May 5, 2017

As someone with a mental illness, it can be terrifying to open up to those around you in fear of people judging you and not accepting you for who you are. For a very long time, this was exactly what I felt like. My battle with mental illness began when I was around 15, but it was July 2016 when I reached breaking point that I realised that I needed to open up about my anxiety and depression. During that time period, I was lowest I had ever been, pushing those I loved away and wanting to be non-existent.

In a desperate plea, I decided to open up about my struggles through social media and then in face to face conversation with my loved ones, friends especially. I was so overwhelmed by the support that I received from my friends and ever since I started speaking, my friends have done everything they can to build back up my confidence and slowly but surely helping me to recover. As someone who is high functioning, it was not clear to my friends at first about how much I was suffering, but as soon as they had an understanding of what was happening, they have done nothing but fight for my corner. I am a person who will constantly try to keep herself busy, in the hopes that the thoughts and the anxious feelings in my head will go away. Although, that hope never occurs. Instead, they eventually over power my need to keep busy, leading to a breakdown.

There are days which are feel so low and anxious, yet my friends are always there for me, motivating me to carry on and remember that I am just going through a blip; I will have better days. Having people on your side and encouraging you throughout recovery is so important. Whether you are someone who knows someone who has a mental illness or you are someone who lives with personally, talking and supporting each other through difficult times can make the world of difference. Whether that be a phone call, a hug, a catch up and a cup of tea; all of these examples allows people to connect together and fight mental illness in a combined effort.

We all need support, whether we are someone with a mental illness or whether we are caring for someone is ill. Stigma that is attached to this group of illnesses is slowly disappearing, although that is only because people are talking more and are supportive of those around them. I believe #inyourcorner is a campaign that holds a large of meaning and has the ability to further decrease stigma, raising awareness, as well as love in society. Through my loved ones support, I am the happiest I have been in such a long time, and even though recovery is not linear, I am so thankful for the support that I have received from my friends, family and partner.

I now run my own mental health blog and intend to go into a career, working with young people, helping them to find themselves and embrace the wonderful human beings that they are. You are all important and should feel that your feelings and emotions are valid; regardless of how isolated you may feel, there will always be someone there in your corner. Now is the time for us to reach out to each other and remember that mental illness does not define who we are.

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