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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5 ways talking about mental health changed my life

People often say that a problem shared is a problem halved. Unfortunately I’ve learnt first hand that this is sometimes easier said than done when it comes to mental health. Having been diagnosed with Bipolar and Anxiety Disorder when I was 19, I spent 10 years never really talking about my mental health.

I have always been open about my diagnosis but when it came to really talking about it, discussing what it meant, how it felt and most importantly how to deal with it, that was a conversation that only ever happened internally.

To support someone, just listen without judgement

I used to be embarrassed of my anxiety, but now I embrace it. I have suffered from anxiety since I was little, but it only really started to show a few years ago. 

I found myself cancelling plans with friends, family and colleagues. I would accept an invite and then a couple of days before I would cancel and make something up. 

I started calling in sick to work more often because I didn't feel well enough to go in. Not because I had a stomach bug etc, but because my anxiety was really bad. 

The stigma around mental health makes it harder to deal with

Since the age of 12 I have struggled with my mental health. I became anorexic between 12 and 14, and then I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at 17.

Despite days of feeling fine and genuinely happy with life and the world that’s out there, there is always that part of my head where my depression and anxiety make sure they have something to say.

Talking about bipolar has helped both myself and others

“You have bipolar? I don’t even know what that is”.

It was at this second that I knew I needed to spread the word about bipolar.

I was diagnosed with bipolar in July 2018 and when I realised there was a lack of understanding specifically around bipolar as an illness, I wanted to share my day to day experiences with anyone who was interested to show the ups and downs of having it.

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