It's mental health awareness week so I just thought I's share a little something...
People are often scared to talk about mental health. They think it's something the crazy people of this world suffer from, so they avoid talking about what they're experiencing because they think theres something wrong with them, and that people will think they're mad. They bury their heads in the sand, and often don't seek the help that can get them back in control of their lives again. But look at the figures...350 million people across the world suffer from depression...Thats not just the occasional crazy person, it's a massive amount of normal everyday people. People who, I believe should share their experiences with each other to reduce the isolation that often occurs with mental health problems.
Before I suffered with depression, I have to say, I was pretty ignorant. I didn't think I knew anyone with depression, and if anything, I guess I just thought that there were a lot of people in the world who felt miserable and a bit sorry for themselves. While I still think there is some truth in this, I now realise, that on the most part, people are stuck in a pattern of feeling down or miserable a lot of the time, because they've perhaps not realised, or have not been offered the support to show them that they don't have to feel that way.
In the past 3 years, since I first experienced depression, I've become aware of a huge number of my friends, family and colleagues who have experienced some sort of 'mental health problem'. Generally, these people are now some of the happiest and most upbeat people I know, because they are the ones that have sought help, and are taking steps to take care of themselves. That doesn't mean that they don't have difficult times, but they are the ones who do something about the hard times. This is certainly the case for me.
Although, I could be described as someone who had 'battled' with my mental health for the last few years, and have been on and off of anti-depressants. For me, I can honestly say I have been happier and more in control of my life, than I ever was before. I am truly grateful for the experiences that I've had, because it has taught me how to look after myself mentally.
These days, we are bombarded with messages about taking care of your heart, eating well, losing weight, and so many other messages about health prevention. But I rarely seem to come across advice about looking after your head. To me, this is a great shame, because I honestly think, that in learning how to reduce stress, and improve your mood, you can take control of all those other things in life.
And so, FINALLY I come to my last point. I hope that by reading this, you can see that we all experience mental difficulties from time to time, whether its stress, low mood, feeling helpless, or merely not quite achieving the things we know that we can. I urge to you become conscious of your mental state. Pay attention to how you are feeling day to day, and invest some time to learn how to influence your mind and feelings.