Let's Talk About Mental Health #timetotalk

 It's time to talk. It's time to change.

Lets end mental health discrimination.

Regular readers may know I suffer with Anxiety, and also depression although I tend to not talk about that side too much. I have been open before about my experiences and troubles with anxiety, and it's not something I am at all ashamed of or feel I shouldn't talk about.

The tough thing is that it's hard for people to understand, let alone talk to you, about mental health and what you are going through.
We all experience depression and anxiety in completely different ways. We have different triggers, different coping mechanisms, and different ways in which these mental health problems affect us mentally or physically.
 (This is a tea bag wrapper, not a condom)

Today there is a Campaign funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Lottery, called Time to Change.
The campaign is set up to make more noise than ever about mental health, helping to take the taboo out of something that affects us all.

There are three things I've experienced when it comes to talking about anxiety, and depression.
1- People not knowing what to say. I can completely understand this. It's hard to ask someone about something you know little about or know that you won't be able to fix, or find the right words to talk about.
2- People saying the wrong thing, either down to just not thinking or being insensitive. One thing I have heard a lot, which kind of infuriates me in all honesty is
"Can't you just not think about it?"
Seems like an easy solution right? 
Worried about dying? Just don't think about it. 
If only it was as easy as that.
3- Making it a competition. I refuse to get involved in competitions when it comes to parenting. You do your thing, I'll do mine. And I certainly refuse to compete when it comes to mental health. It is NOT about who suffers the most, who feels the most depressed, who has had the most treatment, who has suffered with depression for the longest, who is the most anxious, who has the most severe anxiety.
Last year I experienced this in a big way, to the point I had to completely shut down talking about my anxiety on my blog and via Social Media. 
If you suffer from any kind of mental health illness DO NOT let ANYONE make you feel as though you problems don't count and are nothing. 
Because they are not.

If it affects your life in any way then it means something. 

It doesn't matter how small, or large your problem is, how well you do or don't cope. 

You have a voice, use it. Don't let anyone shut you up, like I did.

It's not easy to talk about mental health issues. I might be open about it, I might write about it easily but face to face? I can't get my words out a lot of the time. As I speak about my problems I can hear what I'm saying and a lot of it sounds silly. I can see why people would think that way.
I know that when I speak out loud I tend to follow things up with "I know it's ridiculous" or "I know that's not true" or "I know that wouldn't really happen" but truthfully, that's all a lie. When I say those things it's almost like a reflex, and excuse for the things I'm saying.
I don't really think my thoughts or feelings are ridiculous, I don't know that the things I think, see and feel aren't true or won't happen. 

Today I am celebrating three years of blogging. And with that, and this campaign, I have made a pledge.

I'm not going to be ashamed of the things I think, see and feel. I'm not going to keep them locked up inside anymore. 
Over the next few weeks and months I'm going to write openly and honestly about my experiences with anxiety and depression. Some of it may not make comfortable reading, but if it helps to make a change to someones life in a small way, even if it's my own life that it changes, then it is totally worth it.

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