Acceptance – Our Problem or Not?

Acceptance – What I Mean

When you hear the word “acceptance”, what is it you think of?  Do you think about receiving a gift and accepting it?  Perhaps you think of other people accepting something that you’ve said.  Potentially you think of agreement? According to the dictionary, it’s all three.  More often than not, we’d probably lean towards the second definition, wouldn’t we?  But what does that have to do with our mental health?

Recently, I attended one of my Talking Therapy appointments with my mental health counsellor and we talked about some of the issues that I have regarding a couple of different situations in my life.  I shan’t go into detail about those on here, as they aren’t relevant, but suffice it to say that they involve situations that I cannot control.

For example: imagine that you are working in a call centre for a bank and you get a customer come through.  They’re furious because somehow a transfer that they requested hasn’t arrived in their account.  You then have to investigate, but you feel upset or angry that they are shouting and having a go at you.  Really, it’s not your fault.  You can’t, however, control how they are behaving, can you?

This is the kind of situation I’m referring to.  Something that someone else is doing or saying, an event or occurrence that is out of my control, something that I can try and influence but I cannot directly change.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

The Power of Acceptance

So I discussed the entire situation with my therapist, who listened intently, only asking a few clarifying questions.  Then she asked a very important question: “can you control what that/those person/people is/are doing?”

It stumped me because it seemed like such an obvious answer.  Well…no.  Unfortunately I don’t have telepathy or mind control or something along those lines, so there is no way I can control other people.  Even if I were a nasty person and resorted to things like blackmail – be it through use of a physical object or through emotional means – or threats, I could still not fully control someone.  So no…I can’t control them.

At which point, she made her answer clear.  In order for me to deal with the depression and low mood that follows this particular situation and others like it, I need to learn acceptance.  I cannot control what anyone else but me is doing, therefore I am not responsible for what they do, which means I am not to blame.  In that vein, I can stop beating myself up for everything that is going wrong or things that don’t happen because it is out of my hands.  Yes, I can influence what happens through words and deeds but I cannot control it directly.

Which is where acceptance comes in.

Confusing, right?  Well OK, maybe not completely confusing, but it took me a while to fully grasp it while she was talking.  So let’s look at it another way.

For Example…

A friend of mine is going through a difficult situation.  One of those where there is an ex-husband and kids and so on.  As with a lot of these situations, the matter of child custody is raised and arrangements of that nature are being made.  Both of them want to take an amicable, informal approach but there is a problem.

Both of them have different ideas of how it should be done.

Now, as with any situation where there are different ideas, there will be problems.  One such problem has arisen and they are in disagreement about how to handle it.  Involving when a child will visit, one parent believes the child should continue visiting mid-week as normal, the other (who has more contact as primary caregiver) has identified that this is unsettling the young child, distressing the child as they get confused easily about whose house they are going to.  So they have proposed scrapping the mid-week visits.  The friend wants the ex to make suggestions of alternatives, as they always come up with those suggestions, but the ex is making it as difficult as they possibly can because they “don’t see the problems” that the child is experiencing, nor do they believe that it is for the best.  Really, it is heavily implicit that the ex is doing what suits them best and not putting the child first, even though they vehemently deny it.

Anyway, this friend was particularly upset recently because of trying to make the arrangements and the ex was using a variety of tactics to try and get their own way.  Ranging from verbal bullying and threats to simply being argumentative over every little detail, they were trying to get their own way.  Why?  They disagreed with what was being said and, as I’ve previously mentioned, they were putting their own desires ahead of their child’s wellbeing.

So what do we do?

Acceptance

The trick here is this whole acceptance thing.  My friend cannot control the reactions of the ex.  As always, my friend is putting the children first no matter what.  That means making this difficult decision, scrapping the mid-week and figuring something else out.  Unfortunately, that also means dealing with a difficult ex and a difficult situation.  While talking to me, still upset, it became apparent my friend was self-blaming, asking whether molehills were being made into mountains and so on.

I asked a simple question: “Do you believe you are doing the right thing?”

“Yes.”

“Are you putting your child first?”

“Yes.”

Then, quite simply, the problem is with the ex.  No restrictions are being made, access is not being denied, so the problem is not with my friend.  As difficult as it is, that means accepting the ex’s behaviour because it is one of those uncontrollable factors.  Even with the best will in the world, neither my friend nor I can change the way the ex is reacting.  So why should we let it affect us?  Instead, accept that that is the way they have chosen to behave and let them get on with it.

It doesn’t need to affect us.

The Secret

You see, once we accept that a situation is the way it is, for whatever reason that may be, it loses its power over us.  Yes, we will still feel some of the feelings and emotions but we put techniques into place so that they don’t control our lives.  I’m not saying it’s easy – not in the slightest, as it can be very difficult to do – but if you can do it even a little bit, it can make life a lot easier for you.

Why not give it a go?  You might be surprised by the results.  After all…the therapists recommend it!  So see where it takes you.  Oh…and let me know how it goes!

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Getting Out of The Comfort Zone

A Safe Place

This week I attended my first in a series of coaching sessions aimed at helping me cope with the challenges that I face when I am at work. My first of several 3-hour sessions. All aimed at giving me some tools to help me manage my anxiety and depression in the office. There have been times when I have been struggling. Yet despite my manager’s initial scepticism, she agreed that some in-work coaching would be beneficial. Now, not every employer would do this. Luckily the company I work for has strong links with a mental health charity. This in turn means that sometimes they are willing to go the extra mile and get things for their staff to help them cope.  For me, it meant getting out of the comfort zone of what I am used to.

One thing I have never really realised is how important a safe place is to me. Getting out of the comfort zone of home is one thing, but I hadn’t realised how much I needed to feel safe. Even at work.

Getting Out of The Comfort Zone and Progress

Sometimes it can be challenging to see the progress we are making. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we see as our failures and short comings.  But very time we stretch ourselves, doing things that make us uncomfortable, we are making progress. So for me, this was doing this coaching session. I was having to be very open and vulnerable about how my mental health impacts me in the office with a complete stranger. I’ll be honest, I found it really hard. When the course was first recommended by the DSE representative, I really couldn’t see me doing it. For want of a better word, it seemed another bit of fluffy nonsense that really was just there so employer’s can be seen to be ‘helping’. But it wasn’t.

What it highlighted to me was one of the places I feel least safe is at work. I often feel exposed. The feeling of everyone judging and looking at you as you crash into a panic attack is terrifying. The logical thinking would be that no-one is ACTUALLY looking at you, but it’s still palpable.  Some of that comes because there is that fear in my head of ‘what will people think?’. It’s been hard enough when colleagues have glimpsed my self-harm scars and asked about them.

But here’s my challenge to all of you. When you’re next asked about your self harm scars, or about your mental health, try getting out of the comfort zone and be honest.  It is a challenge, but it also helps you progress.

The Challenge

Now it doesn’t have to be anything huge (my son recommended base jumping off a bridge to really push those boundaries!). But do those little things. If you struggle getting out of the house, try each time you go to be out that little bit longer. Without even thinking about it, I’ve been subconsciously doing this with Alex for a while. He struggles to be out of the house for long. Yet we’ve managed excursions that have been for 3 or 4 hours, when previously he could only have coped with 1 or 2. Yes, it’s exhausting, but it’s progress.

Only yesterday I found myself in the middle of a hugely busy Ikea store. I could feel my anxiety ramping up, I was cursing myself for not thinking about how Saturdays are awful in there. So many people, so much noise! But I coped. A few months ago I wouldn’t have. The reason I coped was I have been bit by bit pushing myself. Getting out of the comfort zone of home and into environments that, while I still feel reasonably safe are still busy and potential triggers. Practising the breathing techniques I have learnt from counselling in a moderately busy supermarket. Having my fidget cube on me when I went for an interview. Having people with me who help those feelings of safety. Just little exercises to try to push me that bit more.

And if I couldn’t cope? That was okay too. I tried. For every time we achieve a little win against whatever mental health condition we have, it will only because we have tried dozens of times before. Sometimes we will have failed outright. Others, we will have been able to cope for so long, then fell apart over something small. It happens. And it’s okay! Each time we try getting out of the comfort zone we are a step closer to , if not recovery, at least managing the condition. The important thing is to try. 

 

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Episode 43 – How Do I Cope With This?


The second question in My 6 Big Mental Health Questions series asks the important one about coping with mental illness.  Whether newly diagnosed or not, a “veteran” sufferer or someone still finding their feet, it’s a question we’ve all asked at some point.  Well here are some of the ways I cope, some of the things that you can do and much more…with a surprise twist.

Useful Links:

It’s OK Not To Be OK
Successful Self-Care
Float, Don’t Fight
Knowing When Not To Fight

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Become a Patron - No Room For ErrorDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Storms – A Picture of Encouragement

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Inspired By A Picture

It’s amazing how people can draw.  Stick men are my limit really.  Tamera, however, can draw and she has drawn this amazing picture, giving us that little bit of hope to go through our day with.  In this video, based on her artwork, I talk about the storms of life and how we can deal with them.  Why not join me?

Useful Links:

Storms
More About Tamera

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Become a Patron - No Room For ErrorDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

5 Natural Ways to Lift Your Mood on a Bad Day

5 Natural Ways to Lift Your Mood On A Bad Day

Everyone has those days where nothing seems to be going right. When this happens, it’s easy to feel defeated and get stuck in a negative mindset for the rest of the day – or even for the whole week. But in times like these, there will always be things you can do to feel better. Here are 5 easy ways to lift your mood on a bad day.

5 Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood on a Bad Day
Photo Credit: jill111 via Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons License
Go Barefoot in Nature

 The simple act of going barefoot on the grass has a surprising number of physical and mental health benefits. Walking barefoot stimulates the nervous system, which helps to provide greater balance and improve overall immunity. It also allows your body to feel the earth directly and truly connect with the natural world. Exposure to nature this way can relax your mind, ease stress and give you a greater sense of well-being. Whenever you’re having a bad day, take a moment to flip off those shoes, go outside in the sunlight, and reconnect with nature.

Exercise

 Exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to boost mood. Doing just 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity will give you a boost in endorphins and make you feel happier. Set aside some time during the day to exercise, whether that involves doing a few push-ups at home, playing a sport you love, or working out at the gym. Try to find an exercise that you really enjoy, as this is the best way to stay motivated.

5 Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood on a Bad Day
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash under License
 Connect with Loved Ones

 One of the best things you can do when you’ve had a bad day is to connect with your loved ones. When you spend quality time with people who care about you, it’s easier to put your problems into perspective and ease your stress. If your family and friends live far away, give them a call to confide in them. Sometimes all you need to feel better is someone to vent to and seek comfort from.

Read a Good Book

 There is nothing better than immersing yourself in a good book after a stressful day. Reading helps to take your mind elsewhere, allowing you to forget about your struggles for a while. Instead of spending your free time scrolling through social media, find a quiet place to read where there are no interruptions and get stuck into a good book. Spending just 30 minutes reading something you enjoy can help to relax your mind and body, putting you in a better mood for the day.

Listen to Uplifting Music

 There is no doubt music has the power to affect your mood and emotions. Listening to upbeat, feel-good songs can immediately help to lift your spirits on a bad day. Make a playlist of the songs that make you feel happy and turn this on whenever you’re feeling down or stressed. Sing along and dance to the music too, and you will feel better in no time.

About the Author

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who is passionate about living with a positive outlook. She loves taking short, sweet weekend getaways to recharge and escape from the noisy chaos of city life. You can find more of her work on Tumblr.

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

High-Functioning Anxiety

High-Functioning Anxiety – the Basis

We’ve all heard of anxiety, haven’t we?  Just like we’ve heard of depression, insomnia, bipolar and other mental illnesses.  As standard, we seem to have these ideas that depression or anxiety are the only parts of those struggles, but in reality they are but basic terms that encompass a whole spectrum of conditions.  So what would happen when we apply the term “high-functioning” in front of some of these words?  I’ve talked previously about high-functioning depression – something a lot of people weren’t familiar with – but what about high-functioning anxiety?

Let’s take a look!

First off, let’s take a quick look at what this concept of “high-functioning” would mean.  According to NAMI Montgomery County, specialists determine how well you function with your mental health conditions by using the Functioning Assessment Short Test, or FAST.  It consists of questions designed to find out how you do in the following areas:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Occupational Functioning
  3. Cognitive Functioning
  4. Financial Issues
  5. Interpersonal Relationships
  6. Leisure Time

If you “do better” in each of those areas, then you’re considered to be high-functioning.  If we put that psychological jibber jabber aside, though, it basically means that you have the condition but you can still function well, therefore anyone seeing you on the street wouldn’t necessarily know you struggle with mental health issues.

The Nature of High-Functioning

OK, so we’ve established what high-functioning actually is, but what does that mean in our normal, everyday language?  For starters, we should focus on the last part of what I’d said in that last paragraph.  If someone came across us in the street, they wouldn’t know that we struggle with anxiety because, to them, we would be able to function “normally”.  (I use the term “normally” in quotes because none of us are normal really, are we?)

In itself, high-functioning is just another way of saying our masks are very very good.  We can go out and about, we can continue working, we seem to be exactly like any other productive member of society.  Those things people normally associate anxiety with?  Yeah, we don’t exhibit them much.

It might sound strange, but that is the essence of high-functioning mental health conditions.  Whether we manage them or not, people don’t seem to notice when we’re struggling.  We’re able to interact with others, able to hold down a job and we’re able to do anything that any other member of society can.

Well…almost anything…

My High-Functioning Anxiety

I’ve talked previously about how I have high-functioning depression how it affects me.  What about my anxiety?  I believe it to be high-functioning as well.  Why?  Well, for the most part I can do anything anyone else can do.  Granted, I don’t really like doing things like going out, off to the shops or being amongst crowds and stuff, but I can still do it.  There are several other reasons why I would class myself as high-functioning in my anxiety, and these come from an article published on Women’s Health (What?! I read!) called 8 Signs You’re Struggling With High-Functioning Anxiety.  Its 8 signs are as follows:

  1. People describe you as a “Type A” perfectionist.
  2. You exhibit controlling patterns.
  3. You’re constantly busy.
  4. You’re not sleeping well.
  5. You have aches, pains, repetitive habits or ticks.
  6. People have a hard time reading you.
  7. You have a crippling fear of letting other people down.
  8. “No” isn’t part of your vocabulary.

Let’s see…check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check.  Oops.  That’s done it.

Conclusions?

I have high-functioning anxiety.  I am a perfectionist.  Ask anyone.  I will do things over and over or take as much time as I can to ensure that they’re perfect.  While I’m not a controlling person, I enforce routines to ensure that I’m in control of my life (which is more or less what they said in the article).  I’m always busy, and I mean always!  Really really.  I rarely sleep very well, as I’ve talked about before.  I have those repetitive habits or ticks, commonly found in the form of cracking my knuckles or constantly jigging my leg, those sorts of things.  As for reading me, so many people have said that!  I crack a joke and they have to look really hard to tell whether or not I’m serious.  Letting people down…in my therapy, that’s coming out as one of the top reasons all my symptoms trigger.  Finally, saying “no” just doesn’t happen, as I will do anything for anyone, even at the cost of myself.

What can I say?  I do have that high-functioning anxiety though, just with high-functioning depression, you wouldn’t know it to look at me.  I used to always turn up to work and no one would know anything was wrong.

So high-functioning anxiety is real.  Remember: just because someone looks perfectly fine, doesn’t mean they are.

And it can be a killer!

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Episode 42 – What Did I Do To Deserve This?

My 6 Biggest Mental Health Questions part 1 – What Did I Do To Deserve This?

We are told that we deserve what we’re going through.  If we are going through it, surely we deserve it, don’t we?  After all, we must have done something in a previous life, or we don’t have enough faith, or we’re just doing something wrong.  Or are we…?  In this 5-part series, I answer my 6 biggest mental health questions.

Useful Links

Why I’m a Christian but Have a Problem With Religion

 
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No Room For Error

Error…Error…

Ironically, this video was the one that glitched in the upload.  But that error aside, don’t you find that people expect you to be perfectly fine once you show some signs of improvement?  It’s as though they don’t understand that our mental health recovery is a journey, almost like a marathon.  They seem to picture it more as a sprint, a bit like how a broken bone is healed and that’s the end of it.

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Become a Patron - No Room For ErrorDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Justified or Just Unjust?

Justified – How It Starts

How did we get here?  In the middle of an argument or at the tail-end of one, both parties wounded in some way, counting the tallied victories or points scored.  That’s the way of it, isn’t it?  We say what we say, do what we do and then decide later whether or not it was justified.  A society of speak/act first, think later.

And we are the pinnacle of that society.

It always starts with something small.  A spark, if you will.  Be it a comment, an action, an inaction…it doesn’t really matter what.  That spark lands on the wood that makes up our life and suddenly there’s the potential for that flame.  Instead of putting it out, we lash back, adding another spark and another and another until suddenly we have a fire.  Not just any old fire like you’d get in the garden firepit, but a roaring one that’s almost out of control.  As the flames rage, so do tempers and we lash back with venom and bile, letting the fires jump from branch to branch just like a forest fire.

We felt justified though, didn’t we?  When we tossed that first spark…weren’t we right?  After all, they were wrong.  Whatever they had said, whatever they had done, they were wrong.

It gives us that feeling of exoneration…but that feeling is short-lived as it turns to ash along with everything else.

Just How Justified Are We?

If I had to pick a favourite quote from a TV programme or a film, the title would definitely go to a particular quote from Doctor Who.  Say what you will about the casting and/or performance of Peter Capaldi, I’m sure we can all agree that this little monologue of his was one of the most memorable moments in the series:

“Because it’s not a game, Kate. This is a scale model of war. Every war ever fought, right there in front of you. Because it’s always the same. When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die! You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn! How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does until what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning. Sit down and talk! (sigh) Listen to me. Listen, I just, I just want you to think. Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.” – the Doctor, from The Zygon Inversion, series 9 episode 8.

So come on.  How justified are we really?  And I include myself in that, because I know I get things wrong.  How right are we?

Perhaps will never know.  But even so, there’s something we need to think about first.

Behind the Scenes

The one thing we forget when we are quick to bite back is what’s going on behind the scenes.  What is the other person or people involved dealing with?  Not just the “here and now”, but beyond that.  How is their home life?  Their job?  Their finances?  Now go deeper.  What about their emotional and mental well-being?  If you believe in such things, what about their spiritual well-being?  Are they actually coping with life?  Their response could be due to any one of these factors.  Also, their initial comments or responses could have been caused by anything.

The harsh truth is no matter how justified you feel in your response, how concretely right you feel, you have absolutely no idea what triggered their response in the first place, nor what they are dealing with.  Life throws plenty of stresses at us and that can create all sorts of responses that we wouldn’t normally give.  While that doesn’t excuse it, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

But let’s go deeper still.

What if your seemingly justified comment/argument/curse/temper-snap causes some harm?  Those of you familiar with how mental health works will doubtlessly know that some situations and scenarios can lead people down dark paths.  For anxiety, depression and BPD, self-harm can be a release for the pent-up emotions that threaten to overwhelm us.  While we are ultimately responsible for self-harming because we are the ones who pick up the blade, who is to say that someone’s abrupt or rude comment can’t push us down that path?

Behind the scenes, there may be a mountain that they’re struggling with, something that your “just action” (and that’s not to say it isn’t justified, for it might be) pushes them towards.  Who knows what kind of conflagration the spark of your actions will cause?

Getting On With Life

We don’t know what other people are struggling with.  Ultimately, no matter how justified we think we are, we need to stop.  Think.  Assess.  Is it actually worth the hurt, pain and potential suffering that it will cause?  Perhaps it is better to wait for things to calm down before we say our piece.  That’s not to say that anger or arguments cannot be justified – there are plenty of examples of this – but there is a time and a place for it.

My words can only go so far.  For a better meaning behind this post, I’d ask you to check out this song by Philippa Hanna.  It speaks volumes to me and summarises what I’m trying to say beautifully.  Why not take a listen, because you might find it speaks to you.

“Cos we’re all just getting on with living Going into battles nobody sees us fight Yeah, we’re all just getting on with living So try to be forgiving when we don’t see eye to eye We’re all just getting on with life.” – Philippa Hanna, Getting On With Life

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

This Is Me

Why This Is Me?

For anyone who is a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably aware that music is incredibly important for both myself and Alex. It can help us describe how we feel, lift us when we’re down and be a balm when our mental health is at its worst. A few weeks ago I came across ‘This Is Me’ from the Greatest Showman soundtrack and this wonderfully anthemic piece really did something marvellous. It gave me a massive push, to try, to get out of my comfort zone and do things that terrified me. It reminded me that I’m stubborn and I’m not giving in to depression and anxiety.

Now, okay. To some, going for a couple of job interviews isn’t that big a deal. But to me it is. Going on holiday with Alex and my children for the first time was terrifying. Tonight I’m going to an outdoor performance of Macbeth and it’s been a struggle to find the motivation to make the picnic that I promised I would take. I want to go but the thought of going anywhere today is terribly daunting. This is the impact that having depression can have on me and for some people, well let’s be honest, they neither understand or like it.  Like many others who suffer with depression and anxiety, I’ve heard them all. The ‘just get over it’, the ‘snap out of it’, the ‘what is wrong with you?‘, the list of comments that can get slung at you is endless.

Because They Just Don’t Get It

A lot of people just don’t understand mental health issues. They don’t want to, can be just ignorant or sometimes just downright idiots. Unfortunately the idiots are the worst. Like the ones who think social media is the place to start ranting about how things like depression are because people are weak minded, or lazy. These same people are often the ones who call self harm attention seeking. This kind of thinking is what builds into the stigma that already surrounds mental health.

So what has this got to do with a song you ask? Well, as I was listening to the words I saw how this song could be an anthem for those suffering with mental illness against all those who disparage and belittle. Here’s a snippet of some of those lyrics that got into my head.

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
The Shame Game
That’s the thing. At different times I’ve been told that no-one would love me as I am. I’ve been told I am broken and unworthy because of my mental health . I’ve hidden the scars on my arms, stomach and legs from the world and made to feel ashamed.
But I’m not. One thing Alex and I, and countless others like Hope Virgo, Rebecca Lombardo, Rethink Depression and more are all doing is taking a stand. We are not ashamed to share our mental health journey, we won’t be embarrassed into hiding our symptoms because it makes others uncomfortable. Whether any of these warriors realise it or not, by sharing their journey, like me they are shouting to the world THIS IS ME! Yes, I have a mental illness but it does not define me. I’m not ashamed of my illness and the damage I’ve done to my body when I was at my worst. I was severely ill, but I survived.
So, This Is Me!
Yes! This is me. I’m a mum to 2 children, I work in a call centre, I’m in a happy relationship. One of the things I love is watching The Big Bang Theory, I love cooking and having friends over for dinner.  Oh and yeah, I have depression and anxiety. I take medication for these conditions and there are days that are worse than others. No-one can call me weak minded or lazy, so I am as worthy as anyone else. The same goes for anyone who is suffering. You are not lazy, weak or a failure. You are worthy. Like it says in the song  ‘we are warriors’.
If someone is telling you any of those awful things, put ‘This Is Me’ on and drown them out. (Yes, I know the song is sung by the bearded lady, but what better song to demonstrate inclusion in a world where many are seen as outcasts?) Whether they like it or not, there’s a flood happening right now. People are taking notice and starting to talk about mental health issues, changes are happening. The more people who are standing up and sharing their stories, the more we can normalise the conversation about mental illness.
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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.