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As a mental health nurse, I also need help

Thursday, 02 July 2020 Aisling

It took Aisling years to realise that she had to look after her own mental health problems too.

Mental illness does not discriminate. Mental illness cannot always be seen. Mental illness can be difficult to understand.

Even for me as a mental health nurse I find it hard to understand and cope with my own mental health. No one is perfect. Everyone has mental health just like they have physical health.

Mental health problems still attract prejudice today. Yes, people speak up when someone famous dies or talks about it, but then it is soon forgotten about. But, for those experiencing difficulties with their mental health this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Those around me have always only seen what they wanted to see. No one truly wanted to delve deeper or maybe I would not allow them to –  until I was lucky enough to I find that one person I can truly be myself with.

Over the years I have always experienced difficulties with my mental health, in particular with anxiety and my self-image. I have attempted to control it in the best way that I could which normally leads me to me avoiding  people and situations  or coming across as angry towards others.

Throughout training I learned about anxiety and depression. But it has taken me a long time to notice this in myself

Throughout my training as a mental health nurse I have learned about the words anxiety and depression, how to notice this in other people and how to help them help themselves. But it has taken me a long time to notice and acknowledge this in myself.

My anxiety can seem to others that I am being sensitive or being stubborn, but it is so much more than this.

The years of cancelling plans and avoiding phone calls have to be over now. I have to try to help myself with my own mental health problems just as I have helped others with theirs too. 

Depression found a way of replacing my confidence with anxiety and self-hatred

Depression found a way of replacing my confidence with anxiety and self-hatred. It's not just inside your head. For me it stopped me from finding happiness for years and then if you are lucky enough to you find your happiness, it tries to prevent you from embracing it and enjoying the little things you used to love to do.

You never know what reaction you will get from others. If you do try to explain and you don't get the reaction you hoped for you feel lost. In the past people have described me as 'always angry,' but maybe that was the way I seemed because I needed a friend that I could truly lean on.

Depression and anxiety can be the face of someone that is smiling, telling jokes and being happy. I have a great family, a great job, an amazing wife to be and the world’s cutest dog so why would I be depressed? Yet I am.

Mental illness will show you who your real friends are and how lucky you are to have those people around you who care, just like I do.

I thought becoming a mental health nurse at the age of 21 would make me immune and able to face anything. But, four years on I now understand that everyone needs help sometimes no matter who you are.

Mental illness does not discriminate. Even mental health nurses, need help and support sometimes

Mental illness does not discriminate. Even mental health nurses, need help and support sometimes. If you need support, talk to someone, it does not have to be someone you know, it can be anyone. This will help you take your first step to recovery.

For more information about depression, check out our info pages.

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Information and support

When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Visit our information pages to find out more.


Share your story with others

Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.

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