February 1st marks #TimetoTalk, a campaign by the mental health charity Mind.
Aimed at getting the UK talking about mental health it has inspired me to open up about my own personal experiences.
As I’ve discussed on this blog previously, I’m a massive advocate of trying to break the stigma’s held around our mental health and wellbeing. I’ve helped to crowdfund a mental health magazine, Anxy, and taken part in many fitness challenges to help raise money for related charities.
These activities and my blog, have been the ways in which I feel I can help others.
The reason I do this is because throughout my life I have been surrounded by those struggling with their mental health.
My Mother has suffered almost her entire life with depression, and even attempted to take her own life when I was fourteen because she felt she just could not go on any longer.
And currently, my brother is suffering with a dark depression he cannot shake no matter what he does.
These are people in my daily life who I adore. Despite their difficulties, they are my support and my cheerleaders in life, and I wouldn’t know what to do without them.
To see them go through such struggles is heartbreaking, and I do all that I know how to ensure they remain positive, strong and I suppose most selfishly, here.
Just meeting them for a cup of tea is one way I make sure they know I’m here for them. Whether they want someone to talk to or just to simply be there.
As someone who has been a support for others, it can be really heard to know what to say and what to do. Mental illness effects us all in such a personal and individual way that you can sometimes feel stuck as to how you can help.
The truth is, the biggest thing to help is talking. And that’s not just talking to those suffering, but even as a carer, talking to other people about what you’re going through and how you feel, because there are many people out there who can relate to your situation or even offer advice.
I remember opening up to a friend about what happened with my Mum and he had the exact same situation with his Dad, but unfortunately his Dad didn’t make it. Opening up like that was so refreshing, and felt like I had found someone who knew about all those feelings and thoughts that get all muddled up in your head.
Even now, I’m going through what I call a ‘grey phase’ due to unemployment, but thanks to friends and other people who are going through the same thing I don’t feel so alone or hopeless.
Talking may feel hard at first, whether you’re sufferer or a carer, but it can be a lifeline.
Whatever you’re going through, please find someone you feel you can talk to on this day, and start a conversation that could save your life.