It’s #TimeToTalk day and annoyingly I’ve been in bed, feeling pretty ‘not so good’ all day. That being said, I’ve been able to keep up to date with all the awesome stuff that’s been happening across the UK to mark the day, and to help encourage people to join the conversation and start talking about mental health.
For me, having the space, and the chance to speak to others about my experience of mental illness is so incredibly important, and even though I have a fantastic support network there are definitely still days where I feel that I’m unable to speak about what I’m going through. I often struggle with feeling unable to ‘struggle’ because I usually speak so openly about my experiences, because I’m often helping others and talking about my own recovery means that I do, at times, feel incredibly ashamed when I am finding things particularly tough. Recently I’ve been battling with stigma that I think I’ve imposed upon myself – I’ve somehow managed to create a set of expectations (which may or may not be true), these expectations are what I’ve perceive or think others feel about my mental health. By this I mean that I (more often than not) find myself thinking that others are fed up with my mental illness, and that because I blog about my mental health then others assume that I’m able to handle the ‘tough days.’ I’m not. I’m 100% not.
My mood has been so unpredictable lately, and I’ve been growing more ashamed of my mental illness because, instead of ‘getting better’ I am slowly noticing the intensity and difficulty of my past, my present and (sigh) my future. I’ve dealt with a lot of stuff since over the past few years, from extreme highs to horribly extreme lows, but apparently no in between. I’d somehow managed to start managing in a way that meant I wasn’t continuously beating myself up about things, and finally things started to feel ever so slightly bearable. But, there’s been an annoyingly horrible, stressful and pretty soul-destroying shake-up in my recovery lately, and I’ve found myself back in that “who would want to be around me”, “I’m useless,” “I will never get through this” and “I have no idea how to get through this” mode. I’ve started a new stage in my therapy – EMDR – which is most likely the reasoning behind the increasing intensity (or decreasing ability to cope) in terms of my mental health.
But, the support I’m getting from my psychologist is brilliant, and although I’m struggling I’m willing (even if ever so slightly) to keep trying my very hardest to move forward. Just getting to this point has been incredibly difficult, and I have a number of wonderful people who have been so important to my recovery that I honestly don’t think I could ever thank them enough. And, one of the weirdest parts of my mental health journey is that I now work in a role where I’m able to try my hardest to encourage others to get help, I am able to signpost them to further support. And, I’m able to those who’ve helped me continue to help others – and that’s pretty ace.
Time To Talk day has been fantastic – especially over on social media, where #timetotalk has helped get the nation talking and help break the silence that surrounds mental health.
In a weird way it was almost like I’d preempted being ill today, as we had one of our Time to Talk events on Tuesday. I work at a university, and being able to encourage staff and students to talk about their wellbeing was something that I really did enjoy. Plus, the free Time to Change tea bags went down a storm…
Other departments across my university held Time to Talk oriented events today, and the photos all look fantastic. That teamed up with the rest of the nation’s discussions, including politicians, companies, emergency services and more makes me feel very proud of the efforts of those who have worked so hard to encourage others to speak about mental health. What an ace day for tackling mental health stigma, and what an ace day for those who have joined in with discussions. Talking about mental health can be challenging, and a little scary, but it is so so important.