Today is ‘World Mental Health Day’, and for many of you reading this it may strike a chord on a personal level. It is also very possible that amongst all of the friends and family in your life, you may not think that you know anyone who is affected by this type of illness. One reason for this is down to the fact that many of these demons are an internal battle and many choose to suffer in silence rather than allowing these to be visible to others, for risk of being judged.
How many times have you been asked ‘how are you?’ and your reply has been ‘I’m fine’.
Were you really fine, or were you holding back the tears and smiling through the sadness?
Do you often feel anxious to the point in overwhelms you both physically and mentally? Does Your heart race, your body tremble and you develop a huge sense of fear in social situations?
Have you looked in the mirror day after day and despise the person staring back at you. Do you feel not good enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough? You continually strive for perfection, but no matter how hard you try it always feels out of your reach.
Anxiety, Depression and Eating disorders are just some of the mental health illness’ which can affect any person at any time in their life. These are not gender or age specific, and for some reason as a society we feel these problems are something that shouldn’t be talked about. All of these illness’ are treatable but through lack of understanding and awareness, people and their struggles are going un-noticed.
World Mental Health Day is about raising awareness, challenging the stigma and realising it is OK to not feel OK…it’s time to talk.
At the age of 16, I started to develop disordered eating patterns which consequently led to many years of my life battling both Anorexia and Bulimia. Looking back I can see how this happened and it wasn’t because I was overweight. In fact without realising it, food had become my coping mechanism. It was one part of me which I felt I could control, unlike other areas of my life. Unfortunately with eating disorders, they quickly become out of control, and can destroy both a body and mind. I have had both positive and negative experiences with accessing the required treatment to beat this illness but luckily with a supportive family they ensured I never gave up. I can’t ever imagine not being somewhat critical of myself, but what treatment has taught me is to be able to recognise the un-healthy thought patterns and deal with these before they become destructive.
Where can you go for help?
If you are struggling with any type of mental battle…please don’t be ashamed to ask for help. However much it may feel like it at the time, you are not alone and there are so many people and therapies which can help. Your GP will be able to advise you and point you in the right directed for help and support. There are also many charities and organisations which can be accessed online and by telephone…Remember, you are not alone.
mind.org.uk / 0300 123 3393 / Text 86463 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays)
b-eat.co.uk / 0845 6341414 (1.30pm-4.30pm Monday to Friday, 5.30pm-8.30pm Monday and Wednesday)
samaritans.org / 08457 909090 (Operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
Remember you are much stronger than you think…
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible” Audrey Hepburn