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 a mental illness but I’m still human

I’ve lived with bipolar disorder for fifty years, but recently came to see that this was not my only mental health problem. I always knew I was a bit too much of a child, but the degree to which this affected my behaviour and people’s view of me came as a surprise. I only realized recently, as I talked with my husband, how serious my emotional problems were. People don’t usually tell you such things.

Bringing binge eating disorder out from the shadows

I have Binge Eating Disorder, which can affect both men and women and usually starts in a person’s early adulthood.

From the NHS website:

“The main symptom of binge eating disorder is eating very large amounts of food in a short time, often in an out-of-control way. But symptoms may also include:

If you have anxiety, you are NOT annoying

Throughout my life I have had acquaintances, people who would speak to me in class who I would have a joke or a deep conversation with, but I’ve always had very few friends. I think this is mainly down to the fact that I don't push myself in many ways and actually prefer to stay in than go out to parties – yes, I'm a granny I know, but there is something about lighting a candle and putting your slippers on! I’ve struggled to fit in or be accepted by others.

I shouldn't have had to hide my mental illness

I’ve struggled with mental health problems for 4 years now. I started my first year at college, being that independent person my parents always wanted me to be, but then everything just came tumbling down. My family and I all went through a very traumatic time and that’s where it all began.

Self-stigma made me keep my mental health a secret

When we think of stigma and mental health, we tend to think of hurtful societal reactions and prejudice based on negative stereotypes. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Those with mental health problems also frequently suffer from self-stigma. This is where a person takes on wider social prejudices about mental illness, internalizes them, starts to believe and incorporate them into their self-image.

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