Personal experiences - Mental health

26 June 2016

Hello my lovelies.

Today I want to try and explain to people that mental health is a real condition and the effects it has.

1 in 4 people will battle a mental illness every year and is more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease, and they often go un-noticed. A lot of narrow minded people think that mental illness is just a way for people to seek attention, no. (If you are one of these people then we can't be friends.) Mental illness is so hard to explain unless you have experienced it, no one understands unless they have been in the same position, but I am going to try.

Over the last 4 years I have experienced 4 types of mental illness, severe depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia...

It all started in 2O13 when I witnessed my amazing, loving dad have a major heart attack and pass away, this is when the post-traumatic stress disorder kicked in. That night is still very vivid and I still get flashbacks and nightmares, like I have gone back in time and I have to relive the whole night again and trust me, it's not pretty. It always repeats itself when I am finally in a good place and happy, it’s like the memory box it’s locked in decides 'f*ck it, I am going to remind you of this and ruin your happiness', (yep, cheers). 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Definition - "a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world."

I have always suffered with slight anxiety but it has become worse over time since this night. My irrational fears and phobias of everything cause my anxiety to go crazy. Everywhere I go I will start to worry that something bad will happen because that's how that night now makes me feel. When an anxiety/panic attack kicks in, it’s one of the most horrid feelings. Everyone experiences different anxiety attacks. When I go in to a state of worry and irrational over-thinking that there will be a bad outcome to the situation I am in, my breathing gets shorter, ALL my muscles tense up and I will start shaking. It's not like a shiver; it looks as if I am having a seizure. My jaw will lock itself together and I can't get my mouth open. Having anxiety is like being in the safest situation but still managing to think of a bad outcome.

Anxiety Definition - "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome"

Insomnia, now this one is a killer. I suffered with this condition for weeks and weeks on end. I had days where I went to work on 2 hours sleep or less. It's like feeling tired but not sleeping, which anyone knows, if you want to sleep and you can't it is VERY frustrating. If you manage to finally fall asleep, you are not asleep for long, tossing, turning, waking up, it's a very stressful experience. It’s weird because if you finally fall asleep at 5am wake up at 7am, you aren’t tired throughout the day and when you go back to bed you would think you would fall straight to sleep because you have only slept for 2 hours, nope. Back to sleep again at 5am. 

Insomnia Definition - "inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness"

Finally, the biggest one, depression. This is the hardest one to explain. When I first started to experience it, it was a combination of the above that caused it. It got slightly worse when almost 1 year on from my dad’s death I finally started to grieve as I had bottled it all up for so long. I lost my friends due to this condition, pushing them away when I didn't realise what I was doing, it takes over your mind and it's a very controlling illness. That was a tough year. I finally started to feel better over the next 8 months, starting to get back to my usual self, happy. Until in January 2O15 I lost another part of me, again so suddenly. My best friend, my un-biological brother had his life taken from him at 20 years old. This is when the depression got me, and it got me bad. On a bad day, depression is like feeling numb, like you're invisible and no one would notice if you weren't there. On so many occasions all I wanted to do was be with my dad and I would think 'no one would miss me if I left'. I never wanted to think this way but its what depression does to a person it takes over and starts controlling you. Over the last 2 years I've seen rock bottom more than once, I have put the people closest to me through so much and I can't thank them enough for everything they have put up with from me. 

I wouldn't wish depression upon anyone; I just wish people would understand it a bit more. We don't mean to be the way we are, we can't help it if we snap, we can't help the way we feel. When you're at rock bottom it is like everything is black, you can't concentrate on anything; you're so emotionally numb that you can't even cry. You can't even form a sentence in your hear to explain to people what’s wrong. Depression feels like a wall that, no matter how much you try, you can't break through. If you do feel emotions, they're so overwhelming. They will send you into a state of sobbing and probably an anxiety attack. Mental illness is like a daily battle with yourself, but you know you will never win!

Depression Definition - "Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living."

 After so much support from my amazing family, loving boyfriend and caring best friend I am finally on the mend. This blog has really helped me keep my mind occupied, I also take Sertraline which has had a massive impact on my life. I have found so many ways to help relax myself and make myself feel better. Going to the gym and eating healthy is also a very good way to help mental illness. I just hope people understand that mental illness is a serious condition and it can be just as bad as any other physical condition. 

Victor Charlesworth - My loving, kind and caring dad. O9.O5.1968 - 2O.O4.2O13.

Dale Pentney - My amazing and supportive bestfriend. O3.O6.1994 - 15.O1.2O15.

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