Speaking Out

Written anonymously

It takes a lot of courage to speak out about your feelings and mental health. Too many people stay quiet due to a fear of judgement or humiliation. But, mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of. Admitting you need some help or just discussing your situation could be a life saver. Mental health issues ARE real and we all need to do everything we can to help people who may be suffering.

Understandably, you may be feeling apprehensive about telling someone about the way you feel, but in the long run, it is the best thing you can do. I started off by telling my student support officer at school.  This felt like a huge step for me, but because I’ve done it, I can see how that 10 minutes alone has benefitted me. From that chat, I managed to get counselling; which lead to therapy and medication, and more support within school. If I hadn’t spoken out in the first place, I might not be where I am now.

It doesn’t have to be through school; it can be your closest friend or family member.  Talking to your parents is a common fear among people with mental health issues.  Perhaps you are afraid they won’t understand or they will get annoyed. They definitely won’t, they have your best interests at heart and even if they get upset, it’s probably because they don’t want you to feel that way – for your sake. 

Talking about your feelings with someone can help you understand what you feel yourself. Talking about it and putting it into words may seem less messy than if you keep your feelings all jumbled up in your head. You can even write it down in a diary if you feel like you can’t voice it. This can make your feelings make a lot more sense instead of them constantly going round in your head. Raising awareness about your own mental health can also encourage others to talk about it. So many people suffer in some way from poor mental health that if you mentioned it to someone, they would understand how you feel. I know when I started telling my friends about how I was feeling, they opened up about problems they had in the past/their current mental state.

There is always someone around to talk to. 

 

 speaking out

Importance of speaking out

Written leanne arnold

Talking about mental health is SUPER important! Just like it is with anything else.  If you don’t talk about it the subject becomes taboo, and suddenly everyone is afraid to mention it. This can be easily tackled though, if we all spoke more openly about our mental health, good or bad, that taboo would disintegrate which would result in lower levels of stigma. 

I have personally experienced the journey of talking about my mental health, when it seemed the most daunting thing to do. I was suffering with depression and often would self-harm as a coping strategy. Once I had discussed my struggles I really did feel a weight lift from my shoulders; it was like I felt comfort in knowing someone else knew, that when I felt bad I could talk about it rather than trying to cope alone. 

At first, I confided in a school friend, this was difficult and scary, they were very supportive and tried their best to understand. However, because my mental state deteriorated, they had to bring in another person.  At the time I was angry and felt betrayed, but on reflection I understand that they were looking out for me. Once I spoke to a teacher it all became very real and very scary, however the teacher was able to support me in getting help and with speaking to my family about it. Once my nearest and dearest knew I felt relief; I didn’t have to hide, I felt ‘free’. 

My family found it difficult to cope with; I believe a lack of understanding fed into this. However, we all worked together and as their knowledge and understanding grew, so did the level of support. If I had a magic time-machine I would not go back and re-write history. I am glad I spoke to a friend, I am glad they acted on the situation and got me more support. Although it was scary and very difficult at the time, it helped me. 

 

HAVING SOMEONE TO RELATE TO IS UNBELIEVABLY COMFORTING

Written BY 6th form alumnus

Mental health has always been such a taboo subject in society.  Breaking the stigma is so important, as there are so many people out there that can relate to what you’re going through! 

I’ve suffered from Anxiety for 12 years now and opening up to professionals was a very important step in learning to deal with this disorder. I was reluctant at first as anyone would be! It seems terrifying having to explain to someone how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, especially when it sounds so silly to myself when I say it out loud. Through my bad patches of anxiety I’d have at least one panic attack a day, and now 12 years later and with all the strategies I’ve been taught it’s down to no more than once every few months. The anxiety is still very much present, but professionals have taught me methods of defeating the presence before it takes over. 

I went through several different professionals; privately and through known NHS organisations. I didn’t find a huge difference in the teachings of both, but they were both a huge help. They taught me ways to control my breathing if I felt a panic attack coming on, ways to deal with my fears and how to have more positive thoughts. When my anxiety first manifested itself, any little thing could trigger an attack. That was why speaking to a professional was so important; so that I could control what was going through my own mind. Sounds so strange doesn’t it? But when it’s yourself that’s going through it, it is terrifying. 

Opening up to family members is equally as important as professionals. A professional can teach you techniques but family will give you the support you need to get through it. My father was one of the main reasons that I ever got through any of the bad patches. He suffers from anxiety himself so he could relate to everything that I was feeling, which in itself was a blessing. Having someone you can relate to is unbelievably comforting and it made it easier to open up to other family members about mental health. Not everyone will always get it or may not even be the most supportive, but as long as you’ve got someone else closer to you than a professional that you can also talk to, makes all the difference.

Breaking the stigma on mental health, seeking professional help and being generally open about it is so important. You’re not the only person experiencing this and you shouldn’t feel like you are! Speak out and be happy, it makes all the difference.