My Experience With Mental Health

Hello everyone. This topic is something very close to my heart and is hard to open up about but it shouldn’t be. Its 2017 it is time to forget about the stigma around mental health and just talk about these things openly.

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Firstly I want to begin by saying there are many aspects to mental health. Mental health does not just mean depression and anxiety. Mental health is a broad concept where those who are affected by schizophrenia, paranoia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and substance abuse and addiction, all fall under the bracket of mental health.

I personally do struggle with the mental health disorder of anxiety. There have also been times in my life where I have suffered from situational depression and had the other tendencies that tend to come with it. I had self harmed and attempted suicide. Only my parents really knew about it at the time and even at that level I never fully disclosed what was going through my head. I didn’t want to talk about what was going on in my head to anyone, not my family or best friends. I didn’t have the courage to and even thinking about it now brings a lump to my throat. I completely shut myself off from the world and kept telling myself horrible things about myself, filling my head with negative thoughts and they were literally killing me.

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I had become my own worst enemy. I had eventually reached a stage where I needed immediate intervention. I was put on the waiting list for Pieta house in Limerick. The counsellor told my dad that it would be three weeks before I would see anyone. That was not okay. I couldn’t wait three weeks neither could my parents. I knew that my parents would be looking after me closely so I would have a better chance of getting back to normal. But I thought of all the other people in need of Pieta’s services who didn’t have a family like mine or even anyone to support them. They would be waiting that long too or longer and I know that if I didn’t have my parents, I would not have held on for that long.

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I was already on medication for anxiety and I still am. So because of the waiting list I went and saw my GP who increased my dosage to keep me calm. I am not ashamed of being on medication at all because I have tried the alternative of not being on it and I cannot cope it is not a temporary fix, it is a long term way of managing my mental health disorders symptoms. I have also tried natural methods of managing my anxiety and where they may work for most people I really feel like it just didn’t suit me. If they work for you then thats great and well done but it just wasn’t helping me.

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If you’re sick you go to the doctor. The doctor gives you an antibiotic or whatever to make you get better. If you’re seriously ill you go get a few different opinions be it a physiotherapist, oncologist, or any other consultant. But if you’re mentally ill and are prescribed pills by a doctor after being to a psychiatrist, psychologist, and counsellor to get better, people say you’re insane. You’re crazy and they immediately see you differently because they have just realised that there is more going on in your head than what you let on. You wouldn’t tell someone under going radiotherapy as their cancer treatment to stop because “oh thats so bad for you its going to make you really sick” . If they don’t get treatment they will die. This is the same for many people who are prescribed medications to manage their mental health disorders. These medications are prescribed and evaluated by doctors, pharmacists and health care professionals that are trust worthy. Your aunt Nora who watched a compelling Netflix documentary or read an article off of Facebook on how mental health medications are bad and change this and that in your brain, is not trust worthy. In fact your aunt Nora’s unprecedented uneducated advice is intrusive and most unhelpful. Unless you know actual facts and have a degree level of knowledge about medicine and mental health don’t give useless advice, don’t be an aunt Nora. (Disclaimer: sincerest apologies if you are called Nora or have an aunt called Nora 😂)

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Just because you personally might not be affected by mental health issues in any way does not mean you have the right to be ignorant or make jokes about it. You wouldn’t make fun of someone with a terminal illness or disease. (if you do please never speak to me). A girl once said to me laughing and joking that if she were in a certain situation that she would cut her wrists. Don’t be like this girl. To someone who has felt low enough in their life to self harm or try to take their life that way this is a horrendous thing to hear.

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Too many lives have been lost due to mental health disorders so be aware of them, don’t be afraid to talk to people about them. If you or someone you know suffers from a mental health disorder don’t suffer in silence speak out to someone you can trust or a professional there is nothing to be ashamed of. The first step is often the hardest. My advice to you is that as long as you are breathing your life is not worthless keep going better days will come you will not feel the way you do forever. Life is too short to be anything but happy. – Bri xo

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