I’m sick and tired of seeing people glamorizing anxiety, not just anxiety but depression, eating disorders, OCD, autism, ADHD etc. We live in a time where talking about mental illness is taboo and people would rather pretend they don’t exist than accept the fact that a lot of the people around them are affected by them. I’ll give you some statistics:
- One in every four people in the UK are dealing with some kind of mental health problem
- About a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in Britain
- Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men and about ten percent of children have a mental health problem at any one time
- Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
- Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women and self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
These are scary percentages. Look around you, at your family, lets say you and your mother, your father and your younger brother are sat in a room together. One of you knowingly or unknowingly has a mental health problem, and if it isn’t you, it’s one of your loved ones. It’s scary, and it’s not nice to think about.
I would personally like to say that as a society I think we need to open up more and listen to each other. Just because you cannot see an illness does not mean it is not there. I barely graduated from college having missed big chunks of it due to anxiety.
I don’t normally talk about it out loud for fear of being ridiculed and told to get over it but I am not lying when I say at my worst, I physically could not get out of bed. Some days I would be led in bed with my eyes closed, willing myself to get out of bed, but I could not do it. What if I can’t find my purse? What can I wear? What if I have a heart attack? What if I’m ill? What if we have a test? What if I get kicked out for missing so much time? What if I trip and fall unconscious? What if I choke on my food? What if I forget to breathe? I’m sure to some people these might seem silly but these are genuine questions I wrote down in a diary I kept on the really bad days.
Just thinking subconsciously, “Do they like me? They think I’m ugly. I am ugly. Why does nobody like me? Is it my fault? It’s my fault.” I would be so wound up worrying about everything that I would begin hyperventilating and that’s when panic attacks start. I won’t go too far into the details of panic attacks apart from saying that with a tight chest, a racing pulse, tingly finger tips, a spinning room, nausea and profuse sweating, they can be mistaken for a heart attack, very easily. From the onlookers perspective to the victims, they have all the same symptoms/ feelings. I have gained a lot of control over my anxiety with professional help, but in all honesty, it doesn’t ever really go away, you just learn to live with it.
The link below will take you to a page on the NHS full of mental health illness helplines. From young children to older women and men, help is there if you need it.
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