Personal Bio: I’m Jo and I’m a 29 year old mental health blogger. I used to be a primary school teacher before I became too ill to work. I love animals and nature. I’m a Time To Change champion and an ambassador for a charity called The OLLIE Foundation.
Q1. Tell me a little about your mental illness and if you have sort help?
I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I’ve suffered since my early teens and was diagnosed with depression at 19, BPD at 23 and anxiety, 24. I take a mixture of medication to help me and have just started my third course of therapy.
Q2. Have you taken antidepressants? If so what affect did they have on you? What advice would you give to someone starting a course of antidepressants? If
I have taken antidepressants for a long time, nearly 10 years. I have been on many different ones. I’ve had many different effects from antidepressants from being helpful to sending me further into crisis. My advice for anyone starting antidepressants is don’t worry if the first one you try doesn’t work. There are other options and sometimes it takes trial and error to find the right one for you. But don’t give up on them straight away.
Q3. What coping strategies do you use on a bad day? On a bad day I struggle to use coping strategies that are helpful but I have found some things that make a difference. Writing is a big help to me. It focuses my mind as well as giving me an outlet. I also use a variety of distractions. Pinterest helps me a lot and I will find myself searching quotes or looking at pictures of bookshelves (this calms me).
Q4. What effect do you think social media has had on your mental health? What affect do you think it has on other people’s mental health?
Social media has had both a good and bad effect on my mental health. It’s good as it’s left me less isolated and more able to maintain friendships. The bad effect has been that I do compare myself to others which just isn’t helpful. I think social media can be useful as a tool for those with mental illness but needs to be used with caution.
Q5. What changes would you like to see in raising awareness for mental health going forward? What would you do? How do you think we can reduce the stigma surrounding it?In the future I would like to see more acceptance of mental health and for people to see it as a part of everyday life. I would love to see it put on the national curriculum and therefore educating children from a young age all about mental health and reducing stigma at the same time.
Q6. Have you ever experienced stigma yourself? How did you deal with this?
I have experienced stigma surrounding my mental illness. I was turned down for a job before the interview started because I had a mental illness. I should of reported this but instead I cried all the way home and went into a hole. I wasn’t as confident as I am now at challenging it.
Q7. Finally, yay! I hear you say. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling in silence with their mental health?
My advice to anyone suffering in silence with a mental illness is to talk. Reach out. You will be surprised at the support that is out there. There is a whole online community as well as real life. If you need to be anonymous at first that is OK. We are all here to support you.