For those of you who don’t know, today is ‘Time to Talk’ Day – a day dedicated to making sure we’re talking about mental health. To begin a conversation about it, to help be there for others, to know we’re not alone – to end the stigma. It’s fuelled by a movement of people called Time to Change who are working tirelessly to bring awareness, reduce discrimination & who are fighting to change the way people think about mental health.
With all this in mind, I wanted to share with you why I believe it’s important to talk.
Talking can change a life. In fact, talking can save a life.
It saved mine.
Living with depression and anxiety has had me in some pretty f*cking dark places. So dark, in fact, that there have been times when I’ve contemplated not being here anymore.
I’ve felt ‘unworthy’ of life. I’ve wanted it to end.
There it is. Scary to say it outloud – in fact, I can tell you now I’m petrified to hit publish just for writing that line alone; but it’s scarier still to feel that way and say nothing – let it fester and grow roots inside of you.
I didn’t say it outloud to anyone for a long time – I felt pretty certain that nobody would understand or I’d be told I was selfish and to snap out of it. I didn’t talk about my mental health fullstop for years. The fact is, saying something like that – or really most anything related to mental health, makes people uncomfortable. I’m not entirely sure why – I guess it’s because people just don’t understand or know what to do with it – they don’t know what to say. & that’s fine. Sometimes there are no words – sometimes, you just need to be the person that listens; that picks up the phone, that meets at the coffee shop or that gives a hug.
My life changed when I met my counsellor – thanks to MIND I was paired with absolutely one of the best humans I’ve ever met, and she helped me over 24 sessions, to unlock, unpick and untangle all of the ugly stuff that was making me ill. I’m not saying counselling ‘cured’ me, but talking with her was one of the best things I’ve ever done. She and I worked together for hours, and I left my final session with the right tools to be able to try & manage my mental health better.
I’m not saying that counselling works for everyone, or that everyone needs counselling to be able to recover – but what I am saying is that talking can make the world of difference. It can lift weights, it can mean you’re not alone, provide an outlet & stop rotten feelings of isolation and loneliness. There is no shame in needing or asking for help, in admitting that you’re not coping.
Since opening up and choosing to talk to my counsellor, my boyfriend, my friends & to all of YOU on here(!) my life has changed – I’m still living with anxiety & depression, but it’s not half as heavy to carry as it was before. It’s made it so that I can now live a life where I’m more open about everything, I don’t shy away or feel at all ashamed and most importantly, I’m not so afraid anymore.
& if you’re on the other side of the coin – if you know someone who might be going through a tough time, who might be suffering, please reach out to them. You don’t have to put them on the spot, just pop them a text, take them for tea & cake. Try not to be dismissive of what they say, and don’t be judgemental – listen to them. If you’re not sure how to help, maybe steer them towards some lovely folk that can – MIND, Rethink, Samaritans – they’re all there to help. Just be there, best you can – you could save a life. I can’t stress that enough.
Let’s get the conversation started – whether it’s a friend, parent, Grandparent, counsellor, Samaritan, Doctor, neighbour, sibling – don’t be afraid to talk. You can find tips for starting that conversation here – https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day-2018/tips-starting-conversation
HUGE big fat kisses for reading this one – like I said, I’m petrified – but I shouldn’t be. Talking about this stuff has changed my life & I belive it’s gonna carry on doing just that.