An Open Letter: To Everybody Who Has Reached Out to Me

To those who have helped me,

 

I have been using Twitter regularly ever since I started writing. Sometimes this was just to vent about something which was bothering me at any given moment; sometimes it was to promote blog posts that I thought people may enjoy or appreciate. In any case, I have made so many new friends since I started Tweeting and blogging.

 

Of the friends that I have made, I appreciate most of all of the people who have reached out to me when I was in a bad place. Whether I had been silent and you sent a message to check on me or if you have picked up on any of my cries for help and reached out, I want you to know that I appreciate this to no end. The fact that you have reached out to a stranger online shows me that you have a good heart and your intentions are pure. To me, that is a wonderful thing and it restores some of the faith I once had in humanity.

 

I am still struggling with my mental health and I know that I still have a tendency to retreat when things get rough; however, I do eventually remember that you all are there for me. I hope that you don’t take it personally when I don’t reach out, as you have all reminded me time and time again that you are only a message away. It is difficult to talk when I am in my darkness and I can’t always reach out.

 

After all that you have done for me in these last 7 months, I hope that I will be able to repay the favour. I hope that I can do something for each of you to show my gratitude. From the bottom of my heart, I feel like anything that I do won’t be good enough but I want to try. If there is something that you need help with or if you are struggling at all, please drop me a message and I will do anything that I can.

 

Thank you all again so much for your kindness, for being so pure and for making me feel like I matter during a time when I felt worthless. You have a special place in my heart.

 

Duncan

 

Love and Peace

My Manic Days: Why I Worry About the Extent of My Depression

This little brain of mine. It’s certainly been putting me through the ringer over the past year.

 

I’ve had my highs and my lows but if I am honest with myself,  I have to say that it has mainly been crippling lows. My depression has brought me to my knees more times than I would care to count. I have been fighting very hard to keep it at bay but no matter how many times I pull myself back up and no matter how many things I learn about my mental health, there is always something in my head which drags me back down into the pits. It seems an almost inevitable part of my life now. I thought I had already come to terms with this but I really haven’t. The knowledge that I will hit a soul-crushing dark spell at some point in the near future is terrifying to me still.

 

Manic Highs

One of the things that is scaring me currently is a pattern that I’ve noticed in my mental health: I almost always fall into a dark spell immediately after I have had a manic high. I go from feeling amazing, untouchable and invincible, to a pathetic little ball of depression who doesn’t want to do anything. Do you know what makes this most annoying? It means I am now scared to be happy. I am literally scared to enjoy things in case I tip over and fall to the point of no return.

 

What Does This Mean?

I have been thinking about my mental health and the patterns that I have described, both in the past and in this post. I don’t want to start diagnosing myself, as that is the last thing one should do when it comes to mental illness. Really, I am just making observations and writing them down so that I can analyse them.

 

In observing the patterns and applying these to different forms of mental illnesses and disorders, the only cases I have been able to compare my experience to have been those involving Bi-polar disorder. This was formally known as manic depression. Somebody who suffers from Bi-polar disorder will go through phases of manic highs, followed by crippling depression. This is of course a simple representation of the disorder, as I understand that there is far more to it than just being really happy and then being really depressed. I have picked up a fair bit of knowledge on Bi-polar disorder over the last few years and I may write a post on the topic at some point but for the purposes of this blog post, I will just leave it at a simple explanation.

 

Naturally, given that my manic highs seem to be followed by not just a period of feeling down but a crippling depression, I am concerned that I may have Bi-polar disorder. Like I said, I am not writing this to self-diagnose and I would NEVER claim to have a disorder unless I had been medically diagnosed with it. I am simply voicing my concerns over the possibility that I may have it. I will obviously need to voice my concerns to my GP if I want to know for sure and this is something that I may end up doing if my concerns increase or even remain in the next few months.

 

What Do You Think?

Do you think that I am concerned over nothing? Am I maybe over thinking things? Do you think that I am right? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Even if you think that I am spouting a load of drivel and that I am worrying too much. Drop me a wee comment or even an email using the contact section of my website.

 

Love and Peace

Talking Mental Health: 5 Reasons to Talk About Your Mental Health

In this world, it’s always too easy to close yourself off from others and keep your mental health woes to yourself. A lot of the time, you may feel crazy for feeling the way that you do and you can’t relate to others, simply because everybody else seems to have their life together and they project a healthy life; however, the reality of the situation is that many of the people in your day-to-day life can relate to how you are feeling and they will be there for you if you ask for their help.

These are some reasons to talk about your mental health, whether this be with a loved one, a therapist/counsellor or just a voice on the other end of the telephone such as the Samaritans. If you’re struggling to talk, you’ve come to the right place.

1. You Owe it to Yourself

You have been fighting this mental illness on your own for far too long, whether you’ve only recently been stricken with it or you’ve been dealing with it for years. It is mentally exhausting and keeping it bottled up is not doing you any good whatsoever. You owe yourself a break from fighting and the best and healthiest way to do that is to talk to somebody about it. It gives you a feeling of relief and release that nothing else can give. You don’t even need to delve deeply into the subject; you can just tell somebody how you’re feeling to get it off your chest. Once you’ve gotten it out in the open, you will notice an immediate release and you can take a well earned break from stressing about everything. Plus, you never know, whoever you talk to may also be able to give some helpful advice regarding your stresses or your mental health.

2. It Raises Awareness

This is a very important reason for me. If more people talked about their mental health, there would be so much more societal awareness and it would help to fight the stigma. One of the reasons that mental health has been stigmatised is because there is a lack of understanding on the subject. The more that people talk about it, the more that people will understand about it. Whether that just means the number of people suffering with poor mental health becomes more common knowledge or it means that more people come to empathise with others who are struggling, it will be a step in the right direction. Talk about your mental illness and fight the stigma!

3. It Helps Your Loved Ones

Now, don’t get me wrong, your mental health is all about you and nothing will change that. It may be strange at first to think that talking about your mental health could help your loved ones but it really does help them. The reason I say this is because your friends and family worry about you. When you’re closing yourself off, they worry about what might be wrong with you. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them you’re fine, they’re not stupid and they will always see through it. They can see that you are suffering and if you keep everything to yourself then it will only make them feel worse. Talk to them about whatever is bothering you. Talk to them about your mental illness and how it makes you feel and act. If they even begin to understand what is going on in your head and why you are retreating all the time, they will worry less and they may even get to know how to help you in your dark times.

4. It Puts Things Into Perspective

One of the worst things about keeping things bottled up is that things get blown way out of proportion when they are kept in your head. You will over think things and build them up to the point where it becomes unbearable. That is dangerous. Both for you and for those around you. Your behaviour has the potential to be very unpredictable when you build things up to that point. It has the potential to make you suicidal. Please do everything you can to stop things from building up like that. The first place to start is to talk about it. This puts things into perspective and allows you to see the issue for what it is; not for what it’s been built up to in your mind. Merely talking about how you are feeling will put it into words, which can be analysed. Talking about it also makes it a tangible thing, which can be looked back on with hindsight. If you keep it bottled up, it only exists in your head and can’t be tangible; for you or for your loved ones. Put it out there. Get it into a tangible form and use it as a tool to help your mental health.

5. It Encourages Others to Talk

We all like to relate to other people. There is not another feeling like it. Part of relating to others is being able to imitate good behaviour or take inspiration from somebody else. In my case, it was when I started reading other people’s blogs that I started relating to people from a mental health perspective. I could see that these people were talking about their illnesses, which must have taken a lot of courage. It was this courage from other people that inspired me to talk about my own mental illness. I like to think that other people reading my blog have taken inspiration to do the same. If even one person has been spurred on by my posts to talk about their mental health, that is an amazing thing to me. Now it’s your turn. I hope that reading this post has helped you to see that talking about it is very, very important and I hope that it may inspire you to do so.

Don’t be afraid to talk. Don’t let the stigma drag you down. Don’t let things build up in your head. Don’t let your loved ones worry about you all the time. Don’t feed the stigma that is stopping others from coming out.

Talk about it.

Love and Peace