Break The Mental Health Stigma #WorldMentalHealthDay

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As most of you are aware, I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is classed as an invisible illness due to the symptoms usually being unseen. However, I also have another invisible illness; anxiety.

Mental illness is invisible and there is a stigma that comes with that as people find it hard to understand what’s going on when they cannot physically see it. I actually find it so much easier to talk about my bowel movements than I do my anxious thoughts and feelings. It’s crazy!

It really upsets me that people find it so difficult to talk about their mental health for fear of what other people might think or how they might be judged. It is such a taboo subject to talk about any mental health issues. However, it is perfectly okay to talk about our physical health. I would love to see the day where it is considered normal to say, “I’m feeling a bit anxious today” or “My depression is really getting me down at the minute” just like saying, “I have a really bad cold.”

It is so important that we raise awareness of mental health as there are people who are suffering and are too scared to speak out. I know that I was for a while but when I did, it helped so much.

My Experience with Anxiety

My anxiety began a couple of years ago due to my health. I was experiencing a bad flare up of my ulcerative colitis and under a lot of stress. I had to take a few months off from working and it totally knocked my confidence. I felt panicky any time I left the house. I could hardly walk into a shop without feeling like I was going to pass out. I found it extremely hard to breathe a lot of the time and had a constant tightness in my chest.

I eventually gave in and went to the doctors and was given anti-anxiety medication. This helped immensely. Alongside taking medication, I made sure to do yoga every day and began writing helpful quotes in a notebook that I looked at every time I felt the anxiety creeping in.

Now, my anxiety is more manageable. I had a few months off of my medication but I have recently had to go back on it. I do still have days where my anxiety levels are higher and I have panic attacks occasionally. I am not perfect and sometimes when the panic attack strikes, I can’t stop it and just have to breathe my way through it. A panic attack may be different for everyone but when I have a bad one it is so intense and can be terrifying. I can’t take a proper breath, my chest is tight and it can feel like I’m going to die. Seriously, it can be that bad! There are times when I get anxious and I don’t even know why. There is no valid reason. It’s such a complex thing to describe and it is different for everyone. There are certain things that can trigger my anxiety but it can also be different day-to day.

So, I invite you today to make one step to support mental health awareness and help break the stigma. Some ideas are:

  • If you suffer from a mental illness, please speak to someone about it. This could be your friends, family or see a doctor. Don’t ignore your symptoms!
  • Raise awareness by sharing this post and also reading up on mental illness and becoming clued up!
  • Support someone that you know is struggling.
  • Speak up when you hear someone speak wrongly/negatively about mental illness.

Check out the following resources to learn more about mental health:

I hope this helps to provide some insight and I just want you to know that you are not alone.

“Suffering is temporary, and it will get better.”

Love and light ❤

Rebecca xo

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