Removing the Shame In Talking About Mental Health

UntitledI have been very honest about the fact that I am in the middle of a mental health crisis, one that I am finding very difficult to manage. My usual ways of coping just haven’t been helping. A lot of the time I have been so fatigued I haven’t had the energy to do the simplest of self-care actions.

Recently, I saw the hashtag #365daysofselfcare on Twitter and followed the link to the website Blurt. I decided that this is just what I need right now. It will get my focus back onto my self-care. Posting about it each day will help me to rebuild the habit and keep myself accountable.

Its been two weeks now since I started participating in the daily hashtag and it has indeed been very helpful. I am paying much more attention to taking care of myself and making time for self-care every day. There has also been an additional unexpected outcome of posting daily, it has got me talking about my mental health.

This really shouldn’t be a revelation for me, I write and make videos about my mental health all the time. However, when I write or make a video, I do so after the fact. I do talk very openly, but it is done in retrospect. My sharing is delivered in a reflective and measured way.

In contrast, the daily sharing I am doing with the hashtag on my Instagram and Twitter is raw and uncensored. I am sharing what is happening on that day, at that moment. In posting this way, I have often caught myself thinking, “I sound like I am a right state”, worrying what people will think of me. Its been a surprise to notice that I still carry shame around my mental health, despite being so open about it.

Shame and stigma is a corrosive side effect of mental illness. It stops people asking for help and puts them more at risk of harm, isolation and worsening overall health. The shame is senseless, its an illness, what is there to feel shame about? Physical and mental health is part of everyone’s everyday life. We don’t shame someone for having a broken leg and tell them to pull themselves together, do we? We help them, supporting them whilst they heal. The same compassion needs to be extended to those who have mental health problems.

I am so pleased to see so many people and organizations talking openly this week as part of mental health awareness week. This must continue, not just this week but permanently. Living well with and recovering from mental illness, begins with removing the burden of shame.

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Day 7 of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

IMG_20180506_232842_244It’s been a funny old day today. Woke at 7.30 so l could take my first thyroid medication. Fell back to sleep and woke at 10.30. Had every intention of going to the seafront for the Magnificent Motors event which started at 11, but l was just so exhausted it took me until 12.30 to actually make it out of bed. I decided to at least give it a try and headed to the seafront.

However, my mood was so low and anxiety so high that the crowds were too much. Did a quick walk through and then decided the best act of self-care for me today, was to just allow myself to come home. Once back indoors, I put my feet up, watched snooker and did a bit of colouring. Sometimes it’s ok to give in, do something else and not beat yourself up about it.

Day 6 of #365daysofselfcare 

This Blog is part of  the #365daysofselfcare challenge
IMG_20180505_212423_769Today was my most daring act of self-care so far!
I’ve been here in Eastbourne for six months now. Due to what’s happened with mum and with my own mental and physical health, I have been isolating myself a fair bit. I know all too well that this is not good for me. It’s vital for.my feeling at home and settled here, and for developing a social network, to get out and meet new folk
Today l was brave and went to the Bourneout LGBT drop in cafe. I was nervous but everyone was so friendly and made me feel very welcome. Had a lovely hour chatting and now l might find it easier to attend an event! Some high quality self care that is!!!

Day 5 of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge 

IMG_20180504_213822_229Today’s act of self-care, was to persevere with my local GP to be seen by a doctor, after weeks of trying and having no luck.

I am so glad I persisted as it turns out that my blood tests show l have an under-active thyroid! This could explain why my depression and anxiety has become so severe over the last six months and explain to crippling fatigue I’ve been experiencing.

I’m also low on vitamin D  and my cholesterol is high. Apparently this also all linked to hypothyroidism.  It additionally explains the carpal tunnel syndrome too!

I am of course not happy to know l have hypothyroidism, but I am happy to at last have a reason for feeling so terrible. I am very hopeful that the new medications will get me feeling back to normal soon. Thank goodness l managed to see a doctor!

After  a very eventful day, I am cow curling up in bed, watching Starwars, and then having an early night

Day 4 of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

IMG_20180503_235112_019-01After yet another bad nights sleep , unsurprisingly, today has been another tough day. However, having self-care at the forefront of my mind, I decided to be gentle and allow myself a day in bed.

I really wanted to get some writing done so I simply wrote from under my duvet, in the comfort of my pyjamas.

I got up briefly to cook a decent meal, sing to some music, eat the meal, and then got back into bed.  My biggest act of self-care today, is reminding myself that sometimes the basics are all you can manage, and that is OK.

Day 3 of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

2018-05-03_00.38.03-01Today can best be described as a, ‘wading through treacle’ day.

I had a  counselling this morning. It helped to share how I’m feeling and to vent my frustrations at my additional health issues. Having someone to talk to is so vital.

I felt quite lost once back home and very frustrated with myself. I did lots of gentle talking to myself  and reminding myself that my feelings were both understandable and valid.

I managed to find some motivation later in the afternoon and made a video for my channel. I also made nutrient packed salad despite the temptation to buy junk.

However, I wasn’t mindful of the time and sat editing my video until almost 1am. I tried not to get cross with myself and just set the morning alarm for a couple of hours later.

I decided it would be helpful to take a little more time to wind down before getting into bed, so I made myself a hot chocolate and sat in bed reading a chapter of a book before turning of the light and settling down at 1.45am

Tomorrow is a new day.

 

 

Day 1 Of #356daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

IMG_20180430_214524_449-01I awoke this morning feeling absolutely exhausted. Looking at my fit-bit, it says I manged 5 hours and 19 minutes. It is so frustrating to be so tired but somehow still manage to struggle to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Despite having to crowbar myself out of bed, l actually ended up getting a fair bit done!. It was helpful having this new self-care endeavour at the forefront of my mind. I started my morning with a healthy shake, packed with mood supporting nutrients. I then sat down to do some writing, but was mindful not to push myself. After a couple of hours writing I  cooked myself a healthy meal and watched the sunset (even if it was from my lounge!) This evening I sorted out my bullet journal for the month.

Despite the dreadful way I felt this morning on waking, by taking it slowly, one thing at a time, I ended up having a really nice balanced day!