THE HELP

The past couple of years have seen the Internet come alive with mental health posts, tweets and shares, which I not only think is great, but also oh so necessary in an ever changing and fast paced world.

More so than ever before, we are being honest and open and are willing to share in order to guide and make one another feel less alone, as well as ease our own pain. Each account I’ve read or video I’ve watched has touched me in some way, sure, but none more than this snippet from Megan of Wonderful You. You can hear the crack in her voice left behind by the heavy hands of depression and can see in her eyes and face that she is struggling. She’s not in tears, nor is she in the throes of the dark place she talks about, but she is in the immediate fall out from it – that weird place of nothingness and not feeling like you anymore.

It is not only the most honest and raw post I’ve seen, it’s also the most useful and accurate description of what it truly feels like to suffer.

I hope sharing this soothes at least one of you, because god knows, we could all use a little help sometimes.

Read Megan’s blog

THE WRONG SIDE OF MY TWENTIES

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And just like that, I turned 28.

I was so tempted to be all sad and mopey about the transition into my late twenties, but I realised there would be no point, as I’m actually not sad about it at all. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’m feeling pretty happy about getting older.

I know right, unheard of.

As a woman, I sometimes feel as though I shouldn’t want to get old. Constantly being provided with unwanted advice on how to avoid wrinkles, hide those pesky grey hairs and being told which PT will prevent me from falling victim to my ever decreasing metabolism – and if I’m honest? It gets a little boring. Especially whilst men, in addition to not having to purchase tampons and being legally permitted to take their tops off in public, are also being told they simply get better as they get older; it just doesn’t sit right with me that age, along with our weight, faces and body shape, is just another thing we as women should be made to feel insecure about.

Which is why I am singing the praises of growing up and ushering in my 28th year with open arms.

Here’s why.

My 25th and 26th years were the worst. A story for another day, or perhaps never, actually, I basically let two birthdays pass me by, by getting far too drunk, not taking anything particularly seriously (although this still exists in moderation) and making bad decisions left, right and centre, not understanding the true meaning of consequence. Poof, two years, gone.

My 27th birthday, however, was a game changer, bringing with it a real difference in me. Not just in the sense that I moved halfway across the country, but I had a genuine mental growth spurt. As in, I actually felt it happen. I suddenly stopped sweating the small stuff (although I still have my moments), I relaxed into my skin, accepted who I am and took ownership for both my strengths and my flaws.

As fucking cringe as that sounds, it’s true. At 27, I began to grow into myself and realised when Ryan told me ‘things would be okay’ in that thick Yorkshire accent, they really would.

So if you, like me, are edging closer to what ‘they’ deem to be the wrong side of your twenties, embrace it.

Much like a fine wine, it seems shit really does get better with age.

Happy Birthday to me.

THE HAPPINESS

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I’ve decided to put together 20 (very simple) ways to give yourself a little lift when things aren’t quite going your way.

If you know of any others, do let me know.

Here goes:

  1. Finish that book left to rot on your bedside table.
  2. Take a bubble bath and soak until the water gets cold.
  3. Buy a really good cup of coffee, no matter the cost.
  4. Invite a colleague to actually take a lunch break and sit down to eat together (not at your desk!).
  5. Buy gelato, find a bench and sit for a while.
  6. Spring clean.
  7. Take unwanted goods to a charity shop.
  8. Throw a couple of quid into a homeless person’s hat.
  9. Light some candles and read a magazine.
  10. Sit under a duvet on the sofa – ain’t nothin’ more indulgent than that.
  11. Turn your phone off.
  12. Start a new series on Netflix.
  13. Go to bed an hour earlier than usual.
  14. Get Jiggy Widdit.
  15. Go to the cinema and splash out on popcorn and a drink.
  16. Facetime a friend.
  17. Delete Facebook from your phone, or if you’re feeling really brave, delete it altogether.
  18. Drink prosecco during the day.
  19. Apply for that job you want.
  20. And a failsafe, final suggestion: move your goddamn body in any way you can.

THE TUESDAY

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Does anyone else agree that Tuesday is the worst day of the week?

You’re not quite as pumped as you were on Monday after a weekend of relaxation food and friends and you’re too far from Friday to even contemplate after work drinks.

Hump Day gets a hard time for being halfway through the week and Monday is notoriously shit, but Tuesday seems to have slipped under the radar and gone undetected for decades as the worst weekday known to man.

The only good thing about the second – or is it technically third? – day of the week, is that the fridge is still fully stocked from Sunday’s food shop, so supper is always something to look forward to.

As for the rest of the day?

Sorry Drake, but in my world? It can do one.

THE BLACK DOG

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We’ve all either suffered or know someone suffering with depression – whether we know it or not.

That’s the thing with this disease, it’s invisible, a bit like Chlamydia, so it can be quite difficult to tell if someone is going through it. And even when we do figure out someone is suffering, it can be quite a difficult disease to tackle and support.

I’ve seen individuals suffer first hand, I’ve witnessed relationships fall apart before my very eyes and I’ve seen the disease steal people from us altogether because they just couldn’t find their peace.

Put simply? Suicide is something that shouldn’t be happening in 2017, especially when we have the resources to help.

I think the problem lies in that we’re all at the stage where we’re happy to raise awareness of mental health issues. We’re happy to talk about why it’s so important to talk about diseases such as depression, anxiety and bipolar, but I’m not sure we really know what to do when we’re struck by it, be it ourselves, a friend or relative. Talking about it is the starting point and we have come so far in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health (thank you, Internet) – but what’s next? What practical advice do we have for how to deal with depression when it creeps in silently and debilitates us slowly?

My Therapy can help.

They have created a FREE app, which you can download to help track your mood, figure out your triggers and set reminders for medication or therapy appointments. In our busy lives, we can forget to take care of ourselves and, quite often, our mind comes after our physical health, haircuts or social lives. I have to confess, I haven’t tried this app in particular, but I have tried ones similar and they’ve really helped me.

If you’d like to know more about depression? Here’s some really interesting advice from the people at My Therapy.

Want to talk to a real person? Contact the Samaritans or chat to me; I love a natter.

Just know, whether you are the patient or the friend, you are not alone.