September 18, 2013

Kerry holding "time to talk" signI can chat about the weather, science and the news just like everybody else; in fact sometimes it is hard to shut me up. However, when it comes to talking about anything personal or embarrassing, I will just refuse to do it. Therefore when it came to telling people I had anxiety and experienced panic attacks, I let my friends tell each other so that I didn’t have to. Realistically this didn’t make anything any better because it put me on edge worrying about people talking about me behind my back.

As much as I hate awkward conversations, I also believe that the only way to face a fear is to confront it head on. I wasn’t ready to go around shouting about mental health problems myself in person so I used the power of the internet. Creating a blog based on mental health has been the best thing I’ve done this year. I found a way to talk and there were far more listeners than I had ever anticipated.

I set up my blog as a way to raise awareness of mental health

Originally I set up my blog as a way to raise awareness of mental health conditions but it has become somewhere that I can tell stories about my problems that I would never tell in person. I thought that the only people that would read it would be a few close friends of mine. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong because it’s had many hundreds of hits from countries all over the world! I’m very lucky that I’ve had an amazing response to the fact that I talk about my problems so openly. The messages I have received have often made my day and I personally think that they helped me to start coping with my problems a lot quicker than I would have without them!

My blog has put me back in touch with old friends while also providing me with new ones who have experienced similar problems to me. It can be slightly overwhelming but also very satisfying when somebody messages you saying that they think you’re brave because they have the same problem but would never speak out about it. Since they sent those messages, some of them have spoken out and I’m so proud of them.

It’s given me a way to talk

Many people say that technology has made us antisocial. We’ll just text, message or tweet somebody instead of seeing them or physically talking to them. However, it has done so much more than that for me and many others. It’s given me a way to talk and judging by the size of the blogging community it has done the same for millions of others.

I’m proud that I spoke out about my mental health problems online because now after months of hiding behind a computer screen I can start a conversation about them in person.

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You can read John's poetry here: http://www.john-hewitt.com/


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