Saturday, 16 April 2016

Struggling with Mental Health | Kea Angel

Hello Everyone!

Today's post is something a bit different to some of my more recent posts but if you've been reading for a while then you will have seen content like this before.
I am going to be talking about my struggles with mental health. Mental health is important and when I was in school, it was not talked about enough.
I am not here to tell you that it's perfectly normal to suffer badly because it's not. It is, however, common. When I say that it's "not normal" I don't mean it in a bad way, it's not something that is supposed to happen to people, it's a chemical unbalance and it's painful. It is common.
I'm not going to tell you the details about some of the reasons that I have struggled because I'm not ready to publically speak about them. I am now ready to talk about how I struggled and things.

But, let's start with some statistics. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year which means, the chances are, we all know someone struggling with mental illness. 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem.

Some people still believe that people who suffer from mental illness are violent and unpredictable when the chances are, they are probably a victim of violence.

So, this is my experience with mental health.

For as long as I can remember (my memory is a bit all over the place so this might not make complete sense) I have been sad and anxious. I just thought that it was perfectly normal. I just tried to carry on.

The most vivid memories of my struggle are during high school. It was very bad, I wasn't in a good place. I was self harming a lot. I tried to kill myself, luckily didn't work. It was so hard to do anything, I missed quite a lot of school because I would pretend to be sick. I found that no one really understood and seemed to think that my education was more important than my mental health and that I was exaggerating because I didn't want to go to school but I didn't want to go to school because it seemed pointless and I just wanted to die.

I didn't want to get out of bed and I had people telling me to stop going to sleep so late and to stop laying in bed all day but it wasn't because I was tired. I was sad, it just seemed so pointless to get out of bed and it was so hard and no one should be that sad. No one should be so sad that it becomes a struggle to get out of bed. I found myself wanting to sleep a lot but struggling with insomnia. This is when I was prescribed Circadin which is sleeping medication. I would take them as soon as I got home from school at 4pm and be asleep by 6pm and just sleep until the morning. I couldn't get the words out about how I felt, like, they wouldn't come out of my mouth.

For a while, it was kind of like I was stuck, like frozen. Everything around me was going on and I remember just staring and everything carried on around me as if I wasn't there and it was like they were in fast forward and I was in slow motion. I either ate too much or I didn't eat at all, I slept too much or too little. I cried too much or not enough. I smiled too much or not enough. I tried so hard to convince myself and everyone else that things were completely fine and normal. It worked, for a while.

In amongst all of this, I had panic attacks. They scared me, I knew what was happening but, I didn't know that it happened to everyone else. I had one in school, that was the one that I remember the most. I couldn't breath. I had to leave the class. I managed to convince everyone that it was an asthma attack that was triggered by someone spraying hairspray but it wasn't. I didn't want anyone to know and as far as I know, to this day, no one has figured it out.

I got help, I went to Youth Trust. I attend MAGS which is like group counselling which was good but I found going to CAMHS the most helpful, I had a lot of psychologists/psychiatrists/doctors/counsellors that I saw but after going to see many different ones, I found someone that I knew would help. I was lucky.

Of course, I still struggle but not as much as I did because I have put a lot of work into making myself better. I was never on medication for anything that I was struggling with, apart from Insomnia  because I see medication as a last resort and as a way to prevent something for some time but it's not a long term solution, for me at least. Some people will find medication the most effective and will want to use that as their way of coping with it but it's just not for me, it wasn't at the time, however, if it was recommended or necessary then yes, I would have taken it.

It was so hard to get out of bed and go to school, so much so, that some days I just didn't go. I couldn't concentrate when I was there and it was very difficult but I tried, I tried so hard and I felt like it wasn't even acknowledged perhaps because of the lack of understanding about mental health or maybe just because to other people, it didn't seem like I was trying and I completely get that because I sometimes convinced myself that I was completely fine.

To this day, I still struggle sometimes to get out of bed and carry on because it all seems so pointless but I've got better at it and I still have a lot of panic attacks and struggle with going out, in fact, I go to work, I go to see family, I go to Sainsbury's and that is it. I go to work and then go to sleep which isn't healthy.

Now, this post isn't about me completely, it's about coping mechanisms that I used and ways to destress and calm down. I would also like to add that my experience may be different from someone else's and it isn't as severe as some cases but I hope people are past the whole "someone else has it worse" because people cope with things differently, something that you see as a small, easy, everyday thing such as getting on a bus for example, may be very difficult, big, stressful for someone else.

Dealing with anxious feelings 

This is a very hard one because different things work for different people. For me, trying to focus on my breathing and trying to think about things that aren't what I'm feeling anxious about. 
Colouring is also helpful because it takes your mind off of it. 
Sleeping. This is one that I used a lot when I was anxious or sad or just feeling nothing, I would just sleep which probably isn't healthy but to me, it worked. 
Reading is always a good one because it takes you away to somewhere that isn't full of anxiety and negative feelings, it distracts you for a while and allows you to calm down. 
Walking is one that I only sometimes found helpful, I get anxious about leaving the house and just going anywhere so it doesn't always help but I have gone walking when I needed to clear my head. 
Writing about the feelings, not necessarily with the intent to share it with anyone but just to get it all out, I find it easier to write what I'm feeling rather than speaking about it because when I try to speak, I freeze and the words just won't come out. Anyone else get that? 
Getting help is the most important one. 

Dealing with Depression 

I don't have a lot for this one, I just slept which isn't good. I would recommend getting into a set routine and sticking to it. Also, eating regularly and properly (not over or under eating.)  
Getting help is, again, the most important way to deal with depression. 

I would love to post more about ways to deal with mental health other than getting help from a professional but I'm not an expert on it and I just want to help as much as I can but I didn't deal with it the right way for a long time and perhaps I could still do more now but I don't and therefore, I don't feel in a position to be able to do that, at this moment in time. 

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed/it helped! 
Sometimes we find comfort in knowing that other people do understand! 

Kea xoxo 

Twitter: @Just_Kea
Instagram: keaangel 

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