Tell me a little about your mental illness and if you have some help?
Hi guys I just want to thank Kerry to take part in this project.You can find me at
www.foreverthewanderer.ie/wp I think this is a great idea to spread the word about mental illness.
I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety a little over a year ago when I could finally talk about how I felt. It took me some convincing from my boyfriend and friends to do it because I was in an even worse downwards spiral this time last year. I didn’t understand why I felt this way. I didn’t see it as a big deal because I had always felt this way. I believed that wanting end my life was normal but in reality it wasn’t. I had ( and still have) a mental illness and I needed to get help with talking about my problems.
I began seeing a therapist in the beginning of February of last year. I began to learn that it’s okay not to be okay and I don’t need to bottle up all my emotions.
Have you taken any anti-depressants? If so what effect did they have on you? What advice would you give to someone starting a course of antidepressants.
Yes and I am currently still taking them. I don’t necessarily like taking them but they take the edge off my dark thoughts. When I first start taking them they made me very drowsy and heavy. I didn’t want to do much except curl up and sleep. If you are starting to take anti-depressants I suggest to just take your time and allow yourself time to adjust. With these sorts of medication it’s trial and error so it may take awhile to reach the right dosage because you need to start at the lowest dosage and work your way up. Medication is not a quick fix either it takes time for them to work. So take each day at at time. I believe in you. You can do this.
What coping strategies do you use on a bad day?
On bad days I don’t push myself to do things that I don’t feel like doing or if I’m not in the right mindset. If I feel like staying in bed then I will. Music has been my crutch through this long battle. Even when I wasn’t diagnosed with depression or anxiety. I play music that connects with the way I feel. It helps me because it makes me realise I’m not the only one feeling the way that I am. I also put on horror movies and just focus on the plot and try figure out the ending of the movie to distract myself.
What effect do you think social media has had your mental health? What effect do you think it has on other people’s mental health?
Social media has had a positive effect and a negative effect on my mental health. When I was diagnosed with depression none of my friends were in my life and I felt so alone. Social media didn’t help when I could see everyone I knew were going out having fun while I was stuck at home trying to get used to my antidepressants. Social media has had a positive effect on me because there is a huge community of support towards mental health compared people in my family who had no idea how to support me in my time of need. I have also met some of my best friends online. Some people might not be as lucky as I was with social media. A lot of people had to deal with cyber bullying which greatly affects their mental health negatively. I just hope people don’t have to deal with this. If this is happening I urge you to talk to someone.
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?
The changes that I would like to see are that mental health awareness was all year round and not just during mental health week. To raise an awareness I would like to create a campaign where people come forward to talk about their own mental health to make people aware. I believe that if people talk about their mental health and the reasons behind it, that it could end the stigma.
Have you ever experienced stigma yourself? How did you deal with this?
Yes I have experienced stigma from my family, an ex boyfriend of mine and a teacher in school. My family do not understand mental illness. They don’t agree with taking medication. They believe I should just be happy and that will “cure” my depression. When my boyfriend and I had begun arguing he blamed my depression and anxiety on me. He said I didn’t want to get better and I enjoyed the attention I get from my mental illness. This hurt me terribly because I would never do that. I hate having depression and having to take pills everyday just to be able to function properly. My teacher in school told my mother that I was failing her class and to suck it up and do better in her class. She also said she didn’t care about my mental health or the reasons behind it.
All she cared about was her class results. These people knocked me back on my road of recovery but I came to the realisation that not everyone will understand mental health or care if it doesn’t involve or affect them. I learned that I just have to focus on me.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling in silence with their mental health?
If you are struggling in silence please talk to someone. Opening up is the first step on the road of recovery. Talking helps I promise you. I have been seeing a therapist for over a year now and it has helped. If you can’t talk to a professional, a friend or a family member. Just know that I am here! I will listen and try and help as much as I can.
My links are as follows:
Thank you so much for taking part Anne and helping me to raise awareness for mental health and hopefully reduce the stigma by talking about our own mental illnesses.