There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about mental health out there. These stories address some of the dangerous and troubling beliefs about different conditions, and explore what it's really like to experience mental health problems.
Some people are probably wondering: how can a personal trainer have anorexia?
My first experience was during my teens and it’s only recently I’ve felt comfortable talking about this often misunderstood illness. I’m now strong enough to want to remove this stigma, make people more aware, and most importantly, help others going through this deadly beast of an illness.
You could ask me one simple question, but my anxiety will turn that into 20 questions within seconds. “Are you okay?” becomes “Why are they asking me that?”, “Do I not look okay?”, “Have I done something?”, “Am I in trouble?”.
That’s the best way I describe it to people. I worry about everything, even to the point I worry about worrying.
A lot of people just say “don’t worry” or “you’ve got nothing to worry about”. I then feel stupid…and then worry about feeling stupid.
Many people might think of a period of poor mental health as being incapable of getting out of bed in the morning, or a severe lack of motivation and reluctance to do anything. Certainly, for many people these symptoms are prominent at times.
However, some who are living with a mental illness, or generally struggling with mental health, are high-functioning. They still live out their day-to-day lives like normal. They go to work, socialise, and function like anyone else.
My name is Richard and I’m coming at mental health from the “other side” of the fence.
I have worked in mental health support for over 10 years and, thankfully, have witnessed many improvements in the way in which society in general treats people who experience mental health problems. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go to eradicate all the discrimination and stigma which affects people with mental health problems; but please allow me to share some of my experiences - from the early days of my flowering interest in mental health to where I think we are now.