This is me trying to be topical....
So today is what the wonderful people at time to change (an anti-stigma campaign set up by mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness) call Time To Talk Day.
It's all about taking a few minutes to discuss mental illness in the hopes of spreading knowledge, understanding and most importantly support. You can talk to anyone about any aspect of mental health so whether you have experienced issues, know someone that has (you will even if you don't know it yet - maybe today can be a chance to find out a bit more) or just someone that has an interest - get involved.
To do my bit I have chosen to speak to you lovely reader, please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments and/or on social media!
There is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness, I always knew this but it really came to light in my own life when my GP suggested depression might be causing the issues I've been experiencing for quite a few years now - although it's hard to know because my low iron/aneamia have similar symptoms.
The last time I visited my doctor she decided to test my bloods for iron one more time, if I am still low after being on supplements I'm headed to a specialist. If the bloods come back okay then we will look into more emotional/mental issues.
When I spoke about this to my parents one reaction was "Oh great, becoming dependent on happy pills is just what you want." as you can imagine this didn't make me feel great about the whole situation. I found myself not wanting to mention it again and retreating into myself when it came to talking about my appointment. I felt like I was a failure because it had been suggested I might not be coping emotionally without medication and that it was something that was extremely negative and almost something to be ashamed of.
Then I spoke to my cousin who herself has suffered with various mental health issues, she was amazing and it was just what I needed. We had a long chat about what symptoms I had, how they effected me and I think most importantly how I reacted to certain situations. This was when my cousin agreed that we were experiencing very similar things and that there was potential that I could be suffering from a form of depression/anxiety. She then told me she was on anti-depressants and that it's the best thing she's ever done.
This prompted me to do more research into anti-depressants and the implications they may have - I urge everyone to do this even if you won't ever need them. It opened my eyes to how many people only take them short term and it just confirmed what I already knew about the scientific and biological evidence of depression.
I'm yet to have my follow up so I don't know which path I'll wind up on but just having a small talk with someone that didn't judge or have preconceived ideas of what mental health is or isn't was a breath of fresh air. I'm now confident in knowing that if anti-depressants turn out to be the best option to get me back on the road to good health then that is what I'll do and it's okay. If you have any other health issues you'd seek medical attention and treat it so why should it be different for your mental health?
If it's just my iron and I go to a specialist at least I have gained more of an understanding of various illness's, how they can manifest and possibly how to help.
Let's keep talking about this problem because it's there and will be beyond the 4th of February because and things need to change.