Friday, 9 October 2015

World Mental Health Day #WMHD15

Today is World Mental Health day, with up to 1 in 4 people struggling with their mental health meaning that we all know someone, either ourselves, a friend or a loved one and it's an issue so close to so many people's hearts that needs to spoken more about and not be a taboo subject. It really is time to talk more about mental health.

Mental Health has been in the media quite a bit recently (rightly so) a few weeks ago Anxiety UK launched their #highfiveforanxiety campaign a few weeks ago and at the moment the mental health charity Time to Change are running a campaign on social media about Small things that can make a big difference to your day or mood.

As it's Dyspraxia Awareness Week next week, I thought it was important to blog about the links between dyspraxia and mental health, as people with dyspraxia tend to get stressed, depressed and anxious easily. It's important to note that some people who are dyspraxic their mental health struggles are a completely separate issue from their dyspraxia.

The reasons why people with dyspraxia may have mental health issues could be a whole range of reasons, the impact of dyspraxia being not very well known and there not being much support, bullying of differences, the environment being overwhelming, low self esteem and emotional sensitivity or struggling to maintain friendships are just some.

In past blogs I've talked about my own personal experience I hope by sharing a little bit of my story it will help others out there.   I've personally found a lot of strength from youtuber  Zoella speaking about her anxieties,and Demi Lovato being open about her struggle has helped me feel less alone and gave me the confidence to seek help. I struggled in silence for so many years about my anxiety/depression, partly because I thought there was so many people a lot worse off than me, I didn't have the confidence and mainly I was simply terrified, please don't speak in silence.

At my worst it left me bed bound too terrified of the outside world and using very negative coping strategies towards myself. It can be very isolating, it feels suffocating, trapped and like an anchor is weighing you down, and my irrational thinking makes me think why on earth would anyone want to be in my company - a negative spiral.  Luckily I have the most supportive boyfriend who helps me rationalise my thoughts I call him my calm within the storm and with help I'm in a lot happier place than I was when I started writing these blog and I'm beginning to think more positively and use my experiences to help others.

One of the hardest things when you're experiencing high levels of anxiety from anxiety attacks or melt downs is to try and communicate to those around you, my dyspraxia means I can never verbalise my feelings when I experience anxiety, instead my body physically shows it either by either making me shake, make me pace around, or my body do involuntary movements (please tell me the latter isn't just me.) Which makes it hard for the people around me to understand why I'm upset or anxious.

I think at the time it's important to help calm someone down before they even start to communicate, try and get into an empty space, some breathing exercises and drink some water and maybe discuss environments or situations which may be triggering, for me a huge factor is confidence/self esteem.

Together we can stamp out the stigma surrounding mental health, if you're reading this blog and are struggling please remember that you deserve happiness (I know that's so hard when your mind is telling you otherwise.) But nobody deserves to feel alone, you're stronger than you think you are, I believe in you.

Little gestures and small things can make a HUGE difference to someone's day. Why not reach out to a family member,colleague or friend today and make a difference. The small things could be as simple as:

1. Just listening can mean the world
2. Remind someone you care, small things can really make someone smile.
3. Feeling involved
4. A random text or reply on social media to see how you're doing.
5. If you're feeling down sometimes all you need is that kind word.

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