I’ll be honest, I’ve written, deleted, and rewritten this article about 5 times now and I still don’t quite know what to say. I don’t know what to tell you, a stranger on the internet who kindly clicked on this article, other than I’m struggling right now and I have been for a while.
I’ll preface this by saying that I am a hypocrite. It’s only taken 17 years but I’ve accepted it. I’m a hypocrite because I advocate for better mental health services, I promote campaigns that encourage people to reach out, I get involved in projects that are trying to break the stigma around mental health. But do I take any of my own advice? No.
I couldn’t tell you why. It’s probably because it’s easier to keep things bottled up – for me, putting something into words makes it real and that’s scary. I tell myself I can manage this overwhelming darkness by myself (spoiler alert, I can’t) purely out of fear of that same darkness enveloping my friends, family, or, prepare yourself, a medical professional who is trained to deal with mental illness.
And yes, I know it’s stupid. I know it’s irrational. I know that if one of my friends were dealing with what I’m feeling, I’d want them to tell me. But it’s really hard. I am trying though. I kept things to myself for far longer than I should have but I am proud to say that I did reach out a few months back and I’ve been trying to sort it out.
The longer it goes on, however, the more I realise that mental illness isn’t something that you can “sort out“. Unfortunately, there’s no magic potion that makes us better overnight. Recovery is a process, sometimes a long and difficult one, but it is worth it.
Something I’ve come to understand is that mental health is far more than a state, it’s a spectrum. I’ve been all over it, as many people have, and it’s perfectly normal to do so. We shouldn’t feel guilty about struggling, or for seeking help.
Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done, and when you’re in a bad place, it’s just more of those words that look nice on paper telling you “get some air“, “sleep some more“, “eat properly” or “drink water today“. But if you take one thing from this article, please let it be this: you are deserving of love, support, and care. From yourself and from those around you. It’s hard to take the first step to reach out, but there are people here to help you through it. You have been so strong to keep going this far, and I hope you’re proud of yourself for that. The fact that you’re here, now, reading this article tells me that you have the strength to keep going. Things get better and you aren’t alone.
Lots of love,
Remember, the most amazing, compassionate, successful, and inspiring people we know are those who faced challenges, and managed to overcome them.
Hang in there, it will pass x
SPUN OUT: This is a one-stop-shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter of fact, helpful and all bases are covered.
TACKLE BULLYING: Lots of resources for kids, parents, and teachers on dealing with bullying.
SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
AWARE: Providing support and assistance to that section of society whose lives are affected by depression, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression, or suicidal thoughts.
TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad, or lonely.
YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.
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