IT'S OKAY TO GET HELP | MENTAL HEALTH

Friday, 8 January 2016


A lot people in the bloggersphere at the moment, suffer with some kind of mental health disorder, whether it be anxiety, depression, or something other. In fact, a lot of people in our generation, studies have shown, suffer with such disorders because of the changing/evolution of our environment, in comparison to that of our parents and grandparents. I'm one of these people, and as such, I know there is a huge stigma around the whole topic, and I think it's important that we all come together to try and end that. That's why one of the organisations I'll be featuring today is Time To Change because it's fantastic and we should all get involved. Mostly today though, I'm going to be looking at the difference between help and support, how to get help, what it entails, and why it's okay to get it. 



HELP VS. SUPPORT

The first thing I want to talk about is help vs. support and how I define them. Support is Whatsapping your best girlfriend in capitals and crying emojis. Support is your partner coming round with chocolates and flowers to give you a back rub. Support is cuddling your mum and crying into her shoulder whilst she tells you you're amazing and beautiful. Support is lovely, support is necessary, support is something we're all incredibly grateful for - but it's not helping us in the long run. 

I think a lot of sufferers of mental health problems (me, previously being one of them) are all too eager to carry on as they are with support from family and friends to get them by, rather than get help. It took me a long time to say, "okay, I have a problem" and go to the doctors about it, because I just thought I'd feel better if I had everyone in my life holding me up. But that's not how it should be. You need a balance. Getting professional help is scary - that's why we put it off. That's why we're complacent with cuddles. But it's the only thing that is going to help us get better, rather than cope and manage. It's the stigma around it, partly, that puts us off going to the doctors - we don't want to be seen like that. But that's why it needs to end, because really, there's literally nothing wrong with admitting you need help and getting it. It's actually quite empowering, if you change the way you think about it.

DEPRESSION 

Getting help for depression is something I've struggled with. It runs in my family (it can be hereditary) and I've had it off and on since I was about 13. I've struggled with self harming and suicidal thoughts, and went on antidepressants for the first time last year. It was really scary going to my GP - partly because of my anxiety, but also because I just feel a bit funny going to see a stranger and being like "hey, I think I'm depressed!", but once I got in it was really fine. Luckily, my GP was lovely - he asked me a few questions about my life, how I was feeling, if I had any other symptoms like not sleeping well. I also had to get a blood test the first time to make sure it wasn't just a deficiency. My blood test came back clear, and I got prescribed some antidepressants. It was all really, really easy. I did experience some side effects in the first week or so, but they subsided after that and I felt loads happier in quite a short space of time. It was great. I was literally like "why didn't I do this months ago?!" the whole time. I came off them a few months later as it was getting into summer (I didn't know then that I actually have SAD as well) and had a great couple of months. Recently though, I've been feeling really down again and it got a bit out of hand, so at the beginning of this week I went back to my GP and straight up said that I needed to go back on antidepressants. And now I'm back on them, and excited to start feeling better than ever. It's really that easy.

I should say that sometimes, you won't find the right antidepressant/dosage first time. If you're not feeling better, go back, get another one, maybe a different dosage, and try that. It's hard, but worth it. Also, some local GPs can be a bit iffy when it comes to mental health. Try not to let them discourage you - they can be a little obnoxious about the whole thing. If it comes to it, go back and try another doctor. Someone in your local surgery will be able to understand and sympathise with you if you need the help. 

ANXIETY 

My anxiety isn't very bad anymore at all - I think this is something you can actually help yourself with, if you just start doing more things, and forcing yourself to step outside the box. I still get a bit nervous on the phone (okay I go out of my way to never call people), and when I'm doing something for the first time. But for the most part, I manage and control it by just telling myself I've got to do it, and I'm way better than I was a few years back. But if that's not an option for you, you can get professional help. I've had friends who have gone to their GP about it. You can get anti anxiety medication, but that doesn't fix the problem as well as antidepressants work with depression, in my opinion. The best treatment for anxiety is usually CBT - cognitive behavioural therapy. A lot of people are put off by the word 'therapy', but there's no shame in it. Really. If you needed physiotherapy to walk again, you wouldn't hesitate in starting that. So why is your brain any different? 

CBT is available on the NHS, and, whilst I haven't had it myself, people have told me it's really changed their lives. It's a little strange at first, talking to someone new about all your problems. But you get used to it, form a bond with them, and you start to enjoy it as you see the changes in your life it makes. If you're struggling with anxiety and it's affecting and limiting your life, go to your doctor about it. It can really help.

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD)

I don't see this talked about much, so I thought I'd just stick it on the end to raise awareness and reach out to anyone dealing with it. A lot more people suffer from SAD than you'd think. It's basically a type of depression which comes on in winter, or, if you have depression already, it gets worse. It's not fully understood yet, but research shows it's probably due to getting less sunlight in the darker months. The treatments for this are antidepressants, getting as much sunlight as possible, taking extra vitamins, and light therapy. Light therapy was something I'd never heard of, and haven't tried yet, but a sufferer I know of uses it and it does wonders for her. It's basically where a special lamp simulates sun exposure for you, which helps your brain function properly, as it does in summer. It sounds a bit out there, but it does make sense!

Thank you for reading this post. It was quite hard to write - I'm a bit nervous about publishing it! But I just see so many posts about mental health disorders, and so many people suffering when they don't have to be. If you're struggling with something, please speak to a professional. It will really change your life. Nine out of ten people who suffer from mental health problems say they feel like there's a stigma attached to it, which is a horrifying statistic. Problems in the brain are no different to problems in the liver, heart, or any other internal organ, which you'd immediately get help for. This shouldn't be any different, and together, we can all help to end the stigma attached to our problems.

If you want to talk further about anything I've mentioned privately, feel free to DM me on Twitter or send me an email.

- Charlie CP xx

(My mum actually linked me to Time To Change when I was writing this post, but if you agree with what I've said, seriously check them out and get involved)

16 comments :

  1. Oh I completely relate to this! It took me a long time to go to counselling and in the meantime I was at home, crying constantly, not working and feeling horrible about myself! I was always convinced it made me 'weak' to go for help but I now I say that it's actually a very strong and brave thing for people to do. I've struggled again recently and this time I didn't get help but luckily I'm feeling better now any way. It's such a crappy thing to deal with and it's lovely you're raising awareness by posting this.

    www.sheepishlyshameful.com

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    1. Yeah exactly! I think a lot of people are worried they'll look weak but it's really the opposite. I hope you stay feeling better <3

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this. It took me over a year to get help, actual help. I think if I had read more posts encouraging me to do so I might have considered it a lot earlier. So often when people talk about getting help they include talking to friends/family and getting the support you mentioned, rather than actual help. I'm glad your anxiety isn't anywhere near as bad any more and that you're getting help again for your depression. SAD was really interesting to read about too! xxx

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    1. I'm glad you got help! Yeah I'll be happy if even one person struggling reads this and gets help. Thanks for commenting xx

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  3. This was such an amazing post that i had to read it twice then show my mate, then read it again! I love the campaign time for change and i support it 100%. There is way too much stigma around mental health and i was thinking this quite recently when i wore a small badge on my school uniform saying, "Re-think Mental health." loads of people asked my why i was wearing it with a creeped out look or laughed at it and joked about crazy people. I was so offended as i sadly suffer with anxiety and depression and it isnt 'being crazy' it made me so mad and i was planning to write a post on the matter (got as far as writing the title, it's scary to write these things down) But seeing this made me feel so happy that i wasn't alone in all this and there are others who feel the same way.

    - Daizy xxx

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    1. That's so cute, thank you! I'm so glad you took a stand like that, it was so brave. You should definitely write your post love xx

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  4. I hope your starting to feel more normal lovely. I was on antidepressants for 3 years and then came off them. 6 months ago I went to the doctors about them in a new area and the first doctor I seen was so unsympathetic and basically told me to switch my job so I complained at reception and demanded to see another doctor! The next doctor was lovely and he really helped. I would definitely agree being persistent if you don't feel right :)
    Jess @ JuicyyyJesss*

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    1. One of the doctors at my surgery is HORRIBLE. Sorry you had to deal with them but I'm glad you complained! Thank you lovely <3

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  5. Really enjoyed reading this. It is so important to get help and it is okay too as well and you've highlighted that really well! There's so much that I can relate to with this post.
    Hoping it will reach to people and make a difference :)

    Hana | www.hanarosella.blogspxot.co.uk ♥

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  6. This was really nice! It's so genuinely pleasing to read about other people's views and experiences with mental illness. The year I underwent therapy was the hardest year of my life, but it saved me, so I'm definitely all about encouraging people to get help.

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    1. I'm so glad you got through it! It can be so scary and difficult but you're right, it's literally life saving.

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  7. This is brilliant, so lovely to see people spreading awareness! I'm an active blogger on mental health and I've just recently posted a similar thing! This is so relatable, a job well done! Xx

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  8. I’ve nominated you for the beauty blogger award, my post will be up Monday 7am hannahcrossley.com x

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  9. I loved reading this. I love reading about different peoples views on this, so lovely to know how much support there is out there for everyone suffering!

    Lowenna Christine

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  10. This is such a well written and insightful post! You're totally right that support and help are completely different and its so easy to fall back on the support that you get and rely on that to get you through the day rather than actively seeking help and working on ways to get better. I'm so glad that you managed to get help when you needed it and had such a supportive doctor! I struggled with anxiety and depression at school and when I finally sought help my GP just dismissed it as a 'sad teenage faze'. It never went away but I guess I've just learnt to control it and manage it myself over the years.

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