Mental Health… Where do you start to try and talk about it? It’s a crazy thing, isn’t it?
You can try and think back to times when everything seemed all bright sun and colourful rainbows, but for some reason, even with the same sun and same colours of the rainbow; it doesn’t feel so bright and colourful anymore.
It's hard to think sometimes how the same person, with the same smile, same laugh, same loving and caring attitude can all of a sudden disappear. Almost like a light gone out. You can try and try to pretend that everything is okay and carry that same person, but that's all it is.
When I first started seeking medical help for my mental health around 4 years ago, it wasn’t something that was really discussed so easily. There weren’t many people speaking out, not many public figures and nothing that really made me feel it was okay to talk about. I was ill. However, not a cold or the flu, where it was easy to take a week off work to recover. But an illness that I couldn’t even understand nor explain myself. How could I explain to my employers and family why I was too ill to go to work?
I certainly didn’t look it. Just like having the flu, I couldn’t get out of bed. I thought is this just me being lazy, you can't just not go to work because you feel sad. But I didn’t just ‘feel sad’. I was a shell of who I used to be, trying to chase the highs of life one hundred times more than I used to with a thousand times less energy or motivation to do so.
Years of taking pills the doctor gave me didn’t really seem to help much. I didn’t really care about myself and would often take health risks because what was the worst that could happen? Death? I was told so often how much people care about me and value me. Its a shame that after my first suicide attempt my friends got scared and ran away, but who could blame them when they had no idea what was going on.
Throughout the years I would think about suicide a lot. Glorifying it, like it was a peaceful and beautiful thing. Like it was the best thing that could happen to me. But was it? Is feeling so low about yourself that you take your own life the ‘best’ thing that could happen to you? Simply, no. At the lowest times it really does feel like it though. When you just feel like you couldn’t get any lower, you are a burden on any soul you meet and feel as if you have no real value in life. It’s a difficult mindset to get out of.
Luckily, I did. My mental health issues haven’t gone away. I've just learnt about myself and what was good for me. I looked at my life and thought, what do I want? It feels good to ask yourself what you want sometimes. I stopped trying to please people, people who didn’t care whatever I did. I started doing things I liked, doing things that made me happy. I left the job I thought I loved, stopped seeing the people I thought made me happy. Just really started being selfish for my own sake.
Does this make someone a bad person? Not a chance. A massive part of the healing process is finding yourself and surrounding your life with everything that makes you happy. Remove toxic people and environments and appreciate those people who do truly care and love you. The kind of people who don’t judge you for being who you are. Who don’t give up on you. We all make mistakes, I was given a permission slip to make them when I was brought into this world.
So what do I do now? I cherish my family and friends. I appreciate the small things and stopped worrying about things that I can't change because what's the point? All it does is makes you feel bad.
I also started a Mental Health organisation called ‘Mental Time’. I felt like I wanted to achieve something, but not just anything. Mental health is something that I am very passionate about. There are so many people out there who may feel like I have felt before. I just can't take it. Its not nice.
I told my family one day what I was going to do, they loved the idea and supported me all the way.
How am I going to help people? I have no mental health training, no relevant qualifications or experience. You would be surprised how easy it is to help people. Sometimes all people want to do is to chat without fear of judgement. All you have to do is be willing, and I mean genuinely willing. Not only do I help others in need, but by helping them I get this great feeling. By helping others I am helping myself. I am doing something good in the world without the want or expectation of anything in return.
So, what I am aiming to do with Mental Time is based off my own experience. There are many people and organisations doing great things out there, where people can get help. However, from my experience I found it very difficult to pick up the phone and call, or email or even visit a website. I imagine I am not the only one like this, because it is hard. I want to push the message of instead of waiting for someone to reach out for help, let's reach into our loved ones' lives. Do they seem different? Not showing their face much or just not the same person you’re used to? Just ask them. Are you feeling okay? It could make a massive difference. Just those four words could save your friends, mums, dads, sisters or brothers life. Its crazy that, isn’t it?
As much as I wish I could save the world, I can’t. But I can sure try. And you could help.
If you would like to get involved, get in touch on the Mental Time website.
Remember that people care, if by nobody else, I certainly care.