As someone who has suffered from a mental health illness, I know just how important this day is.
7 years ago when I was pregnant with Little Miss Chatterbox, I found my mental health started to deteriorate and things got very tough for me.
I had completely lost sense of who I was, I found no joy in the things I once loved and felt completely lost.
I was very lucky that once she was born I had so much love for her and along with her brother she became my everything.
I couldn’t love my children anymore if I tried but yet I wasn’t enjoying being a mum and was finding my everyday life unbearable.
On the outside, I had this perfect smile and acted like I was this “perfectly” happy mum who was loving every minute of life, but yet on the inside I was completely falling apart and felt hopeless and empty with no positive outlook on my future or anything in my life.
From a young age I was aware of how important our mental health is and what a huge impact it has on our daily lives and how we feel.
So once I became ill I was able to identify that I was unwell, but because I was supposed to be this “perfect” mum to my children I felt I couldn’t allow myself to be ill, I went on every day denying myself the help that I needed.
In my head all I kept thinking was that I didn’t have the time to be ill when I had two very young children who depended on me for everything.
I felt that I couldn’t let my family down, I couldn’t let anyone see I was “failing”.
I stopped taking care of myself and dedicated every minute to my children.
I was destroying myself and making myself worse by doing this.
No one had ever told me how important it is to not only look after my children but also myself in order to be the best mum I can be.
I always had the idea that to be a good mum I had to give 100% of myself at all times only to my children and I started believing I didn’t matter.
Over the years I have learnt that there is no such thing as perfection and it’s not something anyone should be trying to achieve.
Eventually with the help of a local charity called Support 2gether and the help of medication and counselling I was able to start putting the pieces back together and rebuilding my life.
I’m not ashamed to say that for me to get to where I am today I have to be on medication.
Would you deny someone with heart conditions or diabetes their medication?
Would you make fun of them and make them feel ashamed because of it?
So then why do people still stigmatise antidepressants and anxiety medication?
We all go through tough times in our lives and it’s completely normal to have bad days, but when you notice that things start to get out of control and you can no longer function like you used to then it’s time to seek help.
Talk to someone you feel comfortable with, it doesn’t have to be a family member.
In fact, most people find it easier to talk to someone they don’t know very well.
Don’t let these feelings consume you and bring you down.
There is help out there and you can get better if you seek out help.
Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means taking action in order to get better for yourself and your family.
It took me many years to get to where I am today and to be honest, I think my mental health is something that I will always have to work hard on to keep my mind healthy.
But just like anyone with a physical illness or condition who needs to keep on top of it to ensure their condition doesn’t deteriorate, so does someone who has suffered or does suffer from a mental health illness.
I think the biggest issue when it comes to our mental health is that too many people still judge others who suffer from mental health illnesses.
The key word here is illness!
If we make such a huge deal out of how we should be having good diets, exercising and making sure we are doing everything possible to keep our body healthy, then why is it there is so little emphasis on feeding our minds with positivity and the things we expose our minds to in order to keep our minds just as healthy as our bodies?
Our mental health is hugely important, so many people are still not aware of just how important it really is.
Even our bodies don’t function well when our minds are not healthy.
We as a society need to start making it a priority to educate everyone about their mental health, we all have one so why do we still feel like we can’t talk about it.
Mental health isn’t just about people who are dealing with mental health illnesses, it’s also about empowering each and every one of us with the tools to know the signs and symptoms of mental health illnesses and how we can not only prevent them but also treat them.
It’s important that we are not ashamed to talk about our mental health, it’s crucial that we start educating people about mental health from a very young age.
We shouldn’t be afraid to speak to our children about mental health, prevention is better than cure.
There is absolutely no shame in having a mental illness, it really is no different than having a physical illness.
And yet far too many people are still being let down because of the stigma that is so awfully still attached to mental health.
There are too many people suffering when they could be getting the help they need, there are too many people who unfortunately see no way out of their despair.
Our mission needs to be to work together to shine a bright light on mental health to ensure that this is not the case.
There is so much help out there, take that first step and get in touch with someone who can help you get well again.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you need to chat, I’m not a professional but have been through a mental health illness and if I can be a listening ear then I’m more than happy to do so.
Never forget you’re not alone in life, there is always a way and always someone willing to help you.
Mental health charities, groups and services
Mental Health Foundation
020 7803 1101
Improving the lives of those with mental health problems or learning difficulties.
020 7780 7300
Supports people through mental health services.
The Centre for Mental Health
020 7827 8300
Working to improve the quality of life for people with mental health problems.
0845 123 2320
Provides information and support to those who are affected by depression via publications, supporter services and a network of self-help groups.
BACP Find a Therapist Directory
Through the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) you can find out more about counselling services in your area.
0843 28 98 401 (every day from 9am-8pm)
PANDAS Foundation vision is to support every individual with pre (antenatal), postnatal depression or postnatal psychosis in England, Wales and Scotland. We campaign to raise awareness and remove the stigma. We provide our PANDAS Help Line, Support Groups offer online advice to all and much more.
0808 808 8000 (every day 24hrs a day)
Support 2gether is a charity that supports People Living with Ante/ Postnatal Depression – Tel: 0783 5040086
Address Omagh Community House 2 Drumragh Ave Omagh Co Tyrone BT78 1DP
General advice and support
Gives free confidential information and advice to help people sort out their money, legal, consumer and other problems.
Support for children and young people
020 7336 8445
Provides information and advice for anyone with concerns about the mental health of a child or young person.
Free, national helpline for children and young people in trouble or danger.
Listening, support and information service run by students for students.
Other places you could go for support
Infoline on issues relating to older people.
Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
020 7837 7324
Provides information, support and referral services.
020 7346 6700
The UK’s largest organisation working with refugees and asylum seekers.
0300 100 1234
Offers advice, relationship counselling, sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support.
Teacher Support Network
08000 562 561
A 24/7 telephone support line which gives teachers access to professional coaches and counsellors 365 days a year. The network also campaigns for change within schools and education policy in order to improve the wellbeing, mental and physical health of teachers.
08444 775 774
Works to relieve and support those living with anxiety disorders by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including 1:1 therapy.
Carers UK is the voice of carers. It improves their lives by providing information, advice, support and by campaigning for change.