Mental illness is extremely stigmatised and despite this I am open about my struggles for quite a few reasons. I think being so honest and vulnerable has been rewarding as it has helped a few people who means the world to me.
REASON 1 – I couldn’t hide it
Normally, I could put on a brave face and pretend I was fine but doing this for so long led me to a crisis point. I was so mentally drained that I was physically ill, which is something you can’t hide unless you lock yourself away. Unfortunately for me, when I was acutely unwell I had exams so I had to see my friends at uni so they seen me shaking, running to the toilet to be sick and pouring water on myself as an attempt to cool myself down. Explaining why I was acting so weird was the only option for me.
REASON 2 – To raise awareness
Mental illness is unbelievable common and yet you would never know this since everyone is so guarded about it. If everyone keeps silent about their struggle, people will have a hard time believing the statistics of 1 in 4 people, in the UK, having a mental health problem. Putting a face, a story and a name to mental illness will help people to understand why increasing funding and resources is essential. The semicolon is a great symbol for mental health awareness, and this necklace having it engraved is a great way to show support.
REASON 3 – To help others
When I was in acute crisis, the best advice came from those people who have experienced anxiety before, unsurprisingly. If you haven’t went through it you will have a hard time understanding it and be unaware of what will be beneficial. However, the people who helped me kept their illness secret so it was just by chance that I got to talk to them about it. I want others to know that I will be there to offer support and advice that actually works, therefore, I had to be honest about what I’ve went through.
REASON 4 – To try to remove the stigma
There are so many assumptions out there about mental illness, and if we all sit back and don’t argue with them since that would be an admission, then they will stay there. By being open, I have been able to have so many conversations about mental illness that has helped to educate people who haven’t experienced it. Additionally, the first time I spoke about my illness a lot of my friends seemed awkward but by the fourth time it seems a lot more normal for everyone – and that is exactly what is wanted.
REASON 5 – For support
Being honest has also been amazingly helpful for me! I don’t have to make up elaborate excuses if I don’t want to go out because I am anxious of the train, for example, I can just say that’ll trigger my anxiety. Or if I’m nervous before an exam incase I’m sick, my friend will talk to me, hug me and distract me to make sure I’m okay, since he knows I won’t feel good in this situation. My friends have been wonderful to me throughout this trying time and I couldn’t have got there with them, so I encourage you to be open! At first I struggled to go out in public, but going to a local pub with my friend for a few times built up my confidence so much that I was able to go on full nights out again. This horrific ordeal has definitely proved who my real friends are.