It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK (18th – 24th May). An important week now more than ever. While most of the week has come and gone already, it is never too late to check in with your own mental health. Here’s my story…
Since leaving university in 2018, I feel I have lost a lot of confidence in myself. The ‘real world’ is often cold, disappointing, and sometimes cruel. With that has come quite a few lapses in my own mental health, something I thought I had gotten a grasp of. Of all people, you’d think that someone trained in psychology, and helps other people with their own mental wellbeing for a living, would have got it figured out by now!
Alas, I do still have my struggles. But I think it’s important to realise that for many of us, myself included, it is a continuing, daily struggle. I received a standard course of CBT for my depression and anxiety way back in 2013. Other than the brief dip here and there throughout my bachelors, I thought I had beaten it…
Then came my Masters, which was probably one of the toughest years of my life. I had begun experiencing some of the same feelings I had felt back in my A Level days, when I felt like I wasn’t good enough, and constantly stressed out by mounting assignments. Luckily I was more prepared a second time around, but I did still spiral a little.
Since then I have had periods in and out of depression that have sometimes left me paralysed with fear and hopelessness. Unfortunately, it has not been the case that I have ‘beaten’ my depression. It has been all too easy to kick myself while I am down. To make myself feel worse because I should have this under control by now, or I shouldn’t be feeling depressed because of the good in my life. I can imagine a lot of people reading this feel the same.
But as much as I am writing this for myself, I want you to know the truth:
Just because you took a ‘step back’ in your mental health doesn’t mean you are a failure. Managing your mental health is a journey we all take, with ebbs and flows that make some days harder than others.
So if you are having a particularly rough time lately, especially because of what’s happening in the world right now, then please try to be kinder to yourself. Reach out for help if you can, and know that there is an end to these dark times for you. Life is difficult enough without you being your own worse enemy too.
UK MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT LINES:
Mind (Mental Health Charity) – 0300 123 3393
Samaritans (General Support) – 116 123
BEAT Eating Disorders – 0808 801 0677
NHS Emergency Helpline – 111