World Mental Health Day Special: A Week in a Life with a Mental Illness

October 10, 2018

Hello and welcome to a special little blog post for you… today, the 10th October is World Mental Health Day and I already can’t believe how much support and awareness I’ve seen speaking out about the conditions.

Over the last week, I’ve kept a little diary of what I’ve been up to and how I’ve felt. I may have depression, but I don’t often show I do. I can live many days positive and happy without depression or anxiety affecting me but yet some days, I can be an absolute wreck.

Wednesday 3rd October

Today I had my first proper weekday day shift at work! I usually start mid afternoon or work evenings, so this was a bit different for me. Whilst I was a little nervous before, but luckily all the staff at work are lovely and the shift was fine. I treated myself to a scone at the end of my shift (because, hungry bear) and went home after. This was a pretty good MH day for me!

Thursday 4th October

Today I was brave and got my hair chopped!!! I’ve wanted to have my hair shorter for a while now and when I was in the chair is was like, yeeeeeah just cut at fringe! You always feel like a new woman after new do which is wonderful! I had a shift at work which was really nice! Despite being on the close, so many people at work we’re drinking in the bar so I stopped for a drink after and had a good old natter and laugh with everyone!

Friday 5th October

Today, Sammy and I went out for the day to get some fresh air and an adventure. We went to explore the cathedral, which was actually so gorgeous and freshing! I didn’t even realise how big it actually was, but the building itself is beautiful. Religious buildings definitely make you feel at peace. We also went for a quick rainy walk round the city walls and I (nearly), met a tragic end after several squirrels started squaring up to me in the park. We went for a curry later in the evening and then binged watched Sex in the City later in the evening. I felt pretty anxious over my finances today. With pay day looming and having very little money, I was getting frustrated due to wanted to eat out but going overdrawn. It sounds stupid and I haven’t eaten out for ages, but afterwards I was just in a panic all day like “should have even have gone out” or “what am I going to do until Monday?!”.

Saturday 6th October

Today was my last ever day at Matalan. It was a little bit sad as I’ve worked there so long, but I haven’t been at my current store for very long so I didn’t really get much of a goodbye! Can be a little disheartening but I didn’t really take it to heart too much. I then spent the afternoon attempting to do work. I think this is when my mental health starts to get shoddy. I have an issue with concentration, finding it really difficult to focus on a given task for very long. It’s a little bit of a vicious circle, especially as deadline looms. After faffing all day I got very little done. Definitely feeling disheartened. I also realised today I’ve forgotten to take my meds for the last two days. Could this be the reason for my downer of a mood?

Sunday 7th October

Was feeling pretty anxious when I woke up due to workload… I was feeling really stuck with my work. Mind blank. Mind freeze. I’ve been really struggling with motivation to go through with my uni work. It’s so interesting to read about, however I’m constantly so anxious that it’s going to be terrible and I’m going to fail again. I tried to combat this by emailing my course leader so I can have a meeting about a few things and how to tackle to rest of my presentation. I went to work which was fine, but it was a really stressful shift (Sunday lunches are craaaazy!). After my shift, I stopped for some drinks but I was so tired and had barely eaten all day, so I got drunk really quickly.

Monday 8th October

Today was a bit of a shoddy day. Because I’d been drinking last night, I always feel awful the next day. I’m so anxious and tired. We had a lecture on cancer and because I was feeling overly emotional, whilst it was interesting it was also quite sad, especially with one of our case studies. I forgot to take my meds again and now I’m panicking the reason I’m so sad and emotional is because of that?! I had work later in the evening and for some reason, I just felt really really nervous and anxious. As if everyone hated me and no one wanted to talk to me. Obviously, this wasn’t the case and my shift was FINE. But still. It sucked.

Tuesday 9th October

Hello, so today I felt a little better. I had a uni lecture this morning, but I reaaaaally don’t like my lecturer for this certain unit. I really think she doesn’t have much emotional awareness, or it appears so to me. We did an activity called the ‘resilience bucket’ and I just found it too simplistic to mental health. You can’t just be like oh to calm me down I’ll prepare things the night before. Sureeee, this is true and it does help, but if I’m anxious and nervous before placement, it doesn’t just go away by making my lunch the night before. Probably me being overly sensitive, but again, I was frustrated. We did a food shop and I managed to pay all my bills and people back which was very relieving!!! However, work today has been pathetic again. I did some reading… nothing really went in, and then I fell asleep when I tried to do some revision on the sofa. It’s my fault I know, but it just means as the time gets closer, I get more nervous. But I still find it hard to concentrate and do work.

So, what’s the importance of me talking about this?

Well, as you know, I’m a huge advocate for talking about your mental health. I suffered in silence for many years before I sought out help, so I know how utterly debilitating it can be to feel like you’re all alone and it’s all “in your head”. Strangely enough, we all have mental health. 100% of us. Every single being on the planet. And a lot of us (1 in 4, probably more) have a mental illness.

One of the things I bang of most about is TALKING. Mental illness doesn’t just disappear. Therapy, medication, mindfulness….. just some of the things we can do daily to combat our illness. But the best thing? The thing that can help someone you didn’t even know could be suffering? TALKING! Heads Together found that only 4 in 10 found talking about their own mental health useful, but if they’d recently engaged in conversation this was raised to 8 in 10… double!!!! Highlighting how important that talking is. 80% of people. Words are powerful. Talk. Speak. Write. Be kind to others and yourself always and stand up for your mental health, and don’t be afraid to talk about it.

The theme this year is young people and mental health. Mental health can affect anyone of any age, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent in the younger ages. It’s becoming ever more and more evident that we need education in schools and colleges to raise awareness and help people feel empowered. However, if you don’t have contact in schools, this can be difficult? So what can you do. For one, social media is EXTREMELY powerful and influential for young people and you can help make a change. Be powerful and kind. Don’t send horrible messages. Make people feel good about themselves. Support them, empower them and talk and raise awareness of mental health. And in real life? Talk to young people. Be open. They’re acting different? Being quiet or spending lots of time in their rooms? Not wanting to come and hang out? Well be gentle, but talk. If they really don’t want to talk (as some young people don’t), just show support and show you care.

Mental health is SO important and it’s okay not to be okay ❤️

Emma x

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