I’d like to give a gentle reminder to everyone that it’s okay to not be okay, and that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help but a sign of strength. Our mental health is as important as our physical health, and we need to look after it just as much.
I spent so long hiding my anxiety and depression because I was embarrassed and I couldn’t imagine telling anybody. I hid it, I suppressed it, I bottled it up. Over time, my own mind became such an overwhelming place to be, and after a long time of debating back and forth in my head and support from an amazing friend, I finally took the plunge and told my parents that I needed help.
It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
At the time, my anxiety had reached the worst it had ever been. I almost always had heart palpitations and I couldn’t even begin to count how many panic attacks I was experiencing. I struggled not to cry whenever I had to leave the house and I had no idea why I was feeling so fragile. Everything just seemed so suffocating and loud and heavy. I was hyper aware of everything around me and my senses were constantly on high alert. My depression wasn’t doing too well either. I couldn’t help myself out of the hole that appeared around me. It was dark and cold and nothing brought me joy. For the Harry Potter fans out there, it felt as though I was wrapped in the arms of a dementor, constantly.
My doctor immediately put me on a waiting list for therapy (which ended up being a complete disaster – none of the clinics that I attended seemed to want to help me. I was referred on and on, around in circles, so I gave up looking for help from the healthcare system, BUT that’s a story for another day). He also prescribed me an antidepressant, and after playing around with different doses and finally finding the one for me, I slowly but surely started to feel normal again. This medication has given me so much breathing space. I do still have my darker moments, but I have so much more control over them, and they don’t frequent my life as often as before. I’ve also become more open with certain people in my life and voice to them when I’m not feeling so good, and it has been incredibly promising to have those people remind me that everything will be okay when I’m not feeling as I should.
Unfortunately, not everybody is as lucky as I to have a wonderful support system, and that’s where we all as humans have a duty to check in on each other. It’s so vitally important to make the effort to ask the people around us how they are. Genuine concern can give someone who’s feeling trapped that sense of warmth and support that they need, and can mean so much. But also, recognise if YOU need help, and don’t be afraid to do something about it. Let’s break the stigma.
Be kind, always. – S.G. x