The issue that has consumed my time and energy significantly during my life and for my family has been mental health. Mental health matters and mental illness have been a continuous theme, and I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually choose to work in the sector. The 10th October was only ever important to me because it is my birthday, so I find it is one of life’s tragic ironies that this date is designated World Mental Health Day.
For most of my life I have experienced the heartache and pain that mental illness can bring as close family members have struggled with their symptoms. During times of extreme stress, I have experienced my own difficulties, depression and anxiety, which I have thankfully overcome without requiring psychiatric intervention. I suppose I am one of the more fortunate ones, strong enough to get back up again when I fall – one of life’s survivors. Many are not so fortunate, fall and break and never recover, never find their feet in the world again or succumb to their symptoms rather than face a life of continuous mental torture. Sadly, for some people suicide is the only solution that they can identify for themselves when stuck in the pit of deep despair.
Amidst my upbeat posts on social media is a message that I am trying to get across to anyone who is suffering. That message is simply that life is worth living if you can manage to keep going, to trust that things may improve, though nobody can promise you that, let’s be real. But maybe, just maybe, things will improve, you may start to feel a little better and that process may gain momentum. Oh yes, there will be ups and downs, but what if you find that you can cope just a little bit better with the low times than before? Perhaps you might be feeling just a little bit stronger within yourself; a little bit more centred, more grounded, calmer and what bothered you so much before doesn’t quite shake you off balance anymore. And it is these tiny steps that matter – these small, almost insignificant steps forward that eventually add up and become compounded to make all the difference. So, if there’s just one thing I want anyone who is suffering from a mental health problem to do now it is NOT to lose hope. More than that, try with love and compassion for yourself, to allow a space in your heart for hope to reside. Make a home for it and cherish it like a beautiful, precious flower. Allow it to blossom and bloom and one day you may find yourself free of those unpleasant symptoms that plague your life or at least more able to mange them and find pleasure again in being alive. So be hopeful and cherish that feeling, believe in yourself and your body and mind’s potential for healing and never give up on yourself.
If you or someone you know is suffering from acute mental health symptoms, such as psychosis or suicidal thoughts, seek medical help urgently. Contact your GP or your local community mental health service.
I help people who are suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of a wide range of emotional and mental health conditions. I have chosen to specialise in the treatment of stress, anxiety and associated conditions including low mood because that is something I know a great deal about.
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