It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and seeing as its Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I would write about something that is very close to me, and I have recently spoken to a few people who this has also affected at some point in there life, or who are dealing with it in the present day.
Mental Health Diagnoses – what this means… being diagnosed with a mental health disorder from a doctor, psychiatrist or any other mental health professional, this may be one or more of the following:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder BPD
- Cannabis and mental health
- Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders
- Drugs, alcohol and mental health
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
I myself have been ‘diagnosed’ in the past with clinical depression and anxiety, and have been put on various medications over time and had talking therapies, medication didn’t personally work for me but I have always found therapy really helpful. I really do admire people who seek out help when not feeling quite themselves, it takes strength and courage and a sense of understanding and empathy for yourself and your mental health; it really is in my opinion; an act of self-care.
However, I think when we are struggling mentally we can experience a feeling of detachment from ourselves, and this is incredibly scary and you feel vulnerable. On top of this you are most likely trying to keep up with your job, with the constant reminder and pressure that you need to earn money in order to pay your bills and rent, this is really, really hard, but it is the harsh reality of life. It all can become too much, but remember you are allowed a break, you are allowed a time out for your mental health, just as you would if you broke a bone. Don’t feel guilty to take a moment for yourself and your health, take that 2 week paid sick-note from the doctor and take a holiday, or just do something you love, do absolutely nothing; anything that is going to bring you back to yourself a little bit and help you find some clarity, within yourself and the fast-paced world around you.
Now to my main point… please don’t let a mental health diagnosis from a doctor or mental health professional make you feel shit, don’t let this ‘label’ define you, or put you in a box. This will only lead to you feeling worse about yourself and your capabilities. I honestly have been there, in some ways being diagnosed can be a relief, because you finally have an explaination to what you have maybe been battling with for years, and it gives you an answer, and therefore a sense of control… as once you know for certain, you can get medication or therapy to help treat the problem and it can lead to recovery, but at the same time it can bring dread and a feeling of failure… but you haven’t failed! Being diagnosed at the end of the day just helps you and the professionals trying to help you, help you! But it doesn’t define who you are as an individual, it doesn’t make you who you are as person.. basically you are not your diagnosis. You are you… and that is good enough. You are capable of anything you want, and just because you have been labelled ‘depressed’ or whatever it may be, does not mean you can’t achieve greatness or still overcome this illness and find happiness in your life.
When being diagnosed myself in the past, I felt like an absolute failure, like this was it.. I’m depressed and anxious and now my life is doomed. With social media it can also be another added pressure. Picture this; you are sitting in the doctors waiting anxiously, you’re taking time out of your job to go to the doctors for something you don’t truly understand and your battling with: ‘should I even be here..I should be at work, I’m not really sick?’ … and then you go on Instagram and you are bombarded with people you follow feeds and stories, who appear to be getting on with their lives, buying their homes, doing well in their careers, smiling in every picture… and then there is a sense of shame within yourself, “why I can’t be more like them, everyone seems to be getting on with it, why am I sat in this doctors waiting room, WHY AM I HERE!?”
… Ok, just to make it clear this was just my personal experience whilst struggling quite severely with my mental health, literally living in my doctors every week desperately trying to get answers and support. I don’t know if everyone can relate to this feeling, but it was a really hard time, and there is of course a constant pressure of money and ‘social status’ – whatever that really means, like we are all very good at keeping face… but I think we all need a reminder, that this shit is hard (life!) and we are all gonna struggle at some point, and that is ok… give yourself a break and remember you are only human, and instagram is actual bullshit… it is not real life, you sitting in the doctors and trying to get help and taking control of your life … that is real life!
So yes, to wrap up this blog… my advice is..
stay with yourself
be kind to yourself
and give yourself time.
Listen to your body and your mind, and don’t let a diagnosis, labels, society or anyone else tell you what or who you are, just do you. Keep Going!!!
….. For Alice x
If you need support:
15-19 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 4BQ
T: 020 8519 2122, F: 020 8522 1725
Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA