Jess blogs about her experience of opening up about her mental health and the support she received as a result.
Last week I felt as though the world was all wrong, I was in the depths of depression and had been seeing many mental health professionals. I felt lost and alone despite the brilliant support of my boyfriend and the Elefriends.
I have been battling with mental health problems for what feels like most of my life and two years ago I finally got a diagnosis that meant I could put a label on my problems. It also helped me to get support and understand why I feel the way I do. But what would really have made a difference? A friend.
I was never brave enough to tell anyone until now because it can be really difficult to start a conversation about mental health. I recently decided that I would tell my closest friends, but knew I couldn’t just go up to them and say “oh by the way, I have depression and anxiety”, so instead I wrote a blog post and sent it off to them.
Some might say I was searching for attention, and maybe I was in a way, though I see it as reaching out to try to explain to others why I sometimes ignore messages or seem to find ‘normal’ things difficult. I think I also wanted to explain to them and show them what mental health is really about.
The following few hours were full of fear and anxiety as I wondered if what I had done was right and what the response was going to be. As time went by I received many messages of support and was reassured, but for some reason that didn’t make the following day any easier. Leaving my room that day was near impossible, I felt as though the world knew and I wasn’t sure I liked that.
Over the last week though, things have become a little easier for me despite the fact I have been feeling at my worst. By reaching out, I now have many more people who I can go to, even if that means dropping them a text asking for a hug, or to meet for lunch. It has made me feel that it is ok to not be ok.
My friends now check my blog when they can and it helps both them and me. It has also taught me that it is good to talk about things and if, like me, you prefer to write then maybe that is a way to share your story when you want and need to.