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.
The first time I self-harmed I was sixteen. I had been struggling with my mental health for a while, and felt low, anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis. I was desperate for a release from the distress I was experiencing and from what was going on inside.
At the time, the physical pain felt easier to deal with than the emotional pain I was experiencing. It gave me a sense of control, when I felt I had so little control over the distressing thoughts and feelings I had. However, it became my ‘go to’ way of coping, and it felt impossible to stop.
Just because I’ve gotten help doesn’t mean I’m recovered.
These days many people are becoming more receptive to mental illness and the struggles that come with it. From social media trends for ‘checking on your friends’ to a social awareness on how pressure on young girls can lead to eating disorders, mental illness is now mainstream.
However, along with this increased understanding and social normalisation come many misconceptions.
I’m an army veteran who has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. For a few years now, I have been struggling to cope with my mental health problems. I come from an army infantry background and I completed a full operational tour of Afghanistan in 2014. However unbeknown to me I was battling mental health issues since I was a child.
These are words that come to mind: rejection, abandonment, sorrow, suffering and no knowledge. Some would say I was destined to wear a jewelled crown upon a troubled brow.
Some people (who clearly have never experienced a mental health problem) believe that those of us that suffer from a mental illness are attention seekers. Of course, this isn’t true. As someone who has experienced anxiety, the last thing I want is for the attention to be on me.