Today is World Mental Health Day. The day recognises and raises awareness of the many issues and affects of mental health, so as something I care about very much, I wanted to share a little about my experience. I'm often exhausted by the endless emotions my mind entails and so to open up about this for anyone to read is a pretty scary thing. I don't want to go in to detail - there are some things I'm not ready to share, but just know, if you're reading this and suffering with a mental health issue, you're not alone. Right now, there's still a stigma attached to the two six letter words 'mental health' - we need to change this. It's hard, but talking and sharing is the one way to help others do the same.
At 23, my life changed in a way I never thought possible and within moments, ocd, anxiety and panic quickly consumed my life, draining away every ounce of confidence and self belief I had. I questioned what have I done for this to happen, why me and how can I make it stop? This cycle was on repeat, I had no way of switching off. I no longer knew silence, my mind wouldn't allow that. Intrusive thoughts kept my mind questioning what if? I couldn't rationalise the thoughts in my head and I began to question who I was. I didn't see myself as ill, just totally confused and looking back I should have spoken sooner, but learning to deal with a mental health issue is really a process, and that's okay.
The one thing I do know is suffering in silence won't help. Talking about it is going to be difficult, uncomfortable, but it will help and there is always someone there to listen. Although it's hard to remember this on a bad day, I know I am strong and brave and I won't let my issues win. If you're suffering, find your bravery, because it's there, even if you don't feel it. Finally, if you've not experienced a mental health issue, you may not understand, but you can't ignore it. The stats speak for themselves and if we don't act now, by 2030, depression will the leading illness globally.