The odd week I had stretched into another week. So now I am trying to reconnect. With myself, with my blog, with my work. This week we are away visiting friends and family back where we used to live before heading off to a festival. So I am hoping this break from all that surrounds and suffocates me will be the air I need to breathe again.

Sometimes I am so deep in my own company that I forget that I need other people. In the people that know me, who stay with me through all my ups and downs, I find reminders that I am more than me. I have a history, a life I have lived even if it has gone places or ways I never expected it to. They remind me to keep on living, to share myself with others.

I need that right now. I need taking out of this headspace and reminding that I am part of something bigger. That I am part of people’s lives. Last week it felt like this week was coming at the wrong time, that I couldn’t cope with all the people. I believe now that maybe it is coming at exactly the right time.

It’s oh so quiet…

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Does it ever happen to you that you think you haven’t done something for a while and then you realise it is actually even longer than you thought? Happened to me today with this blog. Knew I hadn’t posted for a few days…but a week?! Oh my how did that happen…

To be honest its been a bit of an odd week. Something has simply not felt right. Not the usual over the top anxiousness or the sad depression that sometimes still hits me. This was more an absence. A feeling of not being quite here. Of detachment.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with their dark moments. I have a few. My main one is to switch off. I shut down and step away. Let whatever is up with me pass. Usually it is quite a conscious decision, this time though it kinda felt outside of my choice. Still I went with it, had an absent few days and now feel like a little more of me is back.

So an odd week as I said. My mental health can still throw me a curveball after all these years of living with its ups and downs. What is it trying to tell me this time?

Time to Talk

Time to Talk

Today is ‘Time to Talk’ Day and to me this is such an important message to get across to people.  Talking about mental health is crucial if we are ever going to get to the point where mental health issues are not swept under the carpet, dismissed as insignificant or seen as something only ‘weird’ people have.  By talking to others people living with mental health issues can be made to feel less isolated and more supported.  It really can change lives.

In today’s busy society, we seem to be in contact with each other more and somehow talk less.  I am in contact with friends all the time via social media yet can feel isolated or unable to talk to people about the times when I am finding things trickier.  At my lowest points, I hid it all away and showed a fake me to the world believing that people either wouldn’t want to know, not know how to react or simply disbelieve me.  And I was right to feel this, I came across all of these attitudes from friends, work colleagues and others.  For some time I was either unable or unwilling to talk to others about how I was struggling with life.  It was a very isolated and lonely time when really I needed someone to say ‘how are you?’ or ‘are you okay?’…and be ready to listen.

I was also wrong though, this was not the attitude of everyone and things have continued to improve, both for me and it seems for the wider world.  People seem more willing to listen and people seem more willing to talk.  The more I talk to people about what I have gone through and still go through, the more I realise that I am not alone and that I have support for those times when I need it or am ready to ask for it.

More though needs to be done.  The expert help available to those in need is woefully inadequate and this often lets people down when they need a professional to talk to.  Mental health issues need to lose the stigma associated with them and people need to get over their awkwardness that often prevents them from reaching out to someone they know is having difficulties.  Having anxiety, ocd or any other mental  illness is nothing to be ashamed off, we ought to be able to talk about what is wrong with us in the same way that someone with a physical illness can.  Only by being willing to talk about mental illness to others and having others to listen to us will mental illness stop being the elephant in the corner.

Having people to talk to and more importantly who will listen to you without judging or dismissing you matters so much when you have struggling with mental health issues.  If someone opens up to you about the struggles they are having, listen to them.  Don’t judge, don’t dismiss, don’t try and sort it for them.  You do not need to be an expert or have ‘answers’ for them, you simply need to be there for that person.  Take the time to hear what someone is saying, to check in on a friend you know is having a tough time, to simply say hello to someone.  I get that it is difficult and you may feel awkward.  You never know the difference that might make to someone though.

If you need someone to talk to, keep talking till you find someone who will support you in the way you need support.  Talk to me, talk to a friend, talk to a group on Facebook, talk to a professional.  Please just talk to someone.

Organisations you can talk to include:

Time for Change