I wanted to write a post on a subject that is very close to my heart. Tomorrow, 4th February, is national “Time To Talk” day. The purpose of this and its campaign is to encourage people to talk to about mental health issues; Time to Talk, Time to Change – time to change the misconceptions associated with mental health and encourage people to talk about these issues.
The campaign hopes to get people to open up about mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, which would be such a positive thing in the long run. I’ve no doubt everyone knows someone who has been touched by these issues; they are so common that one in four people are affected by them.
I myself have suffered with anxiety and mild depression. I am certainly past it now and in a much happier and far more positive place, but it took some time to deal with it and I can honestly say I didn’t deal with any of it until I started talking to people about it. I think there is such a stigma with depression and anxiety because it often affects the people you least expect it to. I am a really happy person; very positive, friendly, full of sunshine. When I started to feel low moods and suffering panic attacks, it was so out of the blue. I had no idea how to handle it because I hadn’t seen it coming and I didn’t know who to talk to about it. I have a lovely life, an amazing husband, a cosy home, a loving family, my health, I felt like an idiot cause I couldn’t see a reason for me feeling such negative feelings. So I was too embarrassed to talk about it. I felt like I couldn’t talk to family about it, not even my husband, because I felt they’d want a clear reason for my moods and I didn’t have one; I couldn’t explain it. So I did the stupidest thing you can do in that situation; I bottled it up, acted completely out of character and pushed everyone close to me away. It took months of me suffering, and the anxiety attacks increasing before I finally spoke up about it. And thank god I did. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. My husband was the hardest person to discuss it with because I felt I’d failed him; he gives me everything and I have a wonderful life because of him, but it was also difficult because he is not a hugely emotional guy. He’s practical and logical, and likes a clear reasoning for things. Plus he’d never spoken about such issues before because he’d never had to deal with them – he’d not been close to someone who’d suffered any mental health issues. But together, we got through it and I got much better once I spoke up. But I think one of the most beneficial things about speaking up was the effect it had on my husband, because he had to talk about it. He couldn’t do the typical British thing of stiff upper lip and just carry on, it had to be dealt with, and in turn it educated him and gave him an understanding of a subject that is rarely spoken about.
I also learnt, upon being honest about how I was feeling, was how many of my friends had suffered with these issues. Again, because people don’t talk about it, because of that stigma, there are people suffering with these problems on their own for fear of being honest about it. Since going through these problems, I’ve come to feel passionate about encouraging people to talk about these things. As I said before, often it is the people we least expect who are suffering with these problems and if they have a positive persona then no one would expect them to be suffering anything negative. It’s so important that the stigma associated with mental health is broken down.
By joining together on one day, we can break the silence that often surrounds mental health, and show that talking about this once-taboo issue doesn’t need to be difficult. One small step in the right direction really can make all the difference and opens the door to dealing with problems.
This is one of my most favourite quotes:
I feel like it represents any fear you have but encourages you to take the chance because it can lead to something so positive. So be fearless, speak up and lets stop the stigma and judgement that surrounds mental health issues.
For more info on this fantastic cause please visit: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday-about and follow their Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/TimetoChange. You can also show support on the 4th February on the Twitter page and use the following suggested Tweets to get the subject treading and raising awareness: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday-online
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this post. Lets work together to make a difference. xx