So yesterday I talked about socialising and how it can benefit mental health. One major part of socialising is reaching out to others when you need help. This is also a major part of the recovery journey. Today, I want to focus on the importance of reaching out for support when you need it.
Can I be real with you for a bit?
Depression isn’t always just feeling down and staying in bed and crying. It showcases itself in so many different ways in people. Some people can seem the happiest of people and function as a machine yet be struggling so hard on the inside. Others, they can’t really muster the strength to get out of bed some days. Mental illness is no one size fits all kind of thing. It varies so much as everyone suffers with it and manages it in their own way.
With me I guess it varies and depends on how bad I’m struggling at that particular time. Some days I can barely get up and do anything. Others I have to do something, everything just to feel sort of okay. Then there are days where I could be out, do stuff and manage fine and seem okay, seem better but inside I’m like a tornado of emotions and thoughts.
This is what mind.org.uk defines as depression.
“Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.
In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.”
In case you weren’t aware… Mind even has a list of some symptoms you may experience with depression. Please note though this is not an all or nothing list. You may have some of these, you may have some that are not even listed or even all of them. Like I keep emphasising… depression and other mental illnesses affect everyone in its own unique ways. There is no one size fits all model to this.
How you might feel:
- down, upset or tearful
- restless, agitated or irritable
- guilty, worthless and down on yourself
- empty and numb
- isolated and unable to relate to other people
- finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
- a sense of unreality
- no self-confidence or self-esteem
- hopeless and despairing
How you might behave:
- avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
- self-harming or suicidal behaviour
- finding it difficult to speak or think clearly
- losing interest in sex
- difficulty in remembering or concentrating on things
- using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
- difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- feeling tired all the time
- no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
- physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
- moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated
So yeah, I thought id share that in case you weren’t really aware or wasn’t sure. You can always click the link shared above the quote and check their site out. They are also linked in my support page along with their peer to peer support page elefriends. They’re an amazing charity and the website is full of information and support. I’d recommend checking it out.
Plus, if there’s anywhere I can be honest, It’s here… Yesterday, I was struggling… I was not okay. Yeah, this blog and these posts may make me sound as if I’m fine every day and that I’m pretty recovered but the truth is… I’m not. I’m only at the start of my recovery and each and every day is still a massive battle for me.
The reason this blog is so positive and insightful is because I want this outlet to be a positive thing rather than just my unhelpful negative journal. I want to be able to reach out to and help others who may be struggling. I want to try and educate people about how I experience and try to overcome my depression. I want to make something out of this experience that helps others basically.
One way I guess I can do that is by being honest and having posts like these that are real talk about how I’m feeling. How I’m coping because without it how will anyone really understand? How will we break this stigma against mental illness if my posts aren’t fully real and I don’t open up to you guys. Yesterday’s post was a full heart to heart real post but I guess I want to do some more.. ‘raw’ posts like this.
So in terms of this recovery that I talk about in basically every single post. It’s not me saying you can just get over it. I’m not saying It’s as easy as putting on a smile and boom you’re better cause it’s not that easy. It’s never that easy. There’s a reason why I call the recovery a journey and that’s because it is. It’s not going to be a flick of a switch and you’re fine. It’s not gonna be a run up a hill and boom once you feel okay that’s it. It’s not. It’s a journey as we’ll all have ups and downs. There may be setbacks. There may be great days. The best is yet to come. I’m even trying to tell myself this every single day. Trying being the keyword.
Last night was a rough night for me mentally. I was feeling pretty down because of how anxious I was with family. I was feeling down in general because my mind wouldn’t leave me alone at all. Even when making that post I was indeed struggling and I didn’t expect to struggle like that. I felt like a complete hypocrite because I didn’t reach out to anyone really with how I felt and I let myself get deeper and deeper into that pit as the night went on.
But… I did today. I had a talk with the husband. We’ve had a mini date evening where we went for a quick drink and a quiet talk.. made some brownies and binge-watched the new series of Big Mouth. (which is too weird and funny) So I thought why not make a post now I’m managing better than earlier/yesterday.
So what was the point in all that waffle?
Well, like I finished yesterday’s post off it is important that if you feel low or in a crisis that you reach out to someone. It’s very important that you seek the help that you deserve. Yeah, it’s hard to talk about what’s going on in your mind. It’s insanely hard for me sometimes too. I can’t word the mess that’s going on up there! You not talking about it isn’t going to stop it from happening. Trust me on that. I learned that last night with a night of constantly being bombarded with negative thoughts. Crying, I even thought of self-harm at one point. (I did use a safe alternative to calm myself a bit)
Keeping how you feel and what’s happening bottled up isn’t going to get you anywhere. You may worry about how others will see you but that’s thanks to the stigma around mental illness and the illness itself making you think you’ve lost your marbles! You aren’t crazy, you aren’t alone in this. Many people all over the world suffer from some form of mental illness. It’s more common than your head will tell you. If you’re reading this blog, this post or any page of mine then hello, I’m suffering too. You are not alone and you do not have to suffer in silence.
I may look like a hypocrite to you because of my slip up last night but I learned from that and talked today. I’ve learned over the last however long this has been now… probably 14/15 years I’d say. That not talking to anyone, in fact, makes it worse. It makes you withdraw even further into that negative loop that’s going on in your mind and it’s not a fun place to be.
Like I said yesterday. Our minds are wonderful and amazing things and are capable of so much. The one thing that I sincerely hate about mine is the ability to make anything and absolutely everything bad. The ability it has to make everything seem like it’s my fault. The ability it has to make me feel as rotten and worthless as some dog poo on the street. The worst thing is, is the ability it has to draw you in and hold you captive with these negative thoughts if you don’t seek help. This is why I’m stressing how important it is to reach out to others.
“One of the toughest things to admit is that we need support. This the hardest part for many people because it means being open, vulnerable, and inviting someone into a part of our lives that is painful. This can be terribly gruelling for someone who is independent. However, if we look at the negative effects of not having the support it can lead to further isolation and withdrawal. Mental illness is legitimate and asking for support is not a sign of weakness. Like anything in life, when there is a problem we need to accept and use a strategy to correct it. Take a step to unload the burden that you feel, and acknowledge you can’t do this alone. It is worth it, even if it is one step at a time.”
The above excerpt from an article on beliefnet.com emphasises that point further. You really do need to reach out and ask for help. Mental illness is a legitimate illness and needs to be treated like so. You wouldn’t try and walk on a broken leg pretending everything is fine now would you? No. So again, I’m signing this one off with me imploring you guys to please… if you are struggling to reach out to someone and get the help you sincerely need. Don’t just hide it away and pretend to be fine as you too, deserve help and you too can get through this.
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A quick extra note:
If you want some more information in depression you can check out the links mentioned in the post or there are some more below.