Wednesday, 10 October 2012

World Mental Health Day

Today marks World Mental Health Day. 
Drowning in Depression
Sinking deeper, stronger,
Into a black hole of despair,
The days are long, nights longer,
I cry out but there's no one there.

My senses numb, no feeling,
You can see through my eyes,
My heart is on my knees screaming,
Would anyone care If I was to die?


This poem is feelings surrounding depression and the despair felt.  I am pleased to say that I do not feel like this anymore. :)

The facts and figures around Mental Health in the UK are alarming.

  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
(stats from the Mental health foundation.)

Chances are then, that sometime in your life you will either have contact with a person, or yourself experience a mental health problem in some degree.  Mental illness sucks.  It cant be patched up, supported with a crutch, given a quick fix or operated on.  Its not visible and is often misunderstood or judged.  People are embarrassed to discuss it, they don't know what to say or how to help.
I first experienced mental illness in my late teens in the form of depression, though at the time I didn't recognise it. I know we all have those 'sad' moments, but this was bigger than that.
I spent most of my time in a dark cloud, feeling trapped and sucked deeper on a daily basis into a life of 'nothingness.' I had intense feelings of loss, isolation, anxiety and fear, some days I felt nothing and wanted nothing........
My anorexia has always gone side by side with depression although I'm not sure which comes first, bit of a chicken and egg situation!  Years ago there was a huge stigma surrounding mental illness, I was embarrassed to discuss it at work for fear of being labelled as 'mad'. The hospital where I was an inpatient was even worse, labelled as a 'mental,' hospital!!  I'm pleased to say things have changed although the process of referral for treatment for a mental illness is still disgraceful. 

As adults we know how we should look after ourselves. Eat a varied, balanced diet, drink sensibly, exercise regularly blah blah.... but how do we look after our mental health?

Talk about your feelings. Talking therapies or sharing your troubles with someone you trust is a positive way forward.

Relax or escape and do something you really enjoy.  Take a walk whilst listening to your ipod, have a bubble bath, write some poetry.  Do something for 'you' to get you away from the moment.

Accept yourself for who you are. We are all different and that's what makes us so damn interesting.
Focus on your positives, write some sticky notes naming all the great things about 'you.'

Ask for help.....
Don't be afraid to speak up. Asking for help is not a weakness, it only shows strength and determination.

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