What do you think when someone says Mental Health?
I can guarantee it’s something negative.
We have this assumption that the term Mental Health means crazy, unstable, psycho, and a million other derogatory adjectives. Mental Health is exactly the same as Physical Health, but instead of your body being impaired, your brain is. It can occur from stress, hereditary genes, trauma, love, work, medication, physical injury, pretty much anything can cause a change in your Mental Health.
How does this tie to me? Well, I (like many others) have had to spend a fair while reminding myself of this factor. If I had a physical injury such as a sprained ankle or broken arm, I would seek medical attention to be checked over, scanned, plastered up, whatever the professionals deemed necessary. When it comes to Mental Health I was a little less proactive. I have a tendency to “put up and shut up”, meaning that quite often I will experience a situation and completely internalize it. Not helpful at the best of times, but especially if you are a character like myself that suffers from mixed anxiety and depression and is extremely analytical at the best of times.
I started having anxiety around the age of 12-13. There were issues in my childhood and post traumatic stress that wasn’t ever attended to by professionals. This created terror nightmares and severe anger and outbursts towards males. Then you hit school and if you’re a little bit out there or different like I was, you’re bullied. I was also blessed with teenage epilepsy which started around 14/15 and continued through my GCSE’s and up until I was 19.
I visited CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) when I was 17/18. I personally didn’t find much help from this and continued to fight my battle alone. I encountered the world of tumblr and became a bit of a hit, reaching 40,000 followers and posting a video about my “secrets” (basically explaining my anxiety and normalizing the condition). This then led me to travelling around the country, meeting new people and in turn helped my anxiety. But as the followers continued to grow, the anxiety came back with a vengeance. People were trolling me via the internet messaging forums, sending me anonymous message or messages from fake accounts etc. I was even temporarily famous on 4chan.
When I was 22 I decided to try again and sought advice from my GP, who gave me medication and referred me to Time to Talk West Sussex. I was referred to an assessor within the Mental Health team who diagnosed the anxiety and depression and taught me coping techniques and the hot cross bun diagram. I was taught mindfulness and self-love, and a whole manner of techniques to manage the disorders and bounced back a bit. This worked for a little while and I managed to pass my driving test. I then worked in a job where myself and my colleagues ended up micro managed by managers that were overworked and stressed, emotionally manipulated by customers and regularly upset due to the line of work that it was. This had a huge detrimental effect on my mental health, and forced me to look for a new job. I went back to therapy and was reassessed. I was tested for PTSD and finally diagnosed with it. I then went to EMDR (eye movement, desensitization, reprocessing) treatment to remove all emotion from my subconscious flashbacks, which in turn removed my terror nightmares. I can never explain to someone who has always had a good relationship with sleep just how magical it is to sleep through the night…
I was discharged Feb 2017 and was in a new job. Fast forward to Feb 2018 and I have handed in my resignation at my job due to several events at work and home and I am looking for work that means I can step back and look after my mental health and still have the money to live! I’m currently on medication and awaiting a psychiatrist appointment to assess actions going forward, as being in and out of the system isn’t helping and I need a more permanent plan for this permanent problem.
I stumbled upon blogging from watching other people and reading online magazine articles and thought I would give it a whirl. I found that I got so immersed in the colours, and planning and organising that I wasn’t anxious at all, my brain was busy and I was being productive. It also keeps my hands busy so, no nervous hand fidgeting, hair playing, clothes tugging etc. I’m hoping in that sharing my story and keeping you all updated with my experiences it may help those that need help but are afraid, because we all have to jump in at the deep end when it comes to getting help.
Below is my favourite quote at the moment and perfect for anxiety, depression and mood affecting disorders.
Further additions to “Am I Crazy?” will be coming soon.