Monday, 8 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week

Hello lovelies
Welcome back to my blog.

As most of you will be aware, you've probably seen it all over social media this week is mental health awareness week.

I myself am currently battling my own mental health demons and I think it's important that we all; whether we suffer from mental illness or not spend time not just this week but every week making people aware of mental illness and also making people aware that being mentally ill is more common than we all think and that having a mental illness isn't something to be ashamed of and is something that we can talk about openly.

It took me a long while to open up about my struggles; I was scared of the stigma attached to it, the discrimination and bullying people who suffer with a mental illness go through. I was scared of admitting there was something wrong with me, I guess because I've always wanted to be someone who is strong, outgoing and who is able to deal with anything on their own. Eventually I did pluck up the courage to speak to the people closest to me and to take myself to my GP and seek out help and i'll be honest it was one of the best things I've ever done.

Mental illness in todays society is spoken about a lot; people are opening up more about their struggles but I still think that we have a long way to go before mental illness is taken as seriously by everyone as it actually is. Mental health is just as important as physical health, there are differences between the two of course; a physical illness can be visible to people around you and to society however a mental illness isn't visible because it's all to do with your brain. You cannot just look at someone and say oh yes they have a mental illness where as you could look at someone with a physical illness and know something isn't right with them. Having said that there are physical signs and symptoms of mental health that people can notice they just don't link the two together.

I suffer with anxiety and depression which has many physical symptoms. Anyone who suffers with these two illnesses will be able to agree with that. For example when i'm having a bad day with my anxiety or if i'm having a panic attack I have many symptoms from, clammy palms, heavy breathing, chest pains and feeling sick, everyone's symptoms differ but they all tend to be similar. Just because we don't have psyhical symptoms constantly it doesn't mean our illness is any less than a physical illness. Mental health is a killer just like many physical illness. Just because we can't see it, it doesn't mean it's not there.

We as a society need to be more accepting and open to starting that conversation. Mental health is a scary thing to talk about but the more we talk about it and the more we become educated on it the easier talking about it will be. Most of the time people who are suffering with a mental health issue they will wait so long to open up about it, or they won't talk about it or seek help at all and we all know one of the ways that can end. Suicide is a huge issue within todays society and is growing. It's becoming one of the most common reasons of death for our society which is a scary thought; the fact that there is help out there but some people are worried about what others think of them if they open up; resulting in many people choosing to take their own lives, it says a lot to me about how far we are yet to come in normalising mental health and becoming a society where it's accepted like any other illness.

There's a huge stigma attached to mental health; and we need to rid that from society and peoples minds. There will always be people who's minds we can't change but the more peoples minds we change the better and more accepting society we will live in. Some people are willing to educate themselves but don't know exactly where to find the information or don't want to educate themselves incorrectly in fear that that will be more harmful than helpful. My advice to anyone who is wanting to find out more about mental health and the issues people with a mental illness face on a day to day basis is to speak to someone who is going through it, first hand accounts are always a lot more educational and understandable than reading lots of medical information online. Not everyone will be willing to open up but it will be easy to find someone who will openly speak to you about their struggles; mental illness is sadly so common these days that you probably know a few people who are going through something and I would assume, rightly or wrongly that at least one of them will be willing to explain to you what their mental illness is and what they go through.

Please, and not just this week; but every week try and start that conversation; or if you know someone who does suffer from a mental health issue reach out to them, let them know you're there and they can come to you when they're having a bad day. It really does help a lot. Just knowing there's one person who you can talk to who isn't a medical professional is a huge weight lifted for all of us who are going through it.

I hope you all have a lovely week.
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