Hello everybody!! How are you today, I hope you’re having a lovely day. I actually had a bit of a difficult weekend and it’s what inspired me to write this post for you today! It’s also mental health awareness month so every Monday this month I will be posting a blog about my mental health experience. The reason I had such a difficult weekend was because I experienced the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness first hand. I heard things that some people from my uni course, which I’ve taken a year out of, have been saying about why I’m not there right now. The rumours range from ‘she’s just done really badly and wanted an excuse to get out of the year’ to ‘she’s clearly just weird.’ Just to clarify: neither of these are true!! Well I’m maybe a little weird…but weird people are always the best ones! Another thing I heard which astounded me is how people just dismissed my mental illness, comparing my depression to when they ‘have a down day’ or my anxiety to ‘being a bit nervous.’ Trust me, I wish it was just that!!
I have to be honest and say that these things really did upset me, especially because they were said by people I considered friends. Then, the more I thought about it, the less angry I became and realised that actually, they’re only saying this because they don’t understand. And why would they?! If they, or anyone close to them hasn’t been through it you can’t expect them to understand. So today, I’m going to talk to you about my personal experience with mental illness! I saw a few people have done something similar on yooutube/other blogs and I will be using some of those questions but I’m also going to make up a few of my own. I hope this gives you a little glimpse into what it’s like to have a mental illness if you’ve never experienced it or assures you you’re not alone if you have. Let’s get into it!!
- What mental illness do you have? – I have depression, anxiety and OCD. Both the depression and the OCD come from my anxiety, anxiety is like the central one!
- When were you diagnosed? – I was originally diagnosed with depression in April last year, it wasn’t until September when I was diagnosed with Anxiety even though that is the cause of my depression. I actually believe that I’ve probably had it for much longer than this but it was only last April when I felt it really took over my life. I was only diagnosed with OCD in January of this year, the list just keeps getting longer!
- Who knows about it? – Most people I know are aware of it because I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I know some people might find it very difficult to tell lots of people but I just wanted to be upfront with it. Face your demons and all that!
- Do you receive treatment for it? – I take medication every day, 40mg of Citalopram and I see a therapist twice a week. The therapy I do is mainly CBT based, where I kind of try and retrain my brain and thought process. It’s a lot harder than it sounds!
- Has your mental illness stopped you from doing anything? – My mental illness has stopped me from doing lots of things, for example, I’ve had to drop out of uni, I often can’t see my friends and I struggle going out in public. I’m working on changing all of these things though and I’m so excited to be able to do normal stuff like go to the cinema again!
- Is there anything in particular that has helped you? – Definitely the support of my friends and family, they’ve always been and are still incredible. I can’t thank them enough! I think having that support network in place has been invaluable. I also think it helped me to read other blogs and watch youtube videos from other people who have the same illness as me as it made me feel like I wasn’t the only one in the world feeling this and like I wasn’t just being stupid!
- Can you describe what it feels like to have your mental illness? – This is a really tricky question as really, it’s impossible to describe. Whenever someone asks me this though the first thing that always pops into my head is a song by the Beatles called A Day In The Life. This song starts off a little down, keeps you a bit on edge and is a little mellow, which is kind of how I feel all the time. Then all of a sudden it descends into chaos, this reminds me of when I get one thought stuck in my head that won’t go away and escalates into a panic attack. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all but that’s what I always think of! This is a link to the song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usNsCeOV4GM
- What is a common misconception about your mental illness? – The ones I hear most things like: ‘depression is just like having a bit of a bad day’, that ‘anxiety is just like being a bit nervous for a test’ and ‘OCD is just when you like things a bit neat right?’ None of these are true, trust me I wish they were because my life would be a lot easier!
- What do you find the most difficult to deal with? -For me the most difficult bit feeling isolated from your friends, your family, and sometimes even the rest of the world. You have to remember though that you’re not alone in this, lots of people have the same kind of thing and you’ll be able to go out and hang out with your friends and family again soon!
- Do you have anything else you’d like to say? – I would like to say to anyone who has a mental illness, you have nothing to be ashamed of, what you’re thinking is not ‘silly’ or stupid’. That you are not alone, there are always people out there to talk to and you do not have to go through this on your own. That one day this will all be over, you’dd be you again and I hope you get well soon! To anyone who has friends/family members with mental illness the best thing you can do is just be there for them. It will mean the world to them. To anyone who thinks it’s ‘not a real thing’, watch someone have a panic attack and then tell me it’s not real!
So I really hope that you found this post interesting and that maybe it helped you understand a little better what it’s like to live with a mental illness. If you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments below or feel free to email them to me, no question is too silly or too personal! I would like to tag anybody who reads this and has a mental illness, you’re all tagged! If you want to, I would love it if you would answer these questions on your blog! If you do use this tag please let me know so I can give it a read 🙂 It would also be really cool if any of you who doesn’t have a mental illness came up with your own version of this tag where you answered questions about your understanding of mental illness. Thank you so much for reading, as always it means so much to me and I can’t wait to hear your answers!!Lots of love,