So, as its Mental health awareness day in the UK, I felt I should blog something. But I actually left the house today, for my second counselling session, so have been feeling a bit meh since and not in the right mood to write anything. Then I realised, that that was probably the point of this blog! To share personal experiences and hopefully to help others.
Mental health awareness day is as it states, to help share awareness of mental health issues. These issues can be seen in the image at the top of the page and I’m going to be talking a bit about just some of these, but not in any particular order.
1/ Stigma, is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t share or talk to others when experiencing mental health issues of any sort, but particularly depression. I didn’t want to tell anyone for months, looking back, I feel sorry for my family and friends as I only answered the phone when I wanted, avoided socialising when I could and didn’t go to church for ages either! I became a bit of a hermit! Then one day a month or two ago I realised I needed help. I knew I had to reach out to those who cared but was worried about how they would react and what they would think of me. But. on a particulary dark day, I felt I had no choice, I reached out to a few friends, I came to admit I needed them and couldn’t do this alone. It was hard to describe how I was feeling, as wasn’t even sure myself, but got there in the end and it was a relief. I felt vulnerable and weak, but they didn’t, they weren’t upset, they didn’t disapprove nor were they ashamed of me, in fact they gave me a hug and told me they were there for me.
So I just wanted to say, please reach out. You are not alone, people do understand. You might even be surprised!
2/ Emotions are all a part of being human, they are inbuilt in everyone of us and are stimulated in certain situations and experiences whether we let them show themselves (or not)! Sadly, a lot of people believe that having emotions or “being emotional” demonstrates vulnerability and weakness. But this comes back to stigma and how we think others perceive us when we show these emotions, or maybe this is how we see those who do express their emotions. Which is why there needs to be more awareness of these and mental health issues, so it can become the norm to talk about how we are feeling and what were experiencing. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of! Though there is such thing as toxic emotions. These are when certain emotions as exasperated and take over our logical thinking. For example anger, this in itself is a normal reaction to certain situations and as long as its dealt with and doesn’t have any knock on effect or bring on any harm to ourselves or others. Another example is sadness, when I went through a few situations earlier in the year it resulted in me feeling sad and disappointed for a while after a moth or two I realised it was more than that, it was getting darker in my world and I couldn’t fight it anymore, I realised something wasn’t right, so I went to the doctor who confirmed I was depressed. Now writing this I’m thinking, why am I sharing this? But, again, why not? It feels taboo, but in reality its more common than we actually realise. Back to the point, sadness becomes a toxic emotion. It’s not always recognised, I’m just glad I figured it out, maybe studying mental health last year helped me to recognise this. But it’s good to keep tabs on how we are feeling. I figured though that the best way of dealing with things is to recognise our emotions then if they are what we perceive as being negative, to offer them to God. My new moto: PRAY about your fears and worries, MEDITATE on His word, REFLECT in His truth and ABIDE in Christ.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”
Ephesians 4:26 NIV
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalms 23:4 NIV
3/ Awareness is an element of mental health which we’ve touched on a few times now and so it’s helpful to be aware of your own and others around you. It’s easy enough to recognise somebody’s physical disability, not so easy to recognise invisible disabilities including mental health difficulties. So we need to be aware of other people’s feelings. We can be on public transport or in a queue in a shop and not know what the person behind us is going through or experiencing, so let’s just be kind to one another and ourselves.
So, stay aware, be aware of yourself and others around you, be kind.
Any questions (I will try and answer) or prayer requests do email me and if your on Facebook, we have a page there to, feel free to join us. Use the link below.
Until next time, Blessings