Asking for help or reaching out to people can seem so daunting. I admit it was the hardest thing for me to do. I have touched on this in a previous post, it was a friend who came to me with NHS print outs for depression and bipolar. She had been worried about me for a while previous to that but anytime anyone broached the subject with me I just shut down and continued to spiral in my behaviours which including partying ALOT and drinking.
I soon came to realise that in the back of my mind I had been pushing out how I had really been feeling for years. I often felt I could deal with it on my own. I didn’t want to really admit it out loud how much I was suffering, but if I didn’t get the help I needed I would loose those around me due to my behaviours.
This post has came as a request from someone who has been following my journey so I hope I can help and you can take from this what I wish I was told.
Firstly I would like to say do not ever be ashamed of having struggles or feeling down, suicidal or manic. Do not feel inadequate to others because really we all have mental health, we just all deal with it all differently. Even celebrities have started speaking out which is amazing, to help set the tone that it is okay not to be okay.
Secondly talking is the best thing you can do. I feel hypocritical saying that as it took me a while to talk but once I started I didn’t stop. I have written a list on self help and recommendations and that is what has helped me. It has been apps, certain social media pages, different people. what ever tools you feel most comfortable using, you go ahead and use them. You can find these at the top of the home screen.
No one is judging you. Mostly we are our own worst enemies and feel the world is judging us or we are not where we want to be in life. Stop and breathe, Meditation comes in handy when our thoughts become a little consumed. We don’t have a timeline in life that things need to be done by a certain age or in a certain order. You don’t need to be married before having children. You don’t need to have a mortgage. You can travel at any age. I feel as I have gotten older is has been easier to fall into that mind frame of a timeline. All my friends have children. I don’t. Some friends have a career. I don’t. I have done many times felt caught up in the world of illusions that to fit in we all need to be on the same path in life.
I have always liked to do things at my own pace and make sure my happiness comes before anything. If someone or something doesn’t fill me with that then I can easily remove it, because I am in control of my own life and so should you be. Start by removing the people around you who bring negativity. Remove those who don’t celebrate your achievements. Remove those who don’t support you on down days and only on good days want to be around you. This can be friends and family. Trust me once you start doing this you will feel so much better. You get to choose who you surround yourself with.
If you are in a relationship and don’t feel they support you, it is okay to confront these situations and speak openly about them. Make sure your partner respects you above all. We can sometimes get stuck in a routine and tend to stay with people for the wrong reasons. This can drag you down and because we spend so much of our life with our other half it is important we communicate to each other. It is important that, that person is our biggest fan. Don’t stay together just because you have bills to pay, or children together. You will be more respected by having the courage to take back control of your life and living it how you feel is right. You can still co parent together without feeling you need to pretend to be happy together.
I have been in these relationships before where I knew it wasn’t right but had a flat together and bills to pay. I got to the darkest place of my life and was so unsupported that we lost the friendship as well as he relationship and in the end I knew my happiness needed to come first, I am the type of person who will physically check out before mentally admitting it. It was a lesson learnt. Once I walked away from that relationship I realised how unhappy it had really made me feel. How much I had given up for it to work. I lost myself along the way. Don’t let a relationship consume your mental health just because your friends are all dating. Take things at your own pace. Make sure they respect you. That they have the qualities you are looking for and don’t settle for anything less because you feel lonely. Trust me you will be more lonelier in that relationship than out of it.
Keep a track of how your feeling. I use various apps daily and have reminders set to log them. This helps me when I do see professionals and they ask how I have been. Instead of saying fine I get my app out and talk through how things really have been going. It helps me track any patterns in behaviours and any triggers that could set me off. It helps me illuminate those triggers.
Nutrition is a huge thing for mental health and dealing with it. Some eat less some eat more. Some foods can make you feel worse than better even though that tub of Ben and Jerry’s tastes great at the time. Be mindful about what you eat. It can cause weight gain or weight lose which in my experience contributes to my mental health.
Don’t be put off by medication. I know there is so much fucking stigma around this but I would put my middle finger up to those critical people. If you can manage without medication then that is absolutely fantastic, but if you need medication then I am also proud of YOU! I have been medicated and non medicated throughout my journey. I am currently unmediated by choice, not that my mental health nurse likes this idea, I think more so because I done this on my own accord. I flushed the meds down the toilet without being weened professionally and this is something I would not recommend doing. ALWAYS follow the professionals advice because you can become very sick. Physically and mentally. Thankfully I got through this on my own and feel in a great place. Not saying I don’t have bad days I do, I spent last week in bed for days on off crying and couldn’t pull myself out of it. But trust in the process things do not happen overnight and that goes for medication working to. I have wrote more in depth about how medication on another post so won’t bore you again.
There are so many differently professionals out there so if you don’t bond well with one there is loads more. For me it has always been massively important for to build a trusting working relationship with the health professionals. I have had loads who have spoke down to me and treated me in such a demoralising way, but there is a fit for us all so if one doesn’t work do not be afraid to say. Again this is part of taking control of your own life and health plan. I always found a GP are quick at throwing medication at you and not discussing how you feel. So if mental health is something you need help with your doctor surgery should have a mental health nurse. Mine has changed my life, I mean we didn’t get off to the easiest of starts but I trust her and work well together. She gives me plenty time each time I see her and I am never rushed like a doctors appointment. She talks through medications and side effects. She makes referrals to other services that I might find useful. She talks to me about nutrition and the importance of it along with sleeping. So please do ask for one should you need it. If your surgery doesn’t have one then they can bring one in for you.
I have highlighted certain words in bold. The reason for this is I find these words the most important throughout this whole blog so please take these into account. I am open to suggestions for future posts and you can always email me them at firstname.lastname@example.org