LIFE: #MENTALHEALTHAWEARNESSDAY

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I had absolutely no plans to write this post, quite frankly I should be watching Bake Off, but after seeing the hashtag for mental health awareness day doing the rounds on Twitter, I started to tweet. Then I started to think, thinking that this is something which I need to write down while it's in my head. I hope that I can string together what I am thinking to create some sentences that actually make sense.A bit of backstory for you, I started noticing that I was having problems with my mental health when I was in year 10 at school, so I was about 15/16. I was going through a really stressful time with family issues as well as the stress of exams looming, it all got too much way too quickly. I started having panic attacks and noticing that I was feeling really low all of the time and I was just generally not feeling or acting myself. I saw a counsellor at school and continued that while I was at college, then when I turned 18 I was told by a doctor that I had depression and generalised anxiety disorder and I started taking medication alongside the counselling at college. Counselling helped a bit but as soon as I left the counselling room I felt like I was dragged back to square one again, it was like as soon as I stepped out of that door I forgot everything that we had spoken about. While I was in my last year or so at school I also started suffering from my emetophobia quite severely. Emetophobia is a phobia of vomit. I've been scared of throwing up for as long as I can remember, I have a really vivid memory of being about 5 and literally begging my mum to tell me I wasn't going to be sick when I felt sick once. At first, I could live with it, I just didn't like being sick and I probably wouldn't go near you if you'd been sick, but then when I was about 17/18 I started to become obsessed with it. I wouldn't eat certain things, I would wash my hands till they bled, I wouldn't sleep for fear that someone in my house was going to be sick even if they had shown no reason for me to think that. Fast forward to today, I am 22 years old and I am still on medication (I've been on numerous different tablets and different dosages but I've finally found some that I think are helping), I have completed a course of CBT to help with my phobia, and I'm doing okay. I have bad days and good days, but mostly I'm just fine.I used to wish I could be one of those people who were able to help themselves, the kind of people who meditate and practice mindfulness, and that was enough to help them through. It never worked for me though. The most important thing that I have learnt while suffering from anxiety and depression is that everyone deals with their problems differently, in the same way that everyone suffers differently. Personally, I've never found comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in feeling like this, I hate the idea that anyone else has to feel as bad as I do sometimes, I've never found comfort in knowing that things will get better, I've never felt comfort in knowing that I have people I can talk to, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just in the same way that there is nothing wrong if you cope by talking to people, or by having time to yourself, or meditating. I cope by taking 3 tablets per day, one in the morning and two in the evening, and there is nothing wrong with that either.I have also realised the importance of knowing your limits, knowing what you're comfortable doing and what is just too much for you. I'm very scared of socialising, I'm scared I will make everyone hate me or that I will do something wrong, this means that I don't see my friends that often, and that's fine. I used to feel that I should push myself to do things that frighten me, it felt like letting my mental health depict what I can and cannot do was "letting it win". Its okay if something seems overwhelming or if you don't think you are capable of something, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying "nope, I don't feel like I can do this today". Some people thrive off of doing things that frighten them which is great, but I think there is such a huge emphasis on the idea of pushing yourself that it can almost make you feel guilty when you feel something is not in your capability. I see so many people saying "you need to push yourself or you'll never get better", which to an extent I agree with, you need to change to see a change in your life, but if you try something and you're not comfortable with it, its fine for you just try. Learn what you're comfortable with and if you want to work and build on that then excellent, but if you want to stay where you are comfortable and not put yourself through additional stress while you're already struggling, I think that an equally as admirable thing to do.I honestly find it very hard to put into words how important I think it is for people to be honest and open about their mental health, I feel like my mental health has been the centre of my life since I started noticing that it was a problem and it's so hard to put the last 6 years of feeling like shit into words, but as of right now, I feel like I am okay and I mostly have my problems under control. I cannot stress enough how much it is okay to not feel okay, and its okay to find your own way to deal with that. You are not any less of a person for feeling how you do, just like I'm no less of a person.The Samaritans are available 24/7 in the UK to help you through whatever you're going through 116 123.