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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Because I looked 'healthy' my eating disorder was dismissed

Hi I’m Nayena, a young champion for Time To Change. I love writing, art, and music. Nothing makes me happier than good vegan food. My friends say I’m a calm, witty, and positive person. I’ve also been diagnosed with depression and anorexia. For too long, I’ve been terrified of speaking out about my mental health. But here I am, telling my story.

How I wish people would react when they see my scars

After self-harming for almost a decade, next week will mark three years since I last self-injured. Before I sat down to write this (and unwrite some parts and write this again), I was reflecting on my experiences since my self-injuries became scars.

In times of crisis, talking about my mental health kept me going

I remember when someone first spoke to me about my mental health. I'd had a panic attack in college, something that happened quite frequently despite me not realising what a panic attack was at the time, but this time a tutor noticed and advised me to visit a doctor. At this point I thought nothing of it since I'd put my anxiety symptoms down to a physical issue rather than a mental issue, despite struggling with it for two years already, and so I agreed to book a doctor's appointment the following day.

Talking about mental health is only the beginning

As I psych myself up to write this, I contemplate how many things I have had to psych myself up for already today...getting out of bed, getting washed, brushing my hair, eating, driving to work, focusing on conversations, meeting deadlines, remembering what I have to do and in what order, and this is all before midday. This has been a part of my 'routine' for the last 15 years and it is exhausting.

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