Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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Working from home

Blogger Carl writes that understanding from colleagues and working from home saved his life

A couple of months ago my depression came back with a real bang. A proper wallop right across the bonce.

For me, depression does not just bring a deep, seemingly irremovable sadness painted across the surface of everything I enjoy and love, it also brings with it a rage. A rage pointed directly at me. Me and my actions. My failings. My thoughts. My feelings. My response to others. And on and on and on and on until it culminates in me physically harming myself.

It’s rubbish.

Ten years of progress: Nikki's Time to Change story

Time to Change campaigner Nikki at a stall

My story begins at the age of 13, when I first realised that something just wasn't quite right; I'd never heard of depression or anxiety because those words weren’t as common back then as they are now...but I'd heard of “nutters” and “freaks”. I'd seen people at school who were shunned because they were "weird", and I was fiercely determined not to let that happen to me, so I kept my mouth shut.

My mates made it easy for me when I told them I have PTSD

Be in your mate's corner

I was recently told that I have PTSD, and had been living with it for over half of my life. Suddenly my entire perception of the world was turned upside down; to find out that the way I had lived my life wasn't how other people did was a major shock to my system. I effectively had to learn how to be a human again.

My parents told me prayer would fix my mental health, but now I talk about my feelings

"I spent years sweeping my feelings under the rug, because that's what my family taught me is the right thing to do." – Dawn

I grew up in a family where we didn't talk about mental health so all the issues I was dealing with were swept under the rug. I was always told to pray about it because prayer solved everything and I knew/felt that wasn't true. I wanted to talk about it and find out why I felt the way I did or why I hurt myself, physically and mentally, the way I did, but no one in my family wanted to help me with that.

This is the reality of PTSD

"Next time you hear about someone having PTSD, remember it’s not a choice, it’s the result of trauma, something nobody chooses." - HomelessToHomely

It's her birthday she wakes up and excitedly wakes all her teddies up that lined the length of her bed, she reaches into the cupboard and pulls out a small parcel wrapped in sheets of a magazine tied in a ribbon from a rag doll, excitedly she unwraps the gift to reveal one of her favourite Moomin toys. She grabs Mousey tightly and thanks her for the gift, the only gift she would receive that day.

A gift she had wrapped herself some days before her birthday anticipating a repeat of previous birthdays.

I’d rather people ask questions about my schizophrenia, than assume

"We don't know other people's mental health stories without asking them. Questions are better than assumptions." - Alice

Responses from employers, when they have discovered that I have schizoaffective disorder, have been wide ranging. This has been from the humiliation of being marched unceremoniously from the premises, by a ridiculous number of panicked little men in ill-fitting suits, or to the wonderful rare occurrence of the university HR department last month, who talked me through my fear of speaking to a lecture hall full of first year students.

People must make more of an effort to understand borderline personality disorder

Every day is a struggle: the battle in my mind between wanting to die to end the pain, and trying to survive to overcome the trauma of the past and live a decent life. In an instant, emotions can go from one extreme to another and it can take a very, very long time for the intense distress to come back down to the normal emotional baseline. It’s all about tolerating the distress – how can one who has never learned to self-soothe know how to tolerate extreme distress without behaving in extreme ways?

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

Picture of blogger: Tazmin

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.