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

I’m Back! Wee Life Update

Hello!

I have been very quiet as of late and I feel a little guilty for closing myself off; however, I recognise that it has been for my own mental health and I have to say: I am feeling much better for taking the time off from social media and my blog. Before I get into it, I would like to give a shoutout to the people who have checked in on me whilst I have been quiet. You know who you are and I want you to know that it means the world to me.

Well, I have always said that I will continue to blog as long as I am enjoying it and it is helping me so here I am. I think it’s about time that I give you all a wee life update and let you know how I have been getting on; the good and the bad.

The Downward Spiral

A few weeks ago, I started feeling the side effects of my antedepressants very badly. I was experiencing sickness and diarrhoea. It was horrible and I was off work because of it. I knew that these were possible side effects so I tried to roll with it and wait until I got better; however, it took a little longer than I had anticipated for the side effects to subside. Now, this is where things start to get really bad. The side effects had really affected me physically more than anything else and my sleeping pattern had been badly affected. I was up until all hours of the night and the morning, which obviously did not help with my routine or my mental health. Thus begun the downward spiral.

My mental health began to deteriorate and it only did so quicker and quicker, until my anxiety was so bad that I could not face going into work. I knew by this point that my mental heath was very important and if my brain was telling me that I shouldn’t be in work then I should listen to it and look after myself. I tried this and stayed off work to give my brain as much of a break as I could. Except, I had no idea how much this would eventually affect me in the long run. I was about to hit the lowest point of my struggle with depression up to this point. Days off work turned very quickly into a week and before I knew it, I was off for 3 full weeks. As I started preparing to go back to work, it hit me: I don’t get sick pay from my employer and I have rent and bills to pay at the end of the month. This realisation hit me like a tonne of bricks and I was absolutely floored with my depression. I instantly felt numb, like my brain had just shut down in order to protect me from the anguish that was realising my failure and the impossible situation with which I was now faced. This numbness was very familiar to me by this point but there was something else… something new. I suddenly no longer wanted to be here anymore. I didn’t want to live as somebody who had failed so miserably and fallen so low that I would not be able to pick myself back up. Some of you may be thinking that I was feeling suicidal and you would be forgiven for assuming this; however, I wasn’t suicidal. I wasn’t having feelings of ending my own life; I was having feelings of no longer wanting to exist anymore. It is difficult to explain but I hope that others have felt this as strongly as I have and they will be able to relate to it. If you have, get in touch and tell me about it.

On the Up ‘n’ Up!

I was in the pits for what felt like an age but it was actually only a couple of days. I knew that I had to do something positive and at least try to get myself out of this difficult situation so I did. I arranged to go over to my mum and dad’s house for dinner on the Sunday. I have been in situations before where I am hesitant to talk to my mum and dad about certain subjects but let me tell you: this one was a doozy. Not only was I in a financial crisis but I had to tell them the reason why I was. It meant having to talk about my mental health to a degree that I had never had to reach before. This was scary stuff… but I did my best to stay positive and remember that my mum and dad are there for me. They are my family and they always have and always will be. My maw ‘n’ da!

Well, after dinner, I plucked up the courage and spoke to them about everything. The side effects, the spiral into nothingness, the time off work and the financial troubles. I would be lying if I said they weren’t taken aback and a little upset with me; I had, after all, neglected to tell them that I had been suffering. With that being said, they were absolutely wonderful and more supportive than I could ever have imagined. They were my light at the end of the tunnel. My saviours and my heroes. I could see clearer than ever before that tey are my rock. This feeling of love and support filled my heart to the brim but at the same time, it lifted a huge weight off from my shoulders and allowed me to relax for the first time in weeks. This was the beginning of my gradual climb back up towards being myself again and do you know what? I haven’t stoped climbing! To this day, I am feeling better with each day that passes and I can feel my positive outlook coming back. I don’t know if this is due to the dosage of my meds being increased or if I have somehow had some sort of epiphany during all of the anguish or even during my climb back up. All I know is that I feel fantastic. Will this feeling last? No, it wont… but a big part of me now realises that and knows that it won’t be the end of the world when I drop back down a little. I know that I have support in many places and I don’t need to suffer.

What Now?

You might be wondering: what’s going on now that you’ve managed to fight your way back up, Duncan? To be quite honest, not a lot has been going on recently. I have been taking a lot of time for myself. I have been chilling out and getting a good night’s sleep for work as often as I can. I have been eating as well as possible on this tight budget and I have been seeing my friends and family whenever I can. Now that I feel like I am in a better place, I will be able to write more often. I will be able to start making more videos for my YouTube channel. I will be able to enjoy my life, as well as ensure that I am a more active member of this wonderful blogging and Mental Health Awareness community. I want to start really making a difference in the world of mental health and what better time to do it other than when I am feeling positive and productive?

I will probably be looking for other bloggers to collaborate with in the near future. Already, I am in talks with somebody about a few different projects and I have been in touch with one of my favourite bloggers about doing a collab with them very soon. We had planned to publish a post for World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10th October but life got in the way for both of us and in the end this wasn’t possible. We will be getting together very soon, I hope. It’s going to be a very busy time for me and I couldn’t be happier about that. I will of course still be doing my #BeardedChat and keeping up with my @BeardedRT account, as well as keeping you all updated on my personal/blogging Twitter, @TalesofaBeard. There has never been a better time to follow my blog. I promise you that it will be a very exciting, thought-provoking and even funny time for all of you who are keen to keep up with my goings on.

Why don’t you join me for it all?

Love and Peace

My Holiday So Far: This is the Life

I am sitting with a coffee that was made for me by my mum when I got out of bed. She also offered to make me a bacon roll for breakfast, which is currently on its way. My dad is sitting with the newspaper and my wee niece is walking around, chatting away to everybody, asking to go out and play.

I am sitting with a coffee that was made for me by my mum when I got out of bed. She also offered to make me a bacon roll for breakfast, which is currently on its way. My dad is sitting with the newspaper and my wee niece is walking around, chatting away to everybody, asking to go out and play. My sister-in-law has just told her they are going out to the park. All in all, I am very happy.

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This holiday has been just what the doctor ordered. A nice, relaxing few days away with my family. I haven’t done very much and that is definitely a good thing. The biggest thing I did was play a game of poker on the Friday night, which was a long and drunken night but it was the most fun I’ve had in a while (despite being put out first). The house I am staying in is huge and has everything that we could need, including 4 bathrooms. There is a massive kitchen/dining room, with a huge 8-seater dining table. There is a big conservatory with a corner couch and recliner chair. The conservatory looks out onto a garden that is almost as big as the house, which has plenty of bushes, flowers, some pebble walkways and even a pond.

I was actually due to come home today, as I had booked a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow morning; however, my mum could see how much this holiday was helping me mentally and emotionally and she has convinced me to call the doctor in the morning to ask if we could continue with the appointment over the telephone. I hadn’t even thought of this being an option so I was really happy for my mum to have suggested it. It’s exactly what I’m going to do and I am going to make the most of my time off.

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To give you a little bit of context as to why this holiday has been so incredibly good for me and my mental health, St Andrews is a very special place to me. I have been coming here every year for 20 years. I know the place like the back of my hand and consider it to be a second home. It is a very relaxing and peaceful place, where I feel 100% safe walking around, no matter the time of day. It has several beaches, where you can take in the sea air. There are some beautiful, scenic walks that are just a joy to take. The pubs here are so nice, with some of the friendliest staff around. It is a place that my entire family loves, which means we can all spend time together here and each one of us would enjoy ourselves and be happy.

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Where is your happy place? Is there a regular holiday that you take which makes you feel the happiest? Maybe you just have a place you can visit any time you like which makes you content? I would love it if you would share them with me. Now, I’m off to continue enjoying my holiday while I can.

 

Love and Peace

That Holiday Feeling

I’m currently sat on a bus, which is taking me to St Andrews for my yearly holiday with my family. I have been particularly anxious today and have felt my jaw clenching quite often; however, since I got on this bus, I have been gradually feeling better. More calm and more relaxed. I genuinely feel like this is because I am on my way to one of my favourite places on this Earth and I know that I will soon have my feet up, without a care in the world.

 

There is just something so unique about this feeling that I get when I am going on holiday to St Andrews. I love this feeling. There are very few things about which I get excited but I am defnitely excited about this. Not just excited but also content. A feeling of familiarity.

 

This is also one of the few times that my whole family gets together and spends an extended period of time in one house, enjoying each other’s company and doing our own thing as we please but always coming back together for dinner and days out. This is a genuinely precious time for me and I want to savour every moment.

 

Love and Peace

Song of the Day – 14/08/2018

My song of the day was going to be something else… until I realised what day it is.

 

It’s my late gran’s birthday. She would have been 86 today. I miss her, always and sometimes wish she was still here. Although, she lived a full life and did so many great things.

 

This is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, sung by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz”. This version was the one she had requested to be played at her funeral and it chokes me up every time.

 

 

I love you, Gran.

 

Love and Peace