1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness each year.
I’m so sick and tired of the stigma surrounding mental health. All of this rubbish about the stigma ending is such a pile of poop. It hasn’t ended at all. People still think mental illness is a sign of weakness.
I’m really struggling with my mental health at the moment and I’m really embarrassed by it. It’s so hard to ask for help or to tell people how bad I feel, which adds to the isolation I already feel. The fact that I can’t just pop to the local supermarket, I can’t pop round a friends for a coffee and, right now, my entire family, along with my best friends are on holiday whilst I’m at home.
The Attitude Of Others
A huge contributing factor to the stigma is the thoughtless shite that comes out of the mouths of some people.
Recently, someone told me instead of having my assistance dog with me, I should use a teddy bear that speaks to reassure me and leave my specially trained dog at home. I was really hurt by this. This person wasn’t kidding either, nor was she intentionally being mean. Some people recommend sufferers of anxiety just “don’t think about it”. Just come out for a little while, said to a sufferer of agoraphobia.
Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate
There is no specific type of person that’s more susceptible to mental illness. It doesn’t discriminate. Suffers past and present include Abraham Lincoln, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Thompson, Demi Lovato, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Nicole Kidman, Winston Churchill and Robin Williams. Highly intelligent and successful people. We don’t see these people as weak, so why do I feel like such an idiot for suffering?
It makes me feel really cross when I hear people say suicide is the cowards way out. I strongly disagree. To actually make that decision and act upon it must be the most difficult decision that person ever makes. Living with mental illness is really bloody hard. The daily battle with your own mind. Not feeling comfortable in your own skin on a day to day basis is horrific. I understand why people make that decision to end their suffering. Unless you’ve walked in their shoes, save your judgement.
I withdrew with medication back in May. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. They were clouding my mind too much, I had words missing from my vocabulary, I was struggling to string together a coherent sentence. I felt like it was time to stop them and see what my normal is. I didn’t just wake-up one day and chuck my pills in the bin. It was done very slowly over the course of almost a year and under the supervision of my psychiatrist. I was on pregabalin and sertraline. I’ve heard these medicines work really well for some people, but I never really felt they were for me.
Since being medication free, my thoughts have been much clearer and I feel like I have more of a grasp on my thoughts. The downside is that I’ve been really struggling with depression (which isn’t something that’s affected me for many years) along with a variety of other negative side effects. It’s been a total rollercoaster but I was really happy to be free from medication. I genuinely think natural remedies and good nutrition can work wonders for your health.
People often refer to this rock bottom place. I hit that today and I hit it hard. I’ve had to throw my medication free success out of the window tonight. I’m pretty gutted but it’s had to be. People talk about losing the will to live. I felt that quite literally today.
Whilst I’m typing this I’m on 5mg of diazepam which enables me to have a brief respite from the anxiety I’ve been feeling all day. I am taking this every four hours, clock watching until the next dose is due. Following several calls to the emergency mental health team and my local GP, I’ve decided that being medication free is too dangerous for me right now. I’ve just taken 10mg of citalopram and that is that. Part of me feels like a massive failure but also I understand it’s what I need right now.
I genuinely think this is rock bottom. I also believe I will get better from this. My plan is to document my journey in the hope it will help others that are also suffering.
If you need help, you’re not alone. Mind is a brilliant charity for people with mental health struggles. You can find their contact details on their website.
The best advice, in my opinion, is to talk about it. I’m blessed with amazingly supportive friends, but even in my darkest hour, I couldn’t tell them about it, which is frustrating. When I did tell them, they were fantastic and knowing they are there if I need them in invaluable. Also, my Mum is amazing – I’m extremely lucky to have her (she’s actually staying with me whilst my family are away, being my medication keeper and making sure I’m safe).
We need to BREAK THE SILENCE! If we all talked about our mental health struggles, we’d feel less alone and they’d be less of a stigma for those of us that do struggle. It’s so common.
So please, talk, talk, talk, talk and talk. Talk until you’re blue in the face. Get it all out there.
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