Anxiety is more than being too sensitive

Jodie, September 30, 2019

The doctors describe me as a patient with significant anxiety…but really, I feel like I’m just going a little crazy. It feels like people look at anxiety as a modern thing, something that’s new and can’t be easily understood. Some people describe it as putting a label on ‘being sensitive’, that ‘everything has a have a diagnosis these days’. 

My employer made me feel my depression was invalid

Jamil, March 11, 2019

People won't always know if you're struggling. Sometimes it feels like being silent is the only viable option. After all, why would you want to burden someone else with your problems?

University helped to lessen my social anxiety

G, March 7, 2019

I love learning. Particularly about the mind and behaviour, in both humans and animals. This was my reason to go to university, to pursue the desire to learn, coming out with a better understanding of a topic I was passionate in. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t know it would be this hard.

Don't be afraid to talk about mental health

Abbie, February 12, 2019

It all started as just a few thoughts. 

But over time, I started having extremely bad anxiety and was becoming more depressed. School was using the little effort I had left. I gave up all my after-school clubs, all sporting events. I wouldn't eat at school or at home.

After a few months, I reached out to my friends about what was happening. But sadly, at that time they just came out with remarks about how I was being ungrateful and it was all for attention.

I felt extremely judged. Their comments made me feel worse.

I needed understanding for my OCD. Instead I was judged

Georgia, January 10, 2019

If mental illness could be seen on a sufferer maybe society wouldn't say "just get over it."

One of my biggest challenges was trying to get my friends to accept what I was going through. I never expected them to understand my anxiety or OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) but a listening ear would have been great.

I experienced mental health stigma at university

Lizzie, December 19, 2018

My mother used to say I was pretty much always this way. She would say that she could never leave my brother for even a second; else he would bash his head or throw a fit. She said I would just sit still. She could have left me for hours, she said; of course, she didn’t. I would play with one toy, and then wait, consumed by anxiety, until she gave her permission that I could play with another. This confused her. She had never once told me that I needed her permission to play. 

My mental health suffered at university

October 18, 2018

My time at uni might have been improved if someone had told me that it's ok not to 'fit in' and not to enjoy it. In fact, I'd say over half the people I've spoken to have said they didn't enjoy uni, so I don't know where we got this idea that it's meant to be "the time of your life" where you make your friends for life and get up to lots of antics and partying.

Depression is not the same as having a bad day

Sam, March 27, 2018

Many people know me as the person who laughs, smiles and jokes. But not many people know me as the person with a mental health condition. The reason for that is that there is no way of telling if somebody has a mental health condition.

At school, I heard people talk about mental illness in a negative way

Rose Anne, February 6, 2018

When I think back to my first year of secondary school, I didn’t really know much about mental health. I could maybe have named a couple of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, but there were so many things I didn’t understand. I definitely didn’t realise that anyone, including myself, could develop a mental health problem.

My recovery is tied to the support of friends, family and teachers

Emma, January 18, 2018

When I was 14 years old, I was suspended two weeks before the official start of the Christmas holidays. I’d been self-harming for months at my boarding school, while firmly believing that I’d been exceptionally secretive.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by a group of people who pulled away every lie and excuse until I had no choice left but to accept help. At the time, I hated them all. Despite the hours that these people had spent trying to understand and support me, I felt deeply betrayed.

People shouldn’t make assumptions about my schizoaffective disorder

Millie, January 17, 2018

“But you seem normal, you can’t have schizoaffective disorder? I know of someone with that and she can’t work, and she can’t go to Uni. You do both, maybe you’ve been misdiagnosed!”

Thank you for your opinion, however you do not have as much specialist knowledge as my psychiatrist.

When I was eight years old, I had overwhelming feelings of self-hatred and intrusive thoughts.

When I was nine years old I was suicidal.

Asking 'how are you?' could make a huge difference to someone

September 15, 2017

We as people are social beings; we require and need human contact as part of our survival. I have suffered with severe depression and anxiety for seven years and often when you are in the most need for help, love and support, you isolate yourself from the world and avoid human contact. You can push the ones you love away, either by not speaking to them at all, or by taking your emotions out on them.

When I talk about my mental health people don't know what to say

September 13, 2017

As a man with mental health problems myself, when the topic of men’s mental health comes up I often feel guilty. There are so many women suffering not just from mental health problems but also from a wide range of societal problems that can make it harder to cope with them. Who are we as men to complain about the stigma we face? But the more I think about it the more I realise that the guilt I feel is only a reflection of the problem as a whole - that we struggle to face up to the reality of our so called “weaknesses”. 

I campaign to change mental health attitudes because no one should go through what I did

September 7, 2017

I first properly experienced mental health issues at the age of 15 was when, and with this came a lot of damaging attitudes and actions. When I started going to therapy for treatment of depression and anxiety, I was still at school and my peers told me that ‘I didn’t look like a psycho’, which is kind of a backwards compliment that made me feel I had to be sicker.

Being judged for my mental illness was so damaging

August 18, 2017

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 16 years old and started counselling sessions. I was so ashamed of it, that I would lie about where I was going. I didn’t want people to know I was having counselling, in case they labelled me “crazy” or “insane”.

Having social anxiety doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice

July 31, 2017

We were on a family holiday in Devon when I had my first panic attack. I was only seven years old and we’d had a car crash - nothing serious but I felt like I was trapped, like everything was closing in on me. It was suffocating and horrible. My Dad had experienced panic attacks before, so thankfully he knew what I was going through.

Coming out: The impact of sexuality on my mental health

July 9, 2017

As a young man with everything going for him, I never thought that depression would happen to me. By just age 26 I had achieved a bunch of my dreams. Director of my own record label, touring with my band all over the world to thousands of people, seeing my records on the shelves of HMV and voted Best Male Vocalist in Prog Magazine for the second year running. There was so much to live for.

Mental illness is hard enough without all the judgement!

July 6, 2017

A lesson that I have recently learnt and am finally starting to embrace is that there is no shame in doing things at your own pace in order to get by. It is not ‘lazy’ when you can’t peel yourself from your bed because your busy mind has kept you awake all night and you are too exhausted to face the day. It is not ‘antisocial’ when, at the last minute, you can’t attend that event that’s been planned for months because your heart is racing and the walls are closing in.

I was born with OCD and it's a part of me

June 28, 2017

“I’ve always known Chloe was a bit ‘different’. Even when she was a toddler I could see she was different to other kids her age.”

I will never forget hearing those words from my mum. Not for any negative reasons, but because it affirms OCD is something I was born with, it is a part of me as much as my blonde hair, blue eyes, my laugh.

My friends helped me survive mental health problems at uni

May 18, 2017

I have experienced mental health problems since I was 15 and, for a while, I thought I would never be able to achieve anything. Even now there are times when I feel so alone, I sit in the dark crying whilst the voices inside my head scream at me and make me doubt everything. They even make me doubt that I have friends, that I have anyone who cares about me. Today though, I took a step back and realised that, though in my darkest moments when I don’t think anybody cares, they really do. I want to talk about six people in particular. 

We need to allow others to open up about mental health

May 17, 2017

You hear stories of how exciting, liberating and hard-working life at university is. You get told that the many parties and mingling with like-minded people will be ‘the best time of your life’.

When I think back to the start of 2009, when I started a web development course at Manchester Metropolitan University, I remember the good times, the parties, sharing a pizza with my friend who I moved to Manchester with. I had a great time at university.

It doesn't take much to be in your friend's corner

, March 16, 2017

People tend to ask me: why are you depressed, you have such a nice life? My simple response is… I don’t know. Depression wasn’t something I could control; neither was my anxiety. Back in 2013 I was sitting my art exams and self-doubt got a hold of me. I was constantly criticizing myself to the others around me. I felt that I wasn’t doing well and it was something I was doing. I got into this spiral where every lesson I was whirling downwards and I couldn’t control my emotions. This mood started to spread.

If you're worried about your friends' mental health, talk to them

March 14, 2017

If I didn't have my friends I wouldn't be as happy as I am now. In my darkest moments, they support me. When I feel like there is no light, they switch it on. When my thoughts are drowning me, they give me a new perspective. When I feel like a failure, they remind me of my worth. At every single point of my journey through life, they celebrate my achievements and my happiness, and they support me through despair. They make sure I never feel alone. They never pretended to know the answers.

Too many people are faced with rejection when they open up

February 6, 2017

When I was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at the tender age of 15, I recall feeling an overwhelming sense of isolation. I felt embarrassed and anxious about what people would think of me if they found out I was ‘crazy’. I had struggled to be taken seriously before my diagnosis. “You’ll grow out of it” and “it’s just teenage hormones” were phrases I received regularly, even by health ‘professionals’.

Talking about anxiety took the weight off my shoulders

February 1, 2017

Reducing stigma comes from the frontline, from education and most of all from being brave enough to admit when you’re not feeling well. In short, it’s about talking. But a lot of people still don’t feel able to talk about their mental health, so it’s up to all of us to break the silence and start those conversations.

Support your friends this Time to Talk Day

, January 25, 2017

I never realised what living with a mental illness entailed before I was diagnosed myself. I always believed that anxiety was just worrying, depression was just sadness and I never fully appreciated how hard it actually is waking up every single day, fighting a battle which nobody can see. Well, I never realised it until I was living it.

One conversation about mental health had a big impact on me

January 23, 2017

Head Girl. High achiever. Destined for Oxford.

These were all labels that were attached to my student identity by my (highly academic, all-girls) school in the autumn of 2015.

What the school didn't know? That I was experiencing extreme depression and anxiety.

We all have mental health, so be kind

January 19, 2017

I wanted to write about an experience of a person’s reaction towards my mental health and the impact that it has had on my life.

My university doesn't see that I'm not my BPD

January 12, 2017

I have a personality disorder. I have had it my entire life, but I was only diagnosed two years ago. Since then, and especially in the past six months, I have noticed a difference in how other people react if I choose to disclose that I happen to have a personality disorder and it has cost me to the point that I now feel at a detriment if I access support even if I really need it.

Why can't men talk about mental health in the pub?

December 14, 2016

It’s amazing what lengths men will go to in order to cover up their psychological unwellness. It’s a taboo topic in the pub. You can’t just openly admit that your anxiety has ravaged your insides till the point where you’ve questioned reality. They don’t want to know, it might lead them to question their own minds, but they’d never tell you anyway.

I was tired of pretending that everything is fine

December 2, 2016

 The confident and vibrant girl that I once was became no more. I fell into the trap of depression that seemed to have hit me overnight. I would usually be the one that always hid in the bathroom crying my eyes out and then wipe my own tears away only to walk out those doors like I have it all together. The young fifteen year old girl that I was at the time was drowned with anxiety, fear and a lack of something unknown. I was overwhelmed with the world and fell into exhaustion trying to act like I have it all together. The truth was that I was tired.

I've isolated myself for fear of people judging my anxiety

November 24, 2016

I was 18 the first time I was completely and utterly whacked round the face by anxiety. It was the summer before I was due to go to university. I remember being at work and suddenly feeling like the world looked different, people became blurry and I felt disorientated- it was terrifying. I left the shop I was working in and my Dad came to meet me, where he took me home to my Mum.

Mental health problems can be hidden but serious

, November 23, 2016

So I’m 21 studying Geography and living between Cardiff and Gloucestershire. I have a number of great friends and love spending time with them and going out but also enjoy peaceful times on my own. I love my course and I really enjoy being active.

Sounds like a dating profile, I know. But that is the point of this blog – there is so much underneath that people do not know just because it is not visible.

Male pride prevented me from opening up about depression

November 9, 2016

For some inexplicable reason, I decided one day to withdraw from everything in my life. At the time, I was studying abroad at university in Bremen, Germany. Instead of going to lectures, I retreated into a cocoon of duvets and a world of fantasy limited to the confines of my bedroom. I shut out the outside world and ignored all calls from friends and family. The only time I went out was late at night to the nearby convenience store to buy a bottle of coke or beer. The shopkeeper noticed my gradual deterioration and asked me if I was alright. The misery etched in my face was very apparent.

Being able to talk about mental health makes a huge difference

November 7, 2016

Three years ago I found myself at what felt like my rock bottom. I was at the end of my first year of uni, I hadn't left my apartment for 6 days, I hadn't left my bed for any other reason than needing to go to the toilet, I hadn't showered, I hadn't made contact with anyone.

I chose to speak up about my experience of eating disorders

October 31, 2016

On World Mental Health Day, I spoke. I spoke about my experience with mental health, which I haven’t done so honestly and raw before. I made my post public and had the biggest surprise when I had the most wonderful response. I’ve always been an ambassador for this sort of thing, especially at 17/18 when I was psychology representative at my sixth form which I used as a platform for National Eating Disorder Day, Time to Talk Day and World Mental Health Day, for example.

Workplaces need to understand: healing depression takes time

October 26, 2016

Travelling through the other side of depression, there’s a sudden realisation that the end of the tunnel, the road to recovery, is achievable.

An only child, dealing with family illness proved tough – even though, at the time, I thought I was dealing with the stress. Both parents and my wife going through serious illnesses (luckily all is well with all) and both remaining grandparents passing at wonderful ages (93 and 101!), it seems all of this piled up on me.

My relationships get me through depression

October 19, 2016

In my past I have and still frequently experience depression. I've used medication for years trying to deal with it, but it does have side effects. I understand that mine may not be considered as severe as many others'. But it's severe enough to affect me, my relationships and my life. 

People make so many judgements about borderline personality disorder

September 30, 2016

When used as an adjective, the term ‘borderline’ means ‘only just acceptable in quality or as belonging to a category.’ This is why a lot of people make the assumption that borderline personality disorder is not quite a personality disorder, not quite a mental illness. It’s a term that creates confusion. Your personality is often used to describe who you are as a person, so being told you have a personality disorder makes it feel like there is something wrong with who you are. That’s tough to hear.

Depression and anxiety are real, not an excuse

September 26, 2016

I'm 21 and starting my third year of university, though technically as I took a year out because of my illness, I am still a second year. I couldn't wait to move out of my home for first year so I could have so well-earned freedom. Throw a mental illness into the mix when you come home for the summer after this utter high of a year, and your life is turned upside down. From here, I first experienced stigma and discrimination.

My family's shame stopped me getting help for my eating disorder

September 1, 2016

My battle with bulimia started at the age of 12 but with the gift of hindsight I have discovered my battles with binging and body image started before then. I come from a family of very slim people. Despite a height range, the build is the same. Wide shoulders, slender bodies. At 20 years old and nearly four years into recovery, I can finally see that I'm built just the same. At 8 years old I thought exactly the opposite. I felt like the odd one out. I felt large. As I grew, my desire to be smaller grew too. Doing exercise in my room on the carpet or bed, I was so proud of myself.

Stigma as a young person stopped me from getting help

July 14, 2016

Everyone says that your school days shape your life. But I feel that mine did in a profound way. And I’m still affected by it every day. I was sixteen when I first started struggling significantly with mental ill health. At the time I had no idea what it was – or even if I was ill – and that terrified me; the idea that I could be like that forever was my worst nightmare.

The word psychosis is still met with fear and judgement

Melissa, July 11, 2016

My name is Melissa, I am 26 years old and have experienced symptoms of psychosis for as long as I can remember. If I mentioned my symptoms to anyone it was put down to “imagination” or some sort of supernatural phenomena, like ghosts; no one ever thought that it could be something to do with my mental health.

Finding my voice as a Time to Change Young Champion

July 7, 2016

Three years ago, I lost my voice. I could still say what I was expected to, say what people wanted me to, say whatever I was told to, but I couldn’t seem to find my voice. I could say whatever anyone needed me to, anyone but me. My voice had been almost silenced by the people around me. I was made quieter by the people who called me selfish, the people who thought I was weak, the people who convinced me I wasn’t worth their time or energy, all because of my worsening mental health.

I've lost count of the myths I've heard around personality disorders

June 20, 2016

a photo of the author. The best part of my job as a service user trainer is seeing a professional change their opinion, or at very least want to explore their preconceived ideas surrounding personality disorder. I struggle to accept or sympathise with the blanket generalisations placed on people with the diagnosis without any real thought or exploration.

When I talk about my OCD I hope people will listen

June 11, 2016

My name is Josh Davis and I am 18 years old. I have suffered from extreme OCD for 9 years of my life now and have faced moments where I have just not wanted to continue or thought I can’t. I have experienced OCD for 9 years and only just recently reached out for help.

Fellow students being open gave me hope that stigma can be broken

, May 7, 2016

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an anxious perfectionist. When I was 3, that centred around using up too many stickers or colouring outside the lines; at 5 it was a fear of dying; at 8 it was a paralysing fear of lifts and at 16 it was the incessant worry of not getting 100% in everything at school. For years, I dismissed these feelings as normal parts of life, necessary sacrifices for success, things that everyone had to deal with.

Embracing the taboo of mental health

Victoria, April 6, 2016

Approximately 3 years ago, just after I had finished my first year undergraduate law exams, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. Since then, I have achieved more than I ever thought I could. But my biggest achievement by far has been learning to be happy in myself.

A day at the Children and Young People Kent Roadshow

March 10, 2016

On Thursday 10 March, we hosted our fourth children and young people Roadshow event aimed at the voluntary sector, schools and others working with children and young people. At the event, a panel of young people and representatives from Kent Healthy Schools, Mental Health First Aid, Headstart Kent, a local headteacher and a young person spoke about their personal experiences of mental health problems and the opportunities for local services to engage in joint working and share their learning to tackle stigma and discrimination.

A day at the Children and Young People Bristol Roadshow

March 2, 2016

On Tuesday 1 March, we hosted our third children and young people Roadshow event aimed at the voluntary sector, schools and others working with children and young people. At the event, a panel of young people and representatives from YoungMinds, Off the Record Bristol and the British Youth Council spoke about their personal experiences of mental health problems and the opportunities for local services to engage in joint working and share their learning to tackle stigma and discrimination.

A day at the Children and Young People Liverpool Roadshow

February 11, 2016

Recorded live at the second Time to change children and young people Roadshow event, Liverpool, 08/02/16

On Monday 8 February, we hosted our second children and young people Roadshow event aimed at the voluntary sector, schools and others working with children and young people. At the event, Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger MP spoke about her vision for tackling stigma and discrimination around mental health and a panel of speakers from local services discussed opportunities for joint working and how to set up networks in order to share learning.

A day at the Children and Young People London roadshow

January 28, 2016

Recorded live at the first Time to change children and young people Roadshow event, London, 28/01/16

Today is the first of our four children and young people Roadshow events aimed at the voluntary sector, schools and others working with children and young people. We are privileged to have a range of speakers and young champions with lived experience of mental health problems who have kindly agreed to chat to us at today’s event.

We need to challenge the fear we have of talking about mental illness

January 18, 2016

You miss school because you need a mental health day and people will ask you what was wrong and you’ll lie about it. For a moment you’ll hesitate, maybe tell the truth - but then, before you know what you’re doing, you’re lying and saying that you just had a migraine. You didn’t have a migraine. It’s then that you realise that you’re ashamed of your mental illness, embarrassed even, and you don’t know why. Maybe, it’s because mental illnesses are so often invalidated, deemed as unreal and ‘all in your head’ (where else is it supposed to be?).

Why I opened up about my mental illness

December 3, 2015

I knew for a long time that I had a particularly melancholic attitude towards a variety of things.Rory's blog However, I chose to plod on deliberately ignoring the clear signs and symptoms that pointed towards me suffering from depression. I chose for many years to suffer in silence – but I can say now that I feel better having opened up about my depression and actually seeking support.

Mental health should not be a conversation stopper

November 6, 2015

Depression.Kate's blog Go on, say it. It's such a.... depressing word. It conjures up pictures of a person sitting on a dingy sofa, clutching their head and looking anguished. I have depression. I also have a family, dogs and a cat. There are packed lunches to make, teeth to brush, faces to wash, the school run.

Stigma sometimes gets in the way but I know I am capable of succeeding at university

August 19, 2015

13th September 2014 was one of the most important days of my life so far. I was moving to university to study a social work degree. I’d blogged about my journey for months on my blog and it was finally here. The moment I had been waiting for. I was elated. But at the same time, I was filled with dread. This was a big experience for me, and one that would test my mental health.

I've experienced stigma but I'm still open about my mental health problems

August 18, 2015

A-levels are hard for everyone. The challenge to “do well” is enough when you’re healthy, but when you suffer from severe mood swings and impulses, which leave you exhausted, irritable and sometimes incapacitated, it sets a whole new challenge. My bipolarity came to the surface at a bad time.

What my stigmatising and supportive experiences have taught me

August 10, 2015

Memory is a fickle thing; if I need to remember to buy washing powder from Sainsburys then there is a 100% chance of me completely forgetting it. On at least three consecutive occasions. Before I give up completely and buy it online. On the other hand there's the trivial things that stay with you decades later. Here are two that have stuck with me across the years:

Bipolar disorder does not define me

May 22, 2015

I have had Bipolar Affective Disorder since I was 18 and my mental health problems became more severe during my first year of university, which resulted in me being in hospital for 9 weeks.Gideon's blog It is certainly the hardest challenge I’ve had to face.

I made the big leap to tell people about my mental illness

March 4, 2015

I have struggled with mental illness for a few years, specifically a mood disorder. Bryony's blog2014 was a bit of a tricky year for me, constantly roller-coastering up and down but, for the majority of it, I was in a dark place. Self harm and thoughts of taking my own life consumed me.

I am finding living with anxiety tough but I am speaking up

February 27, 2015

Throughout my younger years, I'd always been the 'happy kid'. Sian's blog The one that was always smiling and joking. I was confident too, taking part in plays and volunteering answers in class. When I got to the age of 14, I started to feel 'down', or at least that was how I thought of it. Suddenly I lacked the enthusiasm I once had.

It is important to let others know they are not alone - Take 5 To Blog

February 5, 2015

My name is Sophie and I have experienced depression and anxiety.

My mental illness has affected my college education as getting up each morning is a battle.

My greatest source of support has been the friends that understand, the doctors and my tutors.

My hope for the future is that I will overcome my struggles and that everyone experiencing mental health issues feels able to talk and find the support they need.

Why I am trying to be more open about my eating disorder

January 28, 2015

Six years ago, aged 17, I was admitted to a mental health adolescent ward with anorexia.Hope blog I spent a year living in hospital, fighting my eating disorder. It was by far the hardest year of my life, but without it I would not be here anymore. It was hard work, and every meal was a battle.

Stigma is still a big problem but my family and others have been there for me

December 15, 2014

Even though I have experienced mental illness for many years, I still question how people are going to react to me.Amy blog I think stigma is still a great problem in modern society especially with the majority of the media showing negative stereotypes of mental illness. Luckily, my family, friends and teachers have been extremely supportive.

We need to discuss mental health issues in school

September 1, 2014

We need to keep people in schools by ensuring that mental health issues are discussed, not hidden away

“So, two A’s for English I see. Well, I hardly think you deserve them given your lack of attendance to my class.” That is what my English teacher said to me on GSCE results day. It all seems so long ago now but I will never forget how my teacher decided to shame me rather than praise me for my success.

It's time to change the stigma associated with mental health

August 14, 2014

I was bullied during my entire school life. Sometimes I think back about my bullies and feel myself seething with rage, other times I completely understand why they did it. I was always an odd one at school, either bursting into tears at the tiniest thing and not speaking to anyone for days on end, or being so hyper that I'd get sent out of lessons and given detentions every other day.

See me after school: It's OK to be myself, and to experience anxiety

May 23, 2014

I’m been thinking about root causes of anxiety. claire blog How & why does it develop? Are some people simply born with an anxious temperament, or does traumatic experience trigger it? Personally I think it’s a mixture. I was born with the ability to develop an anxious condition if the right environment were presented.  For me, this environment was secondary school.

Stand Up Kid, Stand Up Teacher - talking about mental health in a school

May 10, 2014

As a ‘Time to change Champion' you get to have many interesting conversations with lovely people, usually one to one, but every so often you get a wonderful opportunity to talk to groups. One of these opportunities led to potentially the best conversation of my life, and a critical moment in my recovery, all at a Time to Change event. There was a little issue with this group that I was stood in front of, besides my wife, her colleagues and friends, a former teacher of mine, and just over 200 year 9’s (13 and 14 year olds) in a large Comprehensive school.

Depression, anxiety and PTSD: Talking was my first step towards recovery

May 7, 2014

The day the doctor said:

“These seizures you are having are non-epileptic.”

It was really frustrating. I wanted to actually know what was going on - they had done all kinds of tests.

“The only option is to send you to a psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents,” he said.

“… Hang on there”, I said, “You only have just told me.”

Friends allow me to be myself - I don't have to hide my depression from them

April 25, 2014

As a person who has mental health difficulties, I can understand the importance of things in life. matthew The routine of life, the knowledge of how good and bad days affect us (particular people with mental health difficulties) and the way people with mental health issues can be judged. One thing I have learnt most though is who I can truly trust and rely upon.

I felt guilty for struggling with depression and needed someone else to encourage me to seek help

April 24, 2014

There was a time three years ago which I often identify as the time where I was at my worst. As an international student in his first year spending the Christmas break on campus was not easy. I was deeply depressed (although did not know the name at the time) and would spend the entire day in my room for weeks on end apart from going for the occasional run. I was also anxious and felt unable to connect with anyone.

OCD: My illness has made me a much stronger person

March 20, 2014

Looking at me, no one can tell what, if anything, is 'wrong' with me. This is the problem with mental illness, you can't see it. I have a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety.

My friends made life a little bit more possible

March 17, 2014

danielaHaving a mental health problem makes life complicated. For me, a teenage girl, going to boarding school, living with 7 other girls in a room, life seemed impossible, but it wasn’t just that: life always seemed impossible, at home, at school, wherever I was. There wasn’t exactly a lot of privacy with my mental health problem.

Recovery and being open about my condition

March 7, 2014

estherHow do you explain to someone what it feels like to have depression, to feel like you are 'dead in a city of pulses'? How can you get someone to understand how seriously anxiety affects you in your daily life, when each panic attack feels like gravity is holding you down and crushing you?

My friend was always a text message away and gave me hope

February 3, 2014

Depressed. Anxious. Borderline. These labels only added to the feeling that I was wrong, that I wasn’t like anyone else. I felt like no matter what I did this constant emptiness would follow me, a disease slowly eating me away from the inside. The worst part was that I couldn’t tell anyone. My childhood ensured that.

The scariest thing was the feeling of being completely alone

December 4, 2013

BeckiI've been struggling to different degrees over the last ten years and at the moment feel like I'm doing ok.

I actually work as a mental health support worker, trying to help others to get their lives on track and to get appropriate treatments. And yes, I do this job because of what I've been through.

Speaking out about my mental health experience at my college

November 25, 2013

The last time I saw my diagnosis a couple of years ago at the age of 14; I had emerging borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, recurring depressive disorder and high levels of anxiety. But the hardest thing for people to understand is the fact that I hear voices.

The BPD diagnosis does not stop me being human

November 4, 2013

AimeeA while ago, a doctor in A&E told a very good friend of mine that her injury was 'a classic Borderline self-harm cut.' Later, a different doctor told my friend that her injury should never have been referred to like that and apologised profusely for the other Doctors words.

Who can I talk to about my mental health?

October 30, 2013

I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Schizotypal Personality Disorder (StPD), Depression and Agoraphobia, so a bit of a list there. It’s a struggle knowing where one conditions begins and another ends. I don’t feel like I have a “normal” day and if I have, at any point, a “normal moment” I try and hold on to it for dear life but everything changes so quickly.

Going to University with a mental illness

October 25, 2013

Before I applied for university to study a MA I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety and spent time working to realise I was poorly and needed help.

How do you tell someone that you’re depressed?

October 15, 2013

Okay maybe you don’t tell them straight away, I usually don’t, though I feel like they need to know about me in case I ever get in a bad way. Just so they are prepared for it - if I suddenly locked myself in my room all day, not eating or drinking, people would probably find me pretty weird if they didn’t know I had a mental illness.

Eventually I asked for help

October 8, 2013

JoshuaJune 2009. A hot summer night in Manchester. It finally happened. I was on the pavement, cradled in the arms of my best friend.My face felt as if it was on fire and I could hear someone screaming hysterically. It took me a moment to realise that this sound was coming from me.

I had hit rock bottom.

Brighton Pride – our presence with Time To Change

September 17, 2013

As many of you may know, Brighton Village was held on Saturday 3rd August 2013. When I am home for the summer, Brighton is just over an hour on the train away so I knew I had to go this year. I have been a huge supporter of Time to Change for a long time now and am a registered Champion. I applied for a volunteering position with them at the beginning of June.

A level results day and your mental health

August 21, 2013

LucyLast Thursday was A Level results day, and my Twitter feed was packed with people talking about how they felt when they picked up their results, or how they still get anxious at the very thought, even though many years have passed since they were the ones waiting to open that envelope.

The Time to Change Village at Birmingham International School

July 31, 2013

BaileyBailey went along to the Time to Change Young People's Village at the Birmingham International School as part of her work experience with us. Here are her impressions of the day...

Upon my first steps into the large and rather warm hall of Birmingham International School, I was greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of young people at the Time to Change Village.

SRSH: Talking about student mental health

June 27, 2013

Nicola Byrom, founding director of Student Run Self HelpRecovery is an interesting concept. The Oxford English Dictionary defines recovery as the restoration of a person to a healthy or normal condition. In this sense we think of recovery as a process of leaving damage behind, of getting life back to normal.

Starting at university: I thought I could hide my anorexia

June 4, 2013

LauraStarting university is a unique experience. Leaving your hometown, family and school friends is daunting but moving to a brand new city, making new lifelong friends and gaining independence is an experience incomparable to any other.

Sometimes I think that I'm not depressed

May 30, 2013

There are some days when I still think, ‘I’m not depressed, I’m just lazy.’ But the truth of it is, I am. I am depressed. Yet saying it out loud makes me cringe every time.

I have told a few people, some were great and very understanding (unlike some my employer has been fantastic). My friends and family on the other hand well, like me, I don’t think they really have or will accept it.

Talk about mental health at school

May 29, 2013

Laura and FranHey :) my name is Laura and I am 16. I suffer from anxiety, mild OCD and am recovering from panic disorder :)

Hello :D I am Fran, I am also 16 and I suffer from severe depression, anxiety and OCD.

Although we suffer from different mental illnesses, thanks to them over the past few years we have formed a very strong friendship.

Academic life and mental illness is not a smooth ride but it can be done

May 15, 2013

Kate, a lecturer at GoldsmithsI'm a university lecturer at Goldsmiths and during Mental Health Awareness week I'm sitting on a staff/student panel, an event organised by our Disability Team, discussing the challenges of mental health issues and university life. The reasons I feel able to contribute to this?

I ignored the symptoms of depression

April 29, 2013

RebeccaWhen I was 14 years old, the style of ‘emo’ was rife. Joke upon joke suffocated anyone with dyed hair and skinny jeans, most of them fixated upon depression and self-harm.

I had depression at this stage but for me it was all about avoiding the symptoms. If I felt emotional it was because of hormones, if I had no energy I should go back to sleep, If I couldn’t sleep it was because of my uncomfortable bed.

Depression at university: it took a friend to notice

March 21, 2013

The word "depression" written out in the form of an equation | Time to ChangeIt was a huge step; packing up my belongings and leaving to go to university 200 miles away from home. I was excited but terrified. I was leaving friends, family and a boyfriend of 2 years. I was sure we could make it work long distance.

Depression: I yearned for those drunken nights where I could say anything

March 15, 2013

AmberAt the time, it was becoming harder not to feel lonely. It was becoming harder not to lie down in my bed at night and not spend hours staring at the ceiling. Usually this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, usually, this would be quite refreshing to sit and think – but what about when your thoughts no longer occupy your mind, what about when your dreams no longer excite you enough to close your eyes?

Talking to my manager about mental health

February 20, 2013

Louise, Vice-President Community and Welfare at UWE Last year, I completely and utterly fell in love with the Time To Change campaign. At a time where I felt broken, I was desperately looking for a safety net, I really needed something telling me that things were going to be ok.

Talking to my friend about her mental health

January 24, 2013

Cat and Catherine blog for Time to ChangeRather than talk just about my own mental illness, I’m going to focus this blog more on my friend Cat. We met and became friends at uni (she’s a finalist, I graduated in July) and we both moved into a shared house with two good friends just over a year ago.

Review: E4's My Mad Fat Diary

January 14, 2013

Rae Earl and cast of E4's My Big Fat Mad Diary | Time to ChangeI’m chilling out on the sofa, making the most of the last few days of the Christmas holiday by playing rubbish games on my phone, when I hear “My name is Rae. It’s 1996, I’m 16, 16 stone, and desperate for a shag. Oh yeah, and I’ve been in a mental hospital for a while”.

The first time I said "I self harm"

January 10, 2013

Suzie blogs about her experiences of self-harm for Time to ChangeWarning, some readers may find this post triggering.

Hi, my name is Suzi and I am a self harmer but I am 7 and a half years cut free. That’s how I think of self harming. I don’t self harm now but I am always in recovery, just like being in AA.

Social anxiety and bullying: Talking to people gave me confidence

November 23, 2012

Katie, a Time to Change bloggerEvery morning, I used to have the same feeling, the same dread and anxiety about what might happen at college that day. The bullies we’re there waiting every day and something would happen most days. The snidey remarks, the topic of gossip at college or facebook and being that target. It’s as if I was their entertainment, I was their entertainment.

I hear voices: I'm human not crazy

October 24, 2012

Rachel, deputy editor of British Style BloggersMy mother is looking at my nail-polish, bitten, chipped and the colour of a rose, deep red. She reads a poster on the wall, then looks back to my hands. They are shaking, nails on one hand gripping the other so tightly I know I am leaving indentations of half-moons, tiny little nervous red marks.

After my manic episode I felt ashamed

October 19, 2012

Felicity, a Time to Change bloggerDuring the lead up to my manic episode I had begun to lose patience with a lot of people. I was arguing with them all the time and could not understand why they were not cooperating with what I wanted them to do. Friendships slowly fizzled out. The pressure mounted from final year studies, graduate job applications and extra circular activities so then I went into mania very quickly.

Depression: it took a crisis to make me talk

October 3, 2012

I experienced mental illness for years but it took something huge to make me eventually open up. It was no longer my choice to talk, it was unavoidable. I wish I had disclosed my problems sooner and had control over when the truth came out about my mental health. Just as it’s never too late to talk, it’s never too early either.

10 mental health tips for parents

September 27, 2012

Photo of Ziaul, a Time to Change bloggerIn my personal experience the support from my parents has been essential to my recovery. Since my diagnosis of depression and a first episode of psychosis they have really been there for me.

Telling friends about depression

September 26, 2012

Elizabeth, a Time to Change bloggerFriends are there for a lot of your ‘first times’ – your first day at school, your first car ride after finally passing your test, your first time out clubbing, but what about the first time you confide in them about your

Social anxiety at school: the best actor in the world’s worst play

September 17, 2012

Sarah, a Time to Change bloggerI never thought of myself as a good liar but when I eventually faced up to my problems I realised that's what I had been doing constantly, for 3 years, to my family, my friends and even myself. I've been described as 'the best actor in the worlds worst play', which I think is appropriate.

The not very secret diary of a clinically depressed boy

August 8, 2012

Photo of Dale, a Time to Change bloggerI have never constructed a creative piece of writing in my life. I tried to write a book at the age of 10, but sadly, my story ended on page 7. This was despite my best efforts at stretching out the story by writing in huge font sizes and leaving mammoth gaps between each word. Anybody remember the rule at primary school whereby you should leave a finger gap between each word?

I was written off as a faker because I have a mental illness

July 16, 2012

Cassandra, a Time to Change bloggerIn December last year I was walking home from another busy 12 hour shift, where I worked in a nursing home. It was a cold frosty night and I was exhausted from working three long days on no sleep. I remember walking home wishing and praying for sleep that coming night in order to get me through another 12 hour shift the next day. I could not let my fellow colleagues and more importantly the residents down by leaving them short staffed.

Mental health stigma: how many more young people will be left feeling ignored?

June 27, 2012

Photo of flameThat feeling, the one on the underground, as the doors slam shut and the train pulls away. You are left stood on an empty platform, the faces of the passengers squeezed into each carriage speeding past, as they begin getting on with their day, their life, and you’re left stood there, alone: your life is on hold.

Depression: "I am a stronger person... because I talked about it"

Matt, June 26, 2012

Photo of Matt, a Time to Change bloggerDepression. More than just a word. A very real, debilitating condition. I was diagnosed with it when I had just turned 16 and in truth knew very little about it. But it was through talking to people about how I was feeling that I came to be in the doctor's surgery being told that I had depression and referred to a counselling service.

Self-harm: scars of an invisible illness

June 25, 2012

Woman stood on a pier, looking at the seaPlease note: do not read this blog if you feel vulnerable to triggering issues. 

Mental health problems are often thought of as ‘invisible illnesses’; that is, their effects are not immediately obvious to a stranger. There is a notable exception to this rule, however, and those who are familiar with self-harm are all too readily aware of this.

Broken arm vs. broken mind

June 8, 2012

Silhouette of person climbing a mountainI broke my arm last year and was bowled over by people’s reactions. Nearly everyone I came across asked me if I was ok, what had happened and if there was anything they could do to help.

Mental health awareness week: don't let people suffer in silence

May 21, 2012

Psycho, nutter, loon, mad, mentally ill. To be honest it doesn’t matter what terminology is used, they all spell out the same thing: I’m different, an outcast, not "normal".

From the moment a referral was made to mental health services I was suddenly a different person. It didn’t matter that five minutes ago I was like everyone else, just a fifteen year old girl. Suddenly I was set apart and needed different treatment to everyone else.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: "I am glad that I can now talk openly about it"

May 15, 2012

I first became unwell as an adolescent. At age 14, I started experiencing severe depression, panic attacks and obsessive tendencies. The obsessive behaviours included compulsive skin picking, a disorder also known as dermatillomania. I began to pick at areas of skin on my face.

When help seems to fail, who do you blame?

May 14, 2012

Photo of two santa statues on a window sillAt the young age of ten it was easy for me to remember my dolly whenever I left the house and to hide my vegetables in the dog if I didn’t want to eat them but to understand and be aware of mental health was a completely different matter.

For That Strange Little Kid...

May 10, 2012

Painting of a man's face'Look at his wild eyes; he’s mad'.

I distinctly remember my brother and my mother looking at me and saying those words. I must have been around thirteen or fourteen. They were both sitting on the sofa and I was in the middle of the room

Mental health discrimination: I was accused of being an attention seeker

May 8, 2012

Photo of Rebecca, a Time to Change bloggerI wanted to write and talk about my experiences of depression and discrimination as a young adult. I started self harming when I was 16 and had recently started Sixth Form College. My parents were told and they were shocked and disgusted. I was punished for this and had my MP3 and my television taken off me.

When to speak out about mental health problems

April 19, 2012

Photo of Mark, a Time to Change bloggerIt was never part of my plan to work in mental health. In fact as a student in Cambridge in 1990 I had no plan for my life at all. It was then that my psychosis suddenly struck. Although I managed to graduate a year later I was left with a future of medication, incarceration, and no hope of getting better. I certainly never believed I would ever work.

Dear Mam...

March 17, 2012

Dear Mam,

There are not enough words to say how much I want to thank you for not giving up on me. Without you I wouldn’t have recovered from anorexia and instead your last memories of me would be tainted by that horrible illness which turned me into an evil, lying monster.

School fails mental health test

December 20, 2011

I am subject to a gagging order. My employers thought it prudent to offer me a settlement and silence me by contract to ensure that I never utter a seditious line.

So here we go. I will tell you what I know.

For eight years I worked as a teacher. I was considered popular, if a little eccentric, with staff and students alike. Management had even described me as inspirational! I was involved in all aspects of the work from classroom teaching to organising school sports teams, overseas trips and excursions in the great outdoors.

Starting employment: The reporter's story

January 20, 2009

In the 1990s during my A-Levels I developed ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after three-weeks of type A or B influenza caused my immune system to collapse and never recover. I didn't get diagnosed for some years, so had to drop out of university, and suffered a “breakdown" more properly known as a major depressive episode.