I have never really said much about my mental health, but over the past 20 years I have had my fair share of struggles. These ranged from anorexia in my early teens which turned into bulimia in my late teens and majority of my twenties. Even now my attitude to food is unhealthy. I may no longer be doing things which could suddenly kill me, but I turn to food and overeating when things go wrong or when I am stressed or under pressure or upset.
As a teen, I also hated myself and had so much anger towards myself for not being pretty or naturally skinny or popular that I used to cut myself. Thankfully this only lasted for a short amount of time, but sadly I have been left with some prominent (and very telling!) scars which will never ever go away.
Thankfully now the eating disorders and self-harming are long behind me, but I do still struggle in other ways. I have bad spells of depression, and anxiety which stops me going out and doing many of the things I want to do. It is a shame and I know I need to work on all of these things, but it’s incredibly difficult when I’m so tired all the time and I work in an environment that encourages me to believe I am just not good enough.
Anyway, today is not the day to talk about all my problems or old issues. I’ll probably say more at some point because I believe these things, like infertility, should be talked about so that there is less loneliness, despair and shame associated with them.
What I do want to flag is that today is the last day of ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ in the UK. There doesn’t seem to have been much coverage of it in social media. Perhaps because, like infertility, many people don’t want to be “outed” or risk people judging them. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame.
So every year during Mental Health Awareness Week there is a different mental health topic and this year’s topic is ‘Relationships’. I think this is brilliant! Relationships play such a vital part in maintaining our mental health. The absence of them, or when things go wrong with them, can also have a profound negative effect on our mental health.
I thought the Mental Health Foundation’s leaflet on relationships was particularly interesting:
They have also introduced a challenge for the general public to go the extra mile in prioritising their relationships and to make a relationship resolution:
Again, I think this is brilliant, as it (should be) so simple to carry out. Just making some small changes or resolving to do a few additional things, or to do things slightly differently, could make such a difference to both the individual in question and the people in their lives. If anyone has any good ideas, or has done anything they feel has improved a relationship, please feel free to share 🙂
I would also encourage everyone to check out the following websites if you have a spare 10 minutes, as you never know what you may learn:
Happy weekend everyone x x x