November 14, 2016

There’s a lot of stigma around mental health and people who suffer with mental health, over years it's become this stigma that no one talked about it - people brush it under the carpet resulting in people like myself feeling isolated and alone. My names Laura and I've suffered from anxiety and depression on and off my adult life. It first came apparent when I went to secondary school, I was bullied and found it hard to deal with. I felt very isolated and that I didn't fit in, I didn't feel like teachers understood not that I could stand up for myself, I became very angry and self contained and took it out on the people closest to me or sometimes myself. 

My parents divorced and that had a knock on effect on my life, I struggled to understand why two people who were so in love with each other didn't work out and I felt abandoned and left, this again resulted in anger which I self contained. I began to feel anxious and depressed, over time and with things that happened in my life it became worse and worse - I felt like the basic things such as going to work were difficult and often lost control in situations.

I still suffer with anxiety and depression and I self harm. I find that people don't understand depression and anxiety for what it is, it effects lots of different people and people should be educated about it, I went to my local GP and sadly he wasn't so understanding, I decided to see a counsellor independently.

I have a partner who is loving and caring, he struggles to deal with my anxiety and depression and struggles to deal with understanding I act and am the way I am sometimes, it can put a huge strain on our relationship and I often feel guilty for this.  I still feel that more needs to be done and that we really need to recognise and understand mental illness a lot better. People with mental health issues are not weird and should not be made to feel weird, we are normal human beings, everyone struggles sometimes and it can be hard, everyone is different and everyone has a story. A person with a smile, a helping hand and the willingness to listen can be a lifeline to someone with mental health issues.  

Let’s remember that there are people out there who are having a hard time – they are normal, not weird and shouldn't feel isolated. It's ok to not be ok, it should be ok to ask for help, it should be ok to say 'I'm struggling.’ 

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