Today is World Mental Health Day, a day to share your stories, to talk, to listen, to understand. Created by Mind, the mental health charity, this day is here for us to show our support for better mental health.
Here’s a video from the charity Mind, I think this summarise mental health in a really clever way. If you are wondering how you can be more aware, or are just looking for a way to explain mental health to others, this is a really good place to start.
My reason for writing this blog post today is to highlight the need to support better mental health. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health illness in their life time?
It’s no wonder we’re becoming more aware and more sensitive to mental illness with the amount of coverage in the media at the moment. We’re taking this from something taboo, to something everyone should be able to talk about. I’ve written a blog post in the past about my experiences talking about mental health and how it helped me.
Today shouldn’t be any different from any other day, but sometimes we need a little push to feel like we can open up or seek support.
At 14 I was Doctor diagnosed with OCD. I say Doctor diagnosed because when I say OCD, most people think I just like things straight and tidy. Not all OCD is the same, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is as it says, an obsession. Whether you have to turn a light switch on and off a certain amount of times before leaving a room, or you have to wash your hands five times before eating. OCD touches so many people, probably without them even realising. For me I started to drive myself insane, I was counting constantly, if I didn’t I thought something would happen to my family. This was a small part of my OCD though, the main issue for me is my obsession with germs and being clean. I specifically have a phobia of being sick, which means if anyone around me is ill I panic. There’s a lot more to it than that, but for now I’ll say that it can overtake my life a little bit at certain times, for example is someone in my house is sick.
My form of OCD has been part of me for 9 years now and I couldn’t think of myself not being like this. I don’t like having this fear and this obsession with washing my hands and avoiding touching things I don’t need to touch. But I don’t get ill often, I am clean and hygienic and I do think more about what I really need to touch and eat. Side effects though do include a panic attack if someone around me has been sick, constantly cracked knuckles from washing my hands too much, and everyone around me thinking I’m a bit of a nutter.
Generally my OCD has become part of my life. I will never not have it and I think it will probably be quite a challenge for me as I get older and want to start a family. But I am fine with it, I’ve made my peace with it and it’s okay. I have had struggles, it’s been hard to consider my mental health accepted in my workplace, but I will keep on trying. I won’t give up on making myself feel accepted and actually just letting myself accept who I am.
Today and any day, take some time for you, make sure your feeling as happy as you can. Assign time each day or each week to work on doing something you love. Talk to those around you if you feel you can. If not then there’s always an online community that will welcome you.
The important thing to remember and the point of this day is that you are not alone.
If you’d like to get involved online with World Mental Health Day, you can use the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay2018. Alternatively if you’d like to just seek some help through Mind’s website, they have some brilliant Wellbeing Tips and a community of workers to help you feel like the best you!