Issues of mental illness are increasingly common place, and with modern life so full is it any surprise?
Work, family, money, social life, Brexit, there are any number of pressures on any one of us, and y’know, sometimes the fact that you’ve run out of fairy washing up liquid can just be the final straw that turns the cracks into chasms.
Do I have a Mental Health Illness?
The trouble with mental health is that it affects everyone in different ways; just because your feelings aren’t what the Google says when you go looking doesn’t invalidate your worries.
There are some obvious ones – maybe you’ve a history of schizophrenia or other mental illness in your family, or perhaps you’re coping with a major life illness like cancer, or you’ve had an accident and are immobilised. For many though, the causes and signs can be much more nuanced.
Have a think, has your behaviour changed? Are you drinking more alcohol? Perhaps you’re skipping work, or bailing out of social occasions? Maybe you just feel like everyone is looking at you or that the universe hates you.
Is your sleeping disrupted, do you feel disoriented or sad and irritable, does the thought of suicide cross your mind?
Are you excessively tired, or suffering digestive problems, unexplained headaches and muscular pains? Have you become short tempered, angry or even apathetic.
Maybe these feelings are entirely normal for you.
Just because that’s how you usually feel, doesn’t mean you have to deal with it alone. If that’s how you feel, I can guarantee you that you are the only person who thinks that. No matter what you think, or what you think others think – it’s not your fault, and what’s more, there are things you can do about it.
What can I do about my mental illness?
Put simply, there are 4 main things you can try to build yourself a ladder away from your mental illness.
Hobbies – do more of the things that you get enjoyment from;
Chat – a problem shared is a problem halved, so they say – just talk about that devil on your back;
Socialise – reconnect with your friends.
A simple list that actually, when you’re feeling down is a huge deal. Unfortunately, with mental illness, you hold the key to your wellbeing. Yes, sometimes it feels like the black haze of depression is hiding that key from you, but you really do hold the key. This brings me nicely on to no 4.
Get help – your GP is the door keeper to outside help, go see them.
If you cannot pull yourself up to go see your friends, or have a chat or think about integrating your hobbies back into your life, then you’re going to need a leg up. Here in the UK your GP holds the key to that – it doesn’t have to be a drug, it can be a referral to formalised counselling, or the way to access the services of local charities. Where I live they provide online counselling, which is like a dream come true since you don’t even have to leave your home to start building that ladder.
You might even find that taking that step to see your GP is all the lift you need to make changes.
Never forget that the simplest and easiest thing to do when you’re suffering is talk, talking saves lives, and it costs nothing. Call the Samaritans in the event of crisis 116 123.