Sunday, May 19, 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week

We're just at the end of Mental Health Awareness Week.  I really hope it's had an impact and I feel it may have done.  I watched an amazing documentary about Nadiya Hussain, the Bake-off winner, talking about her anxiety disorder.  She was extremely brave to put it out there and allow herself to be filmed exploring her anxiety and what had happened to her in the past.  If you haven't watched it, I wholeheartedly recommend it and you have just under four weeks left on iPlayer to do so.  Bake-off is watched by so many people and Nadiya is such a lovely person that I hope it has drawn people to watch.

Elsewhere other celebrities have talked about their mental health issues more openly as well.  Without any facts or statistics to back it up, I feel that there is increasing awareness of mental health issues.  There's much to do, but it's started.

But what of you and me?  "It's good to talk" isn't just about celebrities. In a way it can damage or enhance their reputation but we don't really know the effect it's having on their families and their 'real' lives.  Ordinary, less famous people may feel they have more to lose in talking about their mental health.

For this reason, I've been very open about mine.  I blogged here when I first started taking anti-depressants and I realise that time has flown by without an update.  Well, I'm doing fine, thank you, on the mental health front.  The first two weeks were hideous, with sometimes overwhelming anxiety.  The doctors I spoke to occasionally at my practice were very understanding but said that it was a known side-effect that should go after a couple of weeks.  It did, but it was a close thing.  I'm so glad I stuck it out.  The doctors were all clear that it was up to me and gave me as much information as they were able, one of them even contacting a specialist to answer one of my questions to which she didn't immediately know the answer.

So a few months on and I'm still taking the antidepressants and expect to do so for the time being.  I'm pleased to say that in spite of a difficult time with injuries and illnesses and family worries, I'm not depressed.  Sure, there have been occasions when I felt defeated, not sure when I was going to escape the vicious circle of illnesses, but it wasn't depression.  Without the medication, life would have been much more difficult.  I was suffering from depression, I knew it, I went to the GP and he prescribed the best treatment.  It really can be that simple.

A friend of mine posted somewhere that the worst lies are those you tell yourself.  Maybe the best way to avoid those is to talk more to other people.  When you actually hear your lies repeated, then maybe you'll be aware of them and realise them for what they are.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that Mental Health Awareness Week is a really good thing and I hope that we will all take on board what we've learned and carry it forward to the rest of the year.