One thing I want to get very clear is that there is absolutely no shame in asking for help with mental health. If you had a broken arm you’d seek help from a doctor without hesitation so why is that when it comes to our mental health we are far less willing to seek help?
The brain is an organ of the body, like the heart, that’s vulnerable to disease and illness. Mental disorders are among the most common causes of ill health globally, affecting 1 in 4 people. That’s approximately 450 million of us! With so much support out there, why suffer in silence?
When does ‘normal’ become ‘abnormal’?
It is hard to define normal and abnormal mental health as everyone is different and experiences different events in their life that will affect their mental health.
Generally speaking, everyone will get stressed, anxious and experience periods of sadness. These are all normal human emotions. It’s when the way you feel starts to negatively impact on your daily life and prevent you doing the things you love that it’s time you seek help.
- you can’t focus/sleep/eat/socialise
- you’re behaviour has altered for example become aggressive or reckless
- you’re relying on unhealthy habits like drinking to get through the day
…it’s time to get help. Things will get better and remember that no one is judging you.
I’m currently seeing my GP every couple of weeks about my low mood, anxiety and stress levels. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to be pessimistic in regards to myself, I worry over everything and I’m very susceptible to stress.
I have always been this way but in the last 6 months things have changed. My lows have become the norm, my fears are preventing me from leaving the house without panicking/feeling sick and stress is taking its toll on my health.
In the past few months I’ve had shingles, my hair’s been falling out more than usual, my skin is breaking out, my digestive system is a mess and my period has stopped (although tbh I don’t miss the bitch, she was a bloody nightmare).
I knew I need help, but taking that first step is not easy. Maybe it’s the stigma surrounding mental health or my own warped mind but I thought that people wouldn’t take how I felt seriously. After all my parents, especially my dad, are the sort of people who believe you just shrug it off, get over it and get on with it.
Having said that, my poor mum has suffered a lot having me as a child. I’d break down before swimming lessons for no apparent reason, I cried every morning before school because I hated it so much, and she had to rush me to A&E when I stressed myself out so much over A levels that I thought I was having a heart attack.
My mum has always been the person I turn to for comfort or advice but recently I’ve been unfairly relying on her for more and more support; coming to her in floods of tears because I feel so alone or down.
If you’ve never suffered stress/anxiety/depression/low mood it can be hard to understand. This is how it feels to me. It’s like clinging on to the edge of giant hole in the ground, sometimes I think I have a grip and can leave the darkness. Then something happens, my fingers slip and fall uncontrollably into darkness where this heavy sadness engulfs me and takes over.
Acknowledging that I need help before I did something stupid or made myself sick, I made an appointment with my GP. I’ll be honest the first few times I went I broke down (God knows how she understood me through the whaling). Although there was nothing that the doctor could physically do [read: there was no way I going on anti-depressants], having someone outside of my family to talk to helped.
However, a GP is not a therapist and thus I needed to seek help elsewhere. Something I never thought would be so challenging. Waiting lists for any NHS mental health service is 6 months minimum. I don’t feel I can cling on for another month, let alone 6. Imagine those who are far worse, how can they be expected to wait for help?
I considered private help but one session alone is upwards of £50. So this is the rut I am stuck in now. I need help but cannot get access to it.
All I know is that I can’t go through my 20’s isolated in my room, crying at the drop of the hat and stressing over the tiniest of insignificant things.
If you you’ve experienced something similar or can suggest any treatment options let me know.
Thank you for reading x
“Never give up on person with mental illness, when ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’, illness becomes wellness.” ~Shannon L. Alder