The following blog posts are written by people with personal experience of anxiety. By talking openly, our bloggers hope to increase understanding around mental health, break stereotypes and take the taboo out of something that – like physical health – affects us all.

I have finally and truly become unashamedly me

When we struggle with mental health, there often seem to be more darker days than bright. The days we feel alone and need that bit more support. If the support is not there, it becomes all the more cruel. We feel more alone than ever. The ones we expect to support us the most, those closest to us can be the most stigmatising and it becomes harder to see a positive side to life. But with time things can, and do, change.

I knew it wasn't just "teenage blues"

Depression and anxiety is a part of my life. I recognise now that it has been for the majority of my life. But it took a long time for me to realise and accept this. I didn't want to be "ill". The stigma surrounding mental illness was built within me, passed down through generations of people "pulling themselves together".

1 in 4 people have a mental illness - we're all in it together

Having anxiety is one thing, but being anxious about how other people will react to my anxiety is a whole other monster.

I was about 12 years old when I had my first panic attack. I remember waking up early in the morning with an uneasy feeling, my stomach churning and my heart racing. I got up and paced around my room, going to the window to get some fresh air because I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.