Wednesday 24 May 2017

30 Things I Have Learnt From Struggling With My Mental Health

30 Things I Have Learnt From Struggling With My Mental Health Depression anxiety OCD panic attacks help support mind time to change wellbeing blogger UK

Struggling with your mental health or being diagnosed with any mental illness is often perceived as being a very negative thing. Which yes, I completely can understand why. I wouldn't wish any mental illness upon my worst enemy. OCD, depression and anxiety from my experience are hell. OCD, in particular, has ruined and ruled my life. It's stopped me doing the things I loved and left me in a constant state of heightened anxiety.

However, mental illness is not a choice. Contrary to what some people think. Therefore, because I didn't decide to have a mental illness one day, I have to accept and deal with the fact that I'm part of the one in four club, the best that I can. Struggling with any mental illness is never easy. Understatement of the year there. 

But on a serious note, it's a huge learning curve for anyone. I've developed a lot as a person because of what I've been through. I've learnt a lot, through the years of struggling with my mental health. Both positives and negatives. However, I firmly believe that in every negative, a positive can be found. Without going through the debilitating lows, I wouldn't be passionate as I am today about ending the stigma around mental health and supporting those who also struggle daily with their own battles. That's got to be a positive right? 

Here are 30 things I have learnt from struggling with my mental health: 

1. Mental illness is just as real as physical illness 
2. Some people really don't understand mental illness at all. Thanks, media, thanks a lot. 
3. The stigma around mental illness is massive 
4. Lots of mental illnesses can have very physical side effects
5. Mental health services are severely overstretched and underfunded 
6. It takes a long time to find the right type and dosage of medication for mental illness 
7. Group therapy is really really awkward 
8. It is incredibly important that you find a therapist who you get on with otherwise you will get nowhere 
9. Recovery is not a linear process 
10. Recovery is hard and long but the end is bright, and that's all that matters 
11. Bad mental health days are just the worst 
12. I shouldn't believe everything I think 
13. Thanks to the media, too many people still believe that OCD is an adjective used for individuals who like everything clean and tidy 
14. Too many people still struggle and suffer in silence with mental health problems 
15. Private therapy is hella expensive 
16. Admitting I struggled with a mental illness was really scary, but once I did it, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders
17. People who have struggled with their mental health are some of the most supportive and understanding people 
18. They are also the most determined to end the stigma and bring about equality for those who suffer from a mental illness 
19. An understanding doctor is crucial for the first step in getting the right treatment and diagnosis
20. I'm stronger than I think 
21. Mental illness is not incurable. I can and have got better 
22. Sometimes the hardest part of struggling with a mental illness is the stigma that surrounds it 
23. It's perfectly normal to relapse 
24. You don't have to put a label on every behaviour you have, Nicole. Your mental illness is part of you. Not the whole of you.
25. There is nothing wrong with crying and opening up about your struggles with your mental health 
26. Self-care is so important 
27. And definitely, something we all including myself, need to practice more
28. Nothing beats finding someone you can talk to openly and honestly about your mental health struggles 
29. One in four people struggles with their mental health. I'm just part of a very big club. 
30. There is always a positive to be found in every negative 

There is definitely a mix of good and bad in there. But in my eyes, the good always outweighs the bad. 

I would love to know what you have learnt from struggling with your mental health? Is it similar to what's on my list? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, as always X

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