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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I have finally and truly become unashamedly me

When we struggle with mental health, there often seem to be more darker days than bright. The days we feel alone and need that bit more support. If the support is not there, it becomes all the more cruel. We feel more alone than ever. The ones we expect to support us the most, those closest to us can be the most stigmatising and it becomes harder to see a positive side to life. But with time things can, and do, change.

Even the strongest people need support sometimes

My mental health problems started on 7 August 2012 at 5.30pm. I got a call from my sister telling me my Dad had gone into cardiac arrest and to get home quickly. By the time I’d got to my flat to drive up to the Midlands I’d had another call to say the paramedics had certified my Dad as dead.

The man who had always been there, always a friend, a power of strength, the person who gave me life, my values and loved me warts and all. My world had been taken from me and I hadn’t had the chance to say goodbye.

I knew it wasn't just "teenage blues"

Depression and anxiety is a part of my life. I recognise now that it has been for the majority of my life. But it took a long time for me to realise and accept this. I didn't want to be "ill". The stigma surrounding mental illness was built within me, passed down through generations of people "pulling themselves together".

My emetophobia is irrational, but it’s very real for me

I’m not sure how long I’ve had emetophobia, a fear of vomiting or being sick, but I remember the first time I had a panic attack because of sick I was around 10. Since then, every time someone has been sick in the same room as me, I have had a panic attack. I also get triggered by thoughts, sounds, and smells. Sometimes I can’t watch TV or films if they show throwing up, too.

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