World Mental Health Day
Preface: Possible trigger warning: in-depth talk about mental health issues. Any persons mentioned in this post have given me their explicit permission to do so.
Today is World Mental Health Day. It is something I mark in my calendar every year - October 10th. Another year has flown by, and it has been a tough one.
Since last year, I started therapy, and I got two further diagnoses: recurring clinical depression, and a severe generalised anxiety disorder. I go twice weekly to therapy sessions, for an hour each. It is hard, and sometimes I hate it. It has forced me to think about and relive some of the deepest fears and traumas I've experienced.
The most difficult part of it all was hearing that I needed help. As someone who always wants to appear 'okay', being told that I'm not was something I didn't want to hear for a long time.
It doesn't get easier to talk about. But therapy is a safe space, and gradually, I have noticed tiny changes. It's a 'two-steps-forward-one-step-back' kind of process, but at least there are steps.
One of my dearest friends back home has been going through a lot of struggles too - she's one of the people who inspired me to start this blog. We've been through terrifying times -mental health has nearly taken her from me too many times to count this year.
Especially being over here in Germany, while she's in England, has been awful. I've become familiarised with the concepts of units, suicide attempts, and psychosis.
Most apparent to me is that back home in England, there has to be a drastic reform of the mental health system - it leaves so many people stranded, and it's so dangerous.
It's not easy to ask for help but I am so incredibly lucky to have incredible friends; They notice when something is wrong often before I notice it myself. They are people who contact me every day to see how I'm doing, and always, always, help me when I need it. Even though I find it hard to believe that I can rely on anyone, they show me again and again that I don't need to walk this path alone.
They give me tough love, blatantly disapproving of my self-destructive habits, refusing to watch me spiral. I've learned that a firm hand is the best kind.
I don't know what the next year will bring, but I'm going to keep going to therapy, keep writing this blog, and most importantly, live my life. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog for motivating me to continue doing something productive.