Mental Health Awareness Week

label cut out papers on the cardboard

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, a week to talk about Mental Health. A time to bring it into everyday conversation and to help to remove the stigma that still hovers over mental health issues. It is also a week to highlight ways to support your own mental health and to help support those who are struggling right now.

I’ve been struggling lately, feeling really low and my anxiety has been through the roof. It’s nothing new, it’s something that I’ve struggled with since I was 16, some times are worse than others. I’ve been trying to be extra kind to myself. TO slow down and take a step back to give myself the space that I need.

I’m also very consciously choosing to do the opposite to what I’ve done before. I’ve always tried to run as fast as I can from my ‘issues’, to keep them buried deep within, and not let them out. It’s not been overly effective, as I can only manage to keep them boxed up for however long before they burst out and I feel awful again.

This time, however, I’m trying to stop running. To sit in this place of discomfort. I’m working with a counsellor. I’m exploring my feelings, and all the trauma that has built up over the years. I’m listening to my inner child, and finding out what it is she needs to heal. I’ve literally spent almost my entire lifetime running and pretending I’m ok, whilst inside feeling like I am dying.

In some funny coincidence, my consultation with the local Mental Health team fell in Mental Health Awareness Week. An appointment I was dreading, as I’m not very good at asking for help or admitting to how I feel. An appointment that highlighted the appalling state of mental health provision in the UK – or rather lack of it. Fifteen minutes on a phone call with someone who barely asked me anything other than if I was suicidal, drinking or on drugs. She ended the call by telling me ‘oh you’re obviously doing ok, you’ve got lots of kids, you’ve just got a lot on your plate’. I came away feeling angry, hopeless, despairing, and utterly let down. There really is very little provision for help unless you are at crisis point.

I’m thankful I already have access to a counsellor through a local charity, as with no support I think that would have been the tipping point. As it is, it’s given me a little determination to try and push through, to take better care of myself, and to work towards finishing my own counselor training so that I can be in a position to help others.

So here I am, reminding myself and others, that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to need to take a step back from life, to make space to work on yourself, to say no, to ask for help and to do whatever is best for you.

Here are a few old posts that might be helpful

5 Inspiring TED Talks For When You’re Feeling Lost And Hopeless

7 Things Help You Survive The Worst Days

My Favourite Eight Self-Care Apps

10 Tweaks I Made To My Life To Overcome Depression And Anxiety

Essential Tips For Self-Care

Little Ways To Help Yourself Heal

7 Ways To Help Yourself Deal With Anxiety

Support Your Mental Health – 5 Simple Steps To Help

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