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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Anxiety can be more terrifying than people imagine

These photos were taken just hours apart. I know the second one may be shocking, and certainly not the kind of picture anyone would be rushing to share on social media! However, I'm posting it because I know months ago, before I was diagnosed with anxiety, I thought I was the only person in the world who felt the way I did.

At school, I never wanted anyone to know about my anxiety

For me, anxiety comes with shame. In school, I wanted nothing more than for my struggle with anxiety to go unnoticed by my peers and teachers. You could not have paid me a million pounds to admit it to anyone; all I wanted was to seem just like everyone else. Even now, it makes my cheeks go pink when I am reminded that I, so used to identifying as smart, capable and “normal”, have a disability.

Before I had them myself, I feared people with mental health problems

There is something unsettling about the ambiguity of mental health. The brain is of course steeped in mystery; a complex organ we have less understanding of than any other organ in our body, the core to one of life’s greatest mysteries – life itself. Fear often always follows the unknown, the misunderstood and from experience fear has always followed mental health.

Talking about my self-harm helped me feel less ashamed

It is estimated that 4 in 100 people in the UK struggle with self-harm. It is one of the most common coping mechanisms for those suffering mental illnesses, yet it is still a taboo subject.

Self-harm is when someone intentionally harms or injures themselves. It is often a way of coping with overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and is very misunderstood.

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