Sunday, 7 July 2013

Knowing when to get help.

So it's time for a bit of a chat. Sit down and grab a cup of tea... or coffee which ever you prefer just make sure you bring some biscuits. Chocolate digestives.

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about when you're feeling a bit under the weather. By that I mean you feel utterly crappy and have no idea why or what to do about it.
My entire life I've been a fairly laid back person, direct quote from my mother "If you were any more laid back you'd be comatose". Thanks mum, but you get the idea. The point here however is that I don't know when that changed, all I know is that it did, and not in a good way.

I felt the need to give this a mention because it seems I'm not the only one. Obviously I was aware that this was a big issue for many people, but when you yourself are in that situation, it all becomes a bit more real. As self-centered as that may sound I think we all know it's sadly true.
I've been at uni for the past 3 years and all I've ever heard people say is how it was the best time of their lives. Don't get me wrong here, I loved a lot of it, the people I met I won't ever forget and there were plenty of times that I felt 100% happy that I was there. It was towards the middle of second year that I started to notice I was changing as a person. I wasn't happy a lot of the time, I was irritable and anti-social.
But it finally to the forefront of my awareness when I was writing out my new years resolutions this year (towards the end of my final year as a student). I put my pen down and started to read through them all, then I got stuck on one and just kept re-reading it over and over.

"Be happy".

I was genuinely telling myself to try to be happy. How had I become a person that felt the need to do that? I can honestly say that I haven't once before in my whole 21 years of existence had to force happiness upon myself. It was always just sort of there.
I would always make the most of the situations I was in, I got to a point in my life just before uni where I felt fairly confident (I've never had great self-esteem). Then it was just .... gone.

It's hard to put into words really. Looking back over the past, say, 7 months I realised that I had become the type of person that I really didn't like. I didn't want to see people, god forbid I'd actually have to meet new people. I've never been amazing with new people, always nervous, not sure what to say, but that's all pretty normal. This time though I detested even the thought of it, was scared, but also just couldn't be bothered with it all. Everything felt like too much effort. Uni work, job, friends, everything.

Going from being someone that's known for being "bubbly" to, well a recluse that is perpetually pissed off isn't all that much fun.
I'd been struggling with motivation and physical exhaustion for a long while and although the doctors gave me iron for being anemic, not much changed. Unfortunately I think this played a huge role in my mental state. When you are so tired you can't physically focus your eyes on anything, you don't necessarily feel up to getting yourself out of that bad place you've comfortably curled up and settled in.

So this is my story. I hope to go and find help as therapy was suggested to me as a possible aid.

The reason I shared this with anyone that happens to read this post is so we can bridge that gap. Realise that mental health is a genuine issue for many people. If more people talk about their experiences and less people judge, perhaps these problems would lessen. Individuals won't feel embarrassed about talking about feelings and maybe suggest they want to talk to a professional. It's what they're there for after all.
Hey, if acceptance was a more common personality trait I'm almost certain the number of young people and even older with depression and issues with self-harm and even substance abuse issues would decrease exponentially.

Yes there will be those people in your life that don't understand, but understanding and accepting are two very different concepts. If there are those that can't accept (and yes I have them too) then perhaps talk less to them about it. But most importantly please, please don't let someone make you feel guilty or wrong for feeling the way you do. Just because another person says to you "Why can't you just be happy?" "What have you got to  be depressed about?" it doesn't make you wrong. Calmly explain you are going to get help and that should be enough.
I don't think I can say it better than Stephen Chbosky in The Perks of Being a Wallflower - "And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.” Remember it's fine and, to be honest pretty normal to feel  a bit shitty, no matter how "good" your life may seem to onlookers. Along with that my other favourite quote that perfectly describes how I personally felt and still feel - "And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.”. Being sad, or happy for that matter is not a permanent state. It will change. One minute someone is laughing with friends, the next they are right back down at the bottom. If you can relate to any of this stuff please go and read this book. Like right now.

So I want to end with a little phrase that I'd like to think if more people agreed with it would make this whole discussion a lot easier. So say it with me - "We aren't mad, we might just need a bit of help sometimes and that's okay"
Because it is. If you need it, it's there, go find it, it could be a parent, a friend, a professional, a teacher or even someone on the internet that wrote a rambling blog post about her uninteresting life (jokes aside, my coments/email/twitter/tumblr are all there for you to click the hell out of).
Just trust and I promise it'll work out, for all of us.

>Side note I will write a slightly less emotional filled post about uni. Don't go and rip up your UCAS applications just yet<