Last week was mental health awareness week, and I had big plans to do a series of posts on mental health issues. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way I’d planned, and I didn’t write about the event at all.
I tried. I tried so hard, but unfortunately the words wouldn’t come. Helping to spread awareness, and reduce the stigma of mental health problems is important to me. I wanted to do my bit, tell my story. I sat down at the laptop many times, with my fingers resting on the keyboard and my eyes focussed on the blank screen in front of me. But that is as far as I got.
I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I have done for a long time. Only recently have I admitted this to myself, and to other people. I suffered in silence for a long time, but now it’s out in the open and I’m making steps towards feeling better. I take medication, I try to look after myself, but I still have periods of poor mental health, and even on ‘good days’ I still struggle.
My mental health issues have left me virtually unable to write recently. Some days, I have no interest in anything, and get by doing only the necessary. It’s the anxiety that’s the killer though. My mind is always racing, and I find it so hard to concentrate. When I do try to sit down and write something, I start to wonder if what I’ve written if wrong, or that my opinion isn’t valid. I worry about all the implications of that: someone may read it and think less of me, I may come across as stupid, something I’ve said may be taken the wrong way and it will land me in trouble. I over analyse everything, writing and rewriting the same sentence over and over. It turns writing in to such a chore, that I often avoid it.
But last week, I wanted desperately not to avoid it. I wanted to write my thoughts on Mental Health Awareness Week. I wanted to get involved in the campaign, to join in with others standing together to raise awareness. Things didn’t work out that way, though, and I remained silent throughout the week. The words I did write never quite felt right, I analysed them and picked them apart, convinced that my writing was terrible and that I was a failure for calling myself a writer when I couldn’t even write a simple post. Anxiety can be cruel, sometimes.
Even writing this was a struggle for me today. My anxious mind is working overtime and I can feel my heart starting to race as I approach the end, knowing that I’ll soon be hitting publish and letting my thoughts out in to the open. But despite Mental Health Awareness week being over, I’m still keen on spreading awareness and making sure talking about mental health is no longer a stigma. Because it’s important. No one should ever feel like they have to suffer in silence.
So here I am, a week late, talking about my mental health, as hard as it may be.
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