Mental Health Awareness Week: My Story

Anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five UK adults! 

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. In our lifetime some of us will experience mental health problems and i am one of those who want to stand up and speak about my experience.

So for those of you that don't yet know, it is Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May), hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. A week in which people all over the world will be sharing their stories in an attempt to help others in a similar situation.

To help spread awareness during the week i have decided to paint my nails. Why the hell would you paint your nails and what good will that do you ask?

I have dealt with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts in my 30 years on this earth. Not many people know about what i have been through, not even some of my closest and or oldest friends. Even the people closest to you can sometimes miss the signs surrounding mental health problems and it often comes down to the fact that many of the signs and simply not visible.

By painting my nails, i am hoping that people will notice and ask me about my nails. In that moment  i want to talk openly about mental health problems and some of the my experiences. I decided to paint 2 out of my 10 nails with the Mental Health Foundation colours to show that 2 in 10 adults are affected by anxiety and or depression.

My Story

I have always reacted badly to stress and i have always had anxiety issues particularly around travelling and large social events; both of which are and have been manageable for me. In May 2017 i was unlucky enough to contract both glandular fever and viral meningitis at the same time. I was off work sick for almost three months, i was hospitalised and housebound. Whilst it wasn't life threatening, i was very ill and from the start of the illness i have never been the same again. As a result of my illness i developed severe pains in my head and as they were so bad i have had to be on medication to help stop the pain.

Little did i know the medication i was on would play a part in  me becoming depressed and leading to me have suicidal thoughts. Having reoccurring thoughts about ending your own life was the scariest and toughest thing i have ever faced in my life. Especially when i felt that all was well in my life and i had hundreds of reasons not to be thinking about ending my life.

Luckily for me i had a brilliant doctor, family, friends and wife to support me through a very dark time in my life. Like most people when given a diagnoses i turned to the internet and found a wealth of support, information and like-minded people who have endured the same.

A year on i am happy, healthy and mentally more resilient. As i eat much better, exercise, meditate and simply take time to look after myself. You are never too old to start looking after your mind and body better.


For those of you that would like to find out more about Mental Health here are the places you can visit to find out more information:

Mental Health Foundation 
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

The Samaritans 
They offer emotional support 24 hours a day.
Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.uk
Website: https://www.samaritans.org/ 

NHS
https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/MentalHealth/Pages/Mentalhealthhome.aspx

Rethink Mental Illness
Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927
https://www.rethink.org/about-us/our-mental-health-advice

Mind
Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393
Or email info@mind.org.uk
https://www.mind.org.uk/

Sources used in the article:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/19/anxiety-depression-office-national-statistics
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/measuringnationalwellbeing/2016

Yorkshire Dad

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/karl-young/

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