'Don't be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others'
This week is Mental Health Awareness week. A subject which people tend to shy away from, brush under the carpet or never really acknowledge. Surely, with 1 in 4 people a year suffering from a mental health issue, it is time that banished the taboo, and made talking about mental health just as British as talking about the weather.
Whether we like to admit it or not, each and every one of us will suffer poor mental health at some point in our lives. Of course, issues may not manifest itself so much in some individuals as it may in others, but we can all be a victim of poor mental health, even if it is just for a day or two.
Now, I am by no means a psychologist or a medical professional, but I am pretty sure the sharp rise of university students disclosing they have a mental health issue is partially down to the lack of communication in society, and ultimately, the overwhelming feeling that no-one will believe you, or just tell you to 'snap out of it'.
None of us are invincible, despite many of us firmly believing that having a mental health issue is 'something that happened to others'. Although, I have to admit, that perhaps for a time, I believed just that. However, since starting college, and definitely since starting my university journey almost a year ago, my opinion of who can suffer from a mental illness has changed 1000%.
I have anxiety. There, I actually said it, and when I publish this post, I am going to be putting it out there for the world to see. Okay, I'm pretty sure its low level, but sometimes, just sometimes, it can become so intense that I have no clue what to do next. Whether that may be worrying about the future, about something I cannot control or worrying simply just because somebody spoke to me in a slightly different tone to what they usually do. You name it, I am pretty sure I have worried about it in the last couple of years. And there is no doubt that heading to college, and subsequently university, didn't necessarily make it worse, but it definitely changed the nature.
I spent, and to a certain extent, still do, spend far too much time worrying about pleasing people. I became fixated on making sure that my grades didn't please me, but they pleased everyone else. I worked so hard to please anyone who knew me, whether that be my parents or my teachers, as long as they were pleased, I could carry on with my life.
However, I very quickly came to realise that it is virtually impossible to please everyone you come across. Everyone will expect something different, you will expect something different of yourself, and you just cant achieve everyone's expectations of you.
So I have gradually come to realise this- focus on pleasing yourself, and as long as you are pleased, you can continue to muddle your way through each day. Don't become fixated on pleasing everyone else around you - you honestly cant - and if you happen to please more than just yourself, then that's a bonus in my books!
Apologies for the long post - but whatever you do, if you feel like there is no true way out of the situation you are in, please talk to someone. A parent, sibling, friend or even a teacher. I'll leave you with this quote - 'Just Keep Going, No Feeling Is Final'. (Rainer Maria Rilke)