This time of year can be magical and joyous and sparkly and happy but for a lot of people, including myself in the past, it can also be miserable and depressing and sad. Literally SAD. I’m talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a very real condition which can affect anyone in the Winter months, when daylight is shorter, darkness creeps in at 4 p.m and ultimately can leave people feeling, well, miserable.
Every single one of us goes through times when things are completely and utterly crap. It might just be the odd day here and there; you’ve stood in dog poo on your way to work, then the trains are delayed, then your lunch has spilt in your bag that sorta thing. It might be a week where everything keeps piling up or a longer period of time when things are particularly difficult; you’re not getting on with your partner, tensions are high at home, a pet is ill or you’re facing money problems. Whatever the reason things are crap for you for, it’s not unusual that we feel completely out of kilter during these times in our lives. Like the world is continuing to turn but slightly to the left and we no longer feel in rhythm with it.
The longer I’ve been on social media, the more I’ve seen people open up and be honest about mental health. And that’s fantastic. And I’ve also seen people be more open about therapy and counselling for mental health conditions. I’ve had counselling and therapy and I’m a huge advocate for it too and it really pains me to hear that people don’t use it, for a variety of reasons, when they could potentially benefit so much. Obviously I’m not a professional but I want to talk about my personal relationship with therapy and why you absolutely shouldn’t be put off by it.
Well… 2016 was quite a year, wasn’t it? I’m not going to go harping on about how rubbish it was for me because I’m aware I’m beginning to sound like a broken record right about now but in today’s post I want to talk about some of the things I’ve learnt in the past year because with difficulties, comes important lessons and all that shit. Whatever, let’s get on with it…
Going into a brand new year can be equally as exciting and scary. Who knows what it may bring? Will it be good or bad? Will you experience anything life-changing this year? A new year in front of us can be a daunting thing but it doesn’t have to be scary – and for people like me who suffer with anxiety and mental health problems, it can be a welcome sight to have a solid foundation on which to try and build a fresh start and a new mindset. I do tend to stray away from the, ‘new year, new me’ malarkey and I don’t believe we can truly start ‘new’ but I do believe we can improve ourselves and take active steps to do that and therefore, become healthier and happier people – both physically and mentally. But today, I want to focus on the mental side of that metaphorical coin and share my tips on how to look after your mental health in the new year.
Starting of I am not here to tell you this, this and this. I just want to share with you my experience on opening up to people especially when it comes to your mental health. Over the years I have dealt with anxiety but I never dealt with the way I should have. If there is one thing I have learnt over the years is how to open up to people in general, but it’s only been this past year that I have spoken out about my anxiety. Which has been a big help.
For those that don’t know, Samaritans are a free, UK 24 hour service which provide support for those struggling or in distress. There’s a lot of misconceptions about this charity, for example, that you have to be suicidal in order to qualify to ring them. You absolutely do not. They have branches all over the UK with hundreds of volunteers, dedicating time every month to be there at the end of the phone to someone who might need someone to talk to. Samaritans was set up in 1953, has over 200 branches across the UK and Northern Ireland and all the way back in 2011, they had 20,665 volunteers. Samaritans are there, day and night, to anyone who need them. And this year, I was one of those people.
Author: Ned Vizzini
Blurb: Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. Continue reading