Breaking the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Breaking the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

I apologise in advance for this long-ass post! Okay, so today’s post is a pretty personal one and it’s something that I have wanted to write about for a while now. Today is Time to Talk Day, so what perfect way to end mental health discrimination than by talking openly about my mental health journey. I hope by reading this you will not only understand a bit about what I and 1 in 4 people can live with but also make it easier to be there for someone who needs your help.

Then

I’ve always been a worrier. Even when I was little, my mum would always say that I never lived in the moment. I was always worried about what would happen next. My entire childhood was spent asking myself the dreaded “what if” question. I would finish school on Friday and spend the entire weekend worrying about going back on Monday. By the time GCSEs and A-Levels came around I had developed anxiety and an eating disorder, so yeah… that kinda sucked.

Looking back, deciding to go to university probably wasn’t the best option for me at the time. My mental health suffered in my first year. I struggled to make friends because I wasn’t a typical “party” student due to social anxiety and the fact that drinking makes my anxiety worse. I was so close to dropping out. Attending lectures became too difficult because I was so anxious, and when I did attend them, I would have to sit right by the door so I could leave as soon as it became too overwhelming. I tried counselling but I found that it didn’t work for me, I just felt like all it did was remind me of all the bad times instead of trying to find ways to cope. Visited my GP but we decided against going on anti-depressants in case I became too reliant on them in the future. BOY was that a big mistake!

After two years at uni, it was time to move for my placement year. Great, I thought, a chance to get a fresh start, away from the pressures of university. Little did I know it would be one of the worst years of my life… if you thought this post was already bleak, just you wait! On my first day on the job, I got a phone call to say my step-dad had suffered a stroke and my mum had to quit her job to become his full-time carer. A few months later my relationship ended. Two months after that my grandma passed away. And to top it all off, whilst all of this was happening, I was in a job where my bosses were emotionally abusive towards me and I was struggling to pay my rent…

…and breathe…. sorry, it was getting a bit deep there, here is a photo of an adorable puppy!

PUPPY!

After I finished my placement I was so looking forward to going home to relax… but I couldn’t. I hadn’t had time to process everything that had happened. I was terrified that my bosses still had some sort of weird power over me. I’d developed severe depression and had a massive breakdown. I wanted to postpone the final year of my degree until I could cope. Luckily my mum was very, very supportive! She came with me to see my GP. It was then that I discovered that the warning signs were there 4 years ago… I would’ve been in a better position if I’d have started taking the anti-depressants back then (cheers…thanks for the heads up mate, a bit late now…). So the decision was made for me to start taking Citalopram.

Now

Anyway, fast forward almost 6 months and here I am… at uni! After everything I’d been through, it felt silly to postpone and spend a year moping about. I’m in a much better place now! The Citalopram worked great (though it did make me…I don’t know… not give a shit anymore?…if that makes sense haha) but I was getting really horrible nightmares, which is a side effect of the drug. Last week I switched over to Sertraline, so fingers crossed that works better!

I’m not saying that I’m 100%, there are still bad days where I struggle to get out of bed, go to lectures, and I still struggle a lot with social anxiety. But, for the first time in a long time, I can say that I am probably the happiest I have been in a while. I think a lot of that is down to starting my blog! I’ve met some amazing people! The blogging community is such a loving and caring place. I feel like I have two personas (like Beyonce and Sasha Fierce!). Blogging helps me to express who I really am without fear of judgement… gosh that sounds so cheesy… but it’s true!

So yeah, that’s me and my life… sorry for bumming you all out but we have to break this stigma that talking about mental health is “taboo”. Also, everyone struggles with mental health differently and no two people are the same. This is why it is important to talk to someone and help them understand how it affects you personally. Whatever you do, do not say to someone “don’t worry about it” or “you’ll get over it”… this is not helpful AT ALL. You are not alone! If you are struggling please to talk to someone! Whether it is a relative, close friend, doctor, MIND or the Samaritans, they are all there to help!

Sorry guys, normal service will be resumed next week!

 

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p.s. are you doing anything for Time to Talk Day?

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22 Comments

  1. Dr. N February 1, 2018 / 5:05 pm

    Self love and self care is so important. I love the quote on your blog heading pic. So many women experience these exact same sentiments. Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Julia February 2, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    You’re such a strong and incredible woman, I admire you! It takes so much courage to talk about your own mental health and share your story. I can relate to so much of it. I was on antidepressants two years ago (I was put on Citalopram as well) and it worked wonders. After 6 months I decided to try dealing with it without any medication and although I do think it wasn’t the best choice back then, it made me a lot stronger. And my therapy is working really well. I know someone who takes Sertraline and it helped him soooooo much! Fingers crossed your nightmares disappear.

    Julia xx
    theglassofclass.com

  3. Emily February 2, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    Aw Chessie, thank you for sharing this! You are such an inspiration and going to uni and powering through is incredible I’m so glad you are in a better place now you are amazing for keeping going through everything!!

    Hope you continue to feel better and better

    Love emily xx

    http://Www.isobellejane.com

  4. Alice February 2, 2018 / 5:10 pm

    Other than the eating disorder, your story actually sounds so much like mine. You’re so brave for opening up about this and putting this out for people to read! I really do applaud you. I’m so glad you’re feeling much better now and hope the new medication works better for you too! Always a message away if you need anything!
    Alice Xx

  5. Style The Streets February 3, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story , you are so very brave! Our stories are quite similar except that I ended up quitting uni, so well done for persevering – if you were going through all those scary thoughts/feelings and still managed to keep fighting, you can do anything! Keep doing what you’re doing because it gets better – I promise! x

  6. Gemma February 4, 2018 / 12:01 am

    I’m glad to hear you’re in a better place now, mental health is so important and we’ve all had low points at one time. I’m so glad mine is behind me x

  7. Daena Borrowman February 4, 2018 / 5:51 pm

    I’m so happy to see more people feeling comfortable enough to post about mental health online, it is so important! <3

  8. Alice February 5, 2018 / 12:20 pm

    I’m so glad that your mental health seems to be improving and that you’ve managed to carry on with university and stuff. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day where you don’t want to face the world, I can definitely relate – sometimes we just need to take some time to care for ourselves x

    Alice http://www.accordingtoalicex.com

  9. Alicia February 5, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    Honestly needed that picture of the puppy at the moment! Was starting to get real sad 😩! I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you in such a short space of time. Self love is so important to help you get through mental health problems! Thanks for this xx

  10. Leslie February 6, 2018 / 6:43 am

    First of all , I think it’s incredibly brave that you decided to share your story . It sounds like quite the journey you have had and I hope it continues to get better from here

  11. Candice February 9, 2018 / 12:07 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! I think it’s important then people realise that they not alone. So many other suffer from a mental illness too.

    Candice | beautycandyloves.co.za

  12. Lily February 11, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    So brave in sharing your personal story, and good luck with the new medicine, hopefully the nightmares go away xx Glad you are feeling your happiest right now, lets hope things just get ever better from here on out x

    Lily | Covet Luxe

  13. Anu February 13, 2018 / 9:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story Francesca! I’m so happy that you’re in a better place now and have found something that helps you. I think that there should be a class for mental health in school so that you or the people around you could see the signs earlier without people having to suffer for years without any help 🙂 x

    Anu | Based On blog

  14. Abi Street February 14, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    So lovely to see this Fran – especially after everything we’ve been through together, I know you’re the one person who can relate to exactly how I have felt, and how I still feel now.

    So proud of you xxx

    Abi | abistreetx

  15. Gemma February 18, 2018 / 9:11 am

    Thank you for opening up, I feel this helps other people to speak about their mental health. It’s hard but if you have people supporting around you, then you can do it! I’m soo happy you’re in a better place now there definitely needs to be more done to help people.

    Gemma | http://www.anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com

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