I don’t half go on sometimes about being a freelancer or telling you how to improve your written content.
But today, 10th October, is World Mental Health Day, a day I feel it’s right for me to take some time out and think about my own well-being for a short time.
So, I won’t be going on about how I can help your business. I’ll be talking about mental health, my own struggles and how writing, in part, helps me.
What #WorldMentalHealthDay means to me.
I’ve never been shy of telling people about my mental health. Frankly, it’s been appalling down the years.
When I was 18, my dog died.
No problem, surely it’s only a dog.
But to me, it was the catalyst to the worst nine years of my life.
You see, in those nine years, I barely functioned for four of them.
In fact, I barely remember what I did at that time. I don’t really remember much other than having no control over my own thoughts and emotions.
I’d have dark thoughts 24/7 and obsess over being capable of violent and hideous acts.
I was a complete wreck, and in those four years, those thoughts repeated themselves around the clock.
And I mean that.
Oh, and I cried a lot.
I was so ill I couldn’t see how I could ever get better (and on top of my depression, I had uncontrollably epilepsy at the time. Talk about a kick in the balls).
How things changed.
I’d been told to cheer up. To put a smile on my face. To just ignore the horrendous torture my brain was inflicting on me.
Depression doesn’t work like that.
However, after two years of absolute hell, I went to see:
- A psychologist and, later,
- A psychoanalyst
I underwent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and, at first, I was sceptical. Nothing seemed to work, but they told me there was no quick fix.
Actually, it took a further two years for it to start working, but it turned my life around.
CBT made me face the catastrophe in my brain.
It calmed me.
It cleared my head and helped me realise this was the depression talking, not me.
I know I’m lucky.
I know a lot of people who struggle with mental health. They’ve been through the same therapy as I have and more, and they still struggle every day.
I don’t suffer anymore, though I am prone to looking at things negatively.
I never used to, but I see this as a tiny strand of depression still lingering, but with the sting removed.
I never felt suicidal, self-harmed or took medication, but I know many people who have and do.
What got me through was a support group of family, friends and counsellors.
Yeah, that’s right.
Without me, I couldn’t have done it. At one time I would never have given myself credit – for anything.
Well, I overcame the worst part of my life because I needed it to change – and by giving myself credit it gives me a little feeling that I can achieve anything.
How writing helps my mental health.
Writing came along at the perfect time, and I don’t mean copywriting.
I started to write stories and found they helped lift my mood, but when I stopped, my mood dropped again.
Writing was almost an anti-depressant for me and, over time, when I stopped writing fictional stories, I no longer suffered from the sudden blackness that accompanied it.
It helped to keep my mind focused, and it’s why I ended up writing for a living.
Also, the fact I love it is a massive boost to my mental health.
Talk to somebody.
Never feel like you’re alone.
If you suffer from depression, there are a number of helplines you can call, including The Samaritans.
Or there’s your GP, friends, family or, well, me, if you want to.
Never be afraid to discuss your mental health.
I thought the worst things of myself imaginable, there’s nothing that could shock me, and if it couldn’t shock me, it wouldn’t shock a psychologist or a friendly voice at the end of a helpline.
It’s freeing to talk to somebody about depression, and there are so many ways you can do it.
It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay – so make sure it’s a day you talk to somebody about your mental health.
Until next time,
PS. Make sure you use the #WorldMentalHealthDay hashtag today – suffer in silence no more!