Opening up about mental health

Recently, you might have noticed that my Instagram captions are getting longer and I'm being more open about my experiences of anxiety, panic attacks and chronic illness. I've received so many wonderful comments and messages of support from old friends, new friends, and people I don't know! So firstly - thank you to all of those lovely people!

Over the past year especially, it seems like we've taken such huge strides forward in talking about mental health and I think it's so important to be a part of that discussion. There's some things that I'm not comfortable with sharing on social media, and that's okay, but I'll always do my best to be open and honest when I feel able to. I think it's really important that we share our experiences to remove the stigma of mental health problems and all support one another. 

The first time I truly spoke to someone about my mental wellbeing was shortly after my M.E and Fibromyalgia diagnosis. I remember the conservation well - I was sitting across from my Doctor (a wonderfully supportive man, who I don't think I'd have coped without) and I told him I was feeling low. It wasn't the sort of low that I had felt when I was thirteen and I'd cried for days because the guy I liked didn't like me back. It wasn't the sort of low that I'd felt when someone close to me had died. I couldn't describe it.. 

I think I’m... depressed

I'd practically whispered the words, hoping that if I said them quietly enough we could just forget they'd exited my mouth. I held my breath as I waited for his response. But the words he said weren't what I'd expected:

Of course you’re depressed. You’re living in constant pain. Who wouldn’t be depressed?

Suddenly, it clicked. Of course! Why was I thinking of my mental health as some monster that had to be hidden away? I wasn't scared of telling people that I had a chronic illness - why was I so scared of saying that I might be depressed?

In that moment, I made a promise to myself: I will treat any mental health problems I face the same as I'd treat any physical illness. If you broke your leg, you wouldn't run around without a cast on - you'd seek help... and so, I did. Over the past six years, I've struggled with my mental health for various reasons and every time that I needed it - I've got help. I'm definitely going to try to blog more about all aspects of my wellbeing, including my mental health, but let me just say one last thing:

If you're suffering from any mental health problems, please remember that analogy. Look after yourself. Give your mental health the same care and attention you do your physical health.

If anyone has been affected by anything I've discussed in this post, please seek the appropriate help - click here if you're in the UK to see a great list of helplines. Otherwise, my messages are always open.