This article is going to be a little different from what I usually write. Normally, my pieces are uplifting, full of positivity or activism, written in a moment where I feel wonderful enough and positive enough to imbue my readers with these emotions also. Today, I am anxious. Today, I am depressed. I am in the eye of the storm at the moment, and I wish to tell you about it.
Mental health, as many of us know, is not linear. I am a sucker for a good ‘I’m all better now’ ending to a story. This is not the case. Right now, I am off school, as I woke up with my stomach roiling with nerves, my bones weighed with fatigue, and my head feeling as if it was about to explode. I want to give this perspective on mental health because there is honesty in speaking about something when you are experiencing it. It is all well and good to reminisce, but I wish to make those who are in the middle of their struggle feel less alone. Here, I am in a sort of mental health relapse, that is lasting quite a while. I am experiencing panic attacks nearly every–day, sometimes twice or three times. My teachers at school are learning, gradually, how to help me deal with them. I am so lucky right now to be surrounded by wonderful friends and family who are supporting me through this. Some people are not so lucky. I hold out, however, on the knowledge that I have been here before. I have also not been here before. I have had good times, relaxed times, times where I have felt on top of the world, and times where I have simply felt okay. I do not feel okay today. But, as the age-old saying goes, that is okay also.
Mental health issues are often a double-pronged sword. I am struggling with eating, keeping down meals, and having enough energy to deal with life. Even writing this piece in the present tense sounds strange. I am constantly aware of sounding whiny, ungrateful for the wonderful life I have. But mental illness shrouds all that. The importance of reaching out at the moment is pivotal. To survive, we need to connect. People are here for you now, I can guarantee. People in school who I do not really speak to sat with me through a panic attack only yesterday. If you are honest and open, if you take that plunge to admit at the moment that you are not doing okay, more than likely, in my experience, it pays off. Waiting until it is too late can be fatal.
Today, I am doing badly. Tomorrow, who knows? All I am certain of is how I am feeling right now. And I want you to be certain of that, as well. If you are doing amazingly, fantastic! If you are not, you are allowed to admit that. You are allowed to sit in the sadness for a while and to talk about it at the moment. In writing this, I already feel better, truer to myself already. Try it. Who knows, maybe today will get better if you do.
We want to thank Izzy for sharing such a personal experience with us. We wanted to share some helpful supports available to you here in Ireland:
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.
SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.
BODYWHYS: Online, phone, and group support for eating disorders.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
BELONGTO: Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in Ireland.
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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