remember that you’ve made it through each day and each panic attack so far.
My anxiety, depression and PTSD have been the results of events in my life that most people won’t experience, or at least I hope most people won’t experience.
These weren’t what I would refer to as regular life experiences, such as job losses, money worries, grief. Not that those things aren’t awful to deal with but we will all experience at least one of these things in our lives.
I didn’t know how to deal with the abuse and experiences that I suffered. There were episodes of abuse and trauma in my life from the age of 16 up until I was 26/27, so a good ten years, on and off.
I went through believing that I deserved it, to being outrageously angry and thinking it would be better if I wasn’t here. I didn’t contemplate suicide, I just wished I’d never been born.
And that is quite a harrowing thing to write, especially when my Mum and Dad can read this. But it, of course, has no bearing on them, I just didn’t know how to deal with things in a healthy way.
The good news is that I’ve not felt that way since and I plan to never feel that way again.
In order to rid my brain of the past, I had to talk about the past. I know this is hard for many people and some are adamant that it is pointless but I had got to a point where I couldn’t leave the house due to my anxiety.
On more than one occasion I was trapped in my porch because I could not physically walk out of the door and I couldn’t go back in the house because I was worried about what my boyfriend might think. Which is utterly ridiculous because he’s amazingly supportive, but our brains can be our own worst enemies when they’re broken and there’s no escape from them.
I pushed myself to visit a therapist and it just so happened that I found one I felt comfortable with. She helped me with the first initial steps towards clearing out my mind. And it felt wonderful, however, once I had unloaded the build-up of stuff in my head, therapy was no longer necessary for me.
I now had to focus on ways in which I could keep a positive mindset so my brain would remain in the thought process of these past events not being my fault.
I have found solace in meditation, yoga and being true to myself.
Finding something that has worked for me has been a lengthy process and has consisted of trial and error with anti-depressants, life coaching, assessment of my life overall and an immense amount of crying.
Stress and trauma are inevitable in our lives no matter how ‘fit’ our brains are. The key is to learn how to deal with the effects in a way that is useful for you. There is no definitive answer for how we should be treating mental health issues.
If you need to take prescription medication to deal with life then that’s okay, whether it’s a long term or short term solution.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to how we individually deal with our own mental health, I can only tell you what has and hasn’t worked for me.
We are only in the very early stages of beginning to understand the numerous ways in which it affects us and the different levels of its effects.
Talking about our mental health and sharing our experiences will help others to open up too and will work towards raising awareness.
With the support of people around us and those who have been to the same depths of hell as you and made it back again, we can rebuild our broken brains and not just paper over the cracks hoping they will go away, we can create more positive mindsets and make it easier and less scary to take those first steps in speaking out without being afraid of what other people might think.
Anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, bi-polar and any other mental health disorders are not things to be ashamed of, they are just the result of your brain being in desperate need of some help.
And although we may never be completely free of their vice-like grip, we can learn to loosen it and make life with a mental health disorder just that little bit easier.
‘Growth is not concerned with itself.’ – Meridel Le Sueur