I am passionate about mental health because of two reason. 1) As someone who has/had suffered from it, I understand myself better, I don't let it define me but I can't deny it has changed the person I am, but for the best reasons possible. 2) I don't want anyone to suffer mental health problems on their own, as so many do. Although I had the support from my close family, outside that bubble, help from friends wasn't really part of my recovery. But it was because no one talked about it!
My mental health story starts off two months into my first year at high school (year 9). Anxiety like all mental health issues are invisible and when mine struck during an English lesson, this would be the start of my two years of missing school, becoming a depressed, lonely 14 year old (who really didn't understand much what was happening!) because of my mental state of mind. Of course at the time, 14 and 15 year olds wouldn't understand, frankly neither had I, the current mental state I was in and how detrimental it was for me at the time.
This anxiety outbreak had caused me to miss two years of school, stopped me from having social activities, crying on the sofa almost every day, stopped me from getting dressed and stated a habitual cycle of laying in my pyjamas without moving from the sofa all day, feeling so low and water way to much day time TV. This caused my mom to become my full-time carer which meant to her having to quit her job, put pressure on the whole house with a negative and depressing atmosphere that surrounded to number 46. Although my anxiety originally started with school, this meant I couldn't access lessons, social interactions or even just general 'living'. It was ROUGH.
My mental health problems showed me that internally I was a stronger person if I battled with this through the power of mind control (sounds magical already!) rather than chemicals. Although I was offered to take medication to solve my problems, with the help from my mom, in particular, she was a strong advocate to see a counsellor.
Seeing my counsellor, Danielle, she helped me understand my anxiety, what in particular triggered my nervous thoughts about school and how this transpired towards everyday activities for example putting on my uniform or leaving the house to go for a walk. I can't believe I am the same person who now travels on trains and buses lives 2 1/2 hours away from home yet at the peak time of my mental-health and anxiety I couldn't even walk around my little village where I lived for 15 years without having a full-blown panic attack crying and screaming and barely coping with anything.
At the time if anyone had asked me why I was missing so much school, honestly, I wouldn't really know how to answer because no teenager really understands what they're going through themselves and personally I know that mental-health ha(d)s a very big stigma against it however I am full believer that the stigma of mental health is reducing. Being ashamed of something as important as keeping good mental health is now being far more recognised. Condseiring that 2/3 people will be affected by mental health at some point in their lives.
Although I wouldn't go far to say as I'm proud of having mental health problems. What I would say is from having my anxiety, it has taught me so much about myself. More compassionate, understanding, more independent person than I ever thought I would be. Learning about my anxiety through a counsellor helped me with problems, shown me coping strategies and helped find my confidence so that if I ever struggle with a similar problems later in life, I'll know how to deal with it. I became my own best friend in terms of knowing what is right to me, understanding myself almost to the T, I know when I have those feelings of anxiety/ depression or panic and stress again, once before it would have ruined my day and I wouldn't be able to cope with the world and it would feel like it's crumbling and it's never going to stop. Today I know that I am strong resilience person because of my anxiety, I'm able to tackle the world with a big smile on my face with courage and pride in my shoes to say... yeah–I got mental health issues but that doesn't stop me at all.
I helped turn, to what was my barrier of life, to now the reason as why I am Martha. Having mental health issues doesn't define me as a person nor do I let that stop me but I'm able to turn what once was negative, into a very much positive. I am my mental health- I'm conformable with who I am because of it.
My Mental Health Story,
Simply Martha x