Alright lads, strap yourselves in for my #WorldMentalHealthDay thread that nobody asked for!
As many of you know, I have the double whammy of anxiety and depression. I've been anxious my whole life but I always thought it was pretty normal for your brain to scream at you 24/7. Turns out it isn't. But it took me YEARS to get help.
The depression came much later and I let it get so bad that some people weren't sure I'd still be around to write this thread. I am. But it didn't always look like I would be.
The thing I've struggled with most is internalised stigma. Despite a family history of depression and mental illness, I always thought that I wasn't depressed or anxious "enough" to be considered mentally ill. I had imposter syndrome about my own fucking mental health.
In fact, when Mum was diagnosed terminal (I know, I can get her into nearly anything these days), I was relieved in a sense because it meant that my depression, in particular, was legitimate. I remember saying to my therapist that at least now my brain would let me be sad.
That is just pure internalised stigma. There is no threshold you have to reach to be depressed "enough". I'm depressed now, I'll probably be depressed next week. Hell I might be depressed for the rest of my life. But tbh, that's ok. My brain just works a different way to normal.
The most important thing I've learnt is to ignore my brain as much as I can. But it's taken me 3 therapists, 3 different medications and about 10 years to learn that. And I still slip up. Hell, I slipped up last week and regressed into old behaviours. I still bite my nails like.
But I will say, changing medication has helped massively. I no longer feel that I want to die and my outlook and personality have changed massively for the better. I'm still a miserable wagon when I want to be, but I think that's just me. Can't blame that on depression.
Unfortunately lads, the thing that has helped most bar my medication is exercise and watching my diet. It sounds simple but it's really helped me personally. But you need to be in a place where you can start doing that. It took me going on meds to be able to do that.
So I suppose what I'm trying to say is that mental health isn't just popping a pill and doing a facemask. It's a never-ending chore of looking after yourself. And sometimes you just won't be able to. But never, ever view yourself as a failure when that happens.
You will break down, you will have periods where you can't do anything and you will (generally) come through them. And sometimes anxiety is handy. Like my gut instincts are unreal and have helped me get out of a lot of bad situations.
I'm rambling. Anyway, look after yourselves, take your meds, do your exercise & don't ever think that you have to reach a certain level of depression. That's your brain trying to be a bastard. Take it from me, the brain is smart. But it's also extremely fucking dumb.