Although I’d forgotten by the time the day came around; Thursday 6th February 2014 was officially ‘Time to Talk Day’. To be more precise; it was set as date for people to share and discuss the taboo subject of Mental Health. But as as a good friend of mine said on her own blog that day; it’s not solely about saving and waiting for this one date… Mental Health is a topic that can be discussed on any day and that, really, is the whole point. To get people talking. To continue working towards overcoming the errant stigma and that is why I am writing right now.
Mental Health is not about labelling people – ‘you’re bipolar; I’m schizophrenic…‘
Not one person on this Earth is perfect. We all share similarities but every one of us is unique; each one of us is different, if only in a small or subtle way.
Mental Health is just that – your well-being inside your own mind.
Throughout my entire life, I have suffered from at least one form of anxiety. We are all susceptible of fear. There is always one thing that scares a person but when that fear becomes over-powering and holds you back from doing (or, sometimes, simply enjoying) the things you love most… That is where it becomes important to talk. And I’m not talking about booking yourself in to see a psychiatrist or counsellor. Several forms of therapy are available for those who seek help but it is up to the individual to find a method and process that best suits them.
Speaking directly from personal experience; I’ve been through a course of counselling that lasted several months and, as a fact that may surprise people who know me, this was less than two-years ago. It’s hard to look inside yourself and when you discover you fears it can be a challenge not to turn your head the other way. I left my series of sessions prematurely and without a ‘conclusion’, as such. I was unprepared to dive in at such a depth. Even at that realisation, I’d have been wise to have continued some form of therapy to help ease me back out of the routine. I’d become acclimatised to having someone to talk to frequently; a person who only wanted to listen and to help, without making judgement. Cutting that off so sharply was like going out every day in winter with nothing more than a T-shirt to shelter your torso. I contemplated some awful things.
A few months down the line and I decided to try a different approach. Talking one-to-one didn’t feel like the most comfortable option for me personally but upon reflection, I was able to note the positives from my experience and I felt reassured that I could and maintained an intention to help myself.
That’s when I took the advice of my doctor (who had, previously, prescribed me a dosage of anti-depressants that I deemed ineffective to my state) and he directed me towards something known as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). This system is less one-to-one and more ‘DIY’. It utilises techniques based around the concept of challenging not only your thoughts but also questioning your beliefs – in particular, those that restrain you from living your desired life. This isn’t a service you have to pay for, either. You could buy one of many self-help titles available today and I’ll bet there are blogs and plenty of websites out there with walkthrough guidelines and instruction.
This, along with stepping in to the world of meditation, has allowed me to make several significant changes within my life.
My number of close friends has more than doubled since I began to help myself, which is also a sign that I am finding myself more able to trust others. I am now able to walk in to new and challenging situations with less fear and reservation. I am now less afraid to express aspects of who I am and what I do. If not for raising my hand, I would not be the rambling adventurer as you have come to see on these pages.
It’s important to understand that through trying, we are not seeking the chequered flag of a finish line at the end of a race. We’re making progress, one step at a time. We’re constantly improving ourselves and gradually increasing the rate at which we experience life. With an ending comes expectation and with that, comes the nagging threat of failure. Take a step forward, acknowledge it and congratulate yourself.
I think that’s about all I have to say right now, even though I’m confident I could fill a few novels if I decided to go in to any serious depth. I still live with fear and paranoia in my mind every single day. The difference now is that I no longer allow it to dictate and take control.
Thank you for reading. Now, let’s start a conversation about mental health because the chances are that one in four of you knows the symptoms all too well.