It's okay not to be okay - my mental health
There's a stigma around mental health. I wanted to blog about my thoughts and anxieties as I want others to know: It's okay not to be okay.
My blog was originally about my journey to learn more about software development and SEO. A lot of things have changed since then. I started a new job in September 2019, which meant I focused on my Tech Lead role at Skills for Care, rather than on my blog. So thought I could start expanding my topics to include my mental health too.
Since I stopped blogging, I have also been suffering from anxiety and depression. I have since felt a lot better and started to get out of my 'funk'. But there is a stigma around mental health, and I want to start changing that. To start, I thought I would blog about my issues, thoughts, and troubles as I want other people to know:
It's okay not to be okay.
I had a lot of family issues in 2019, and this is the start of my spiral, it was, and still is a challenging time. However, I'm getting out of the other side of it.
Anxiety is cruel, and not talked about enough. Especially in men. I had no idea how anxiety felt, or what it was. I was panicky, I would spend hours in the bathroom, wondering why I felt awful. At my lowest point, I was thinking about suicide, I thought that would be my only way out. Now though, I know it wasn't and I understand what anxiety is, how it feels, and how I can manage it.
Mental health issues can show up in different ways, the one that's worse for me is intrusive thoughts. I still have them, but nowhere near like before. Everyone has fleeting thoughts, what would happen if I did this, thoughts about falling down the stairs or doing something truly terrible. Intrusive thoughts are the same as these, but they are 'sticky', they stay in your head, and your mind runs wild with them.
I have had thoughts about:
Doing stupid things
Crashing my car
Questioning my relationship with my wife
and lots of other things, and some far worse things!
I'm hoping by writing this, I hope it may help someone, especially if they're having mental health issues themselves, or if they don't know what they are.
Ways I've found to help with my mental health
Talking to others
When I first spoke out about it, it was to my wife. Having the support of family or friends really does make it easier. Talking to them about how I felt made it a lot easier.
I did try and get help from my GP, however, the waiting list was 6 months. At that time, I couldn't wait that long, so I paid for a private therapist. Speaking to a therapist really did help, and I would recommend it, even if it's just for a couple of sessions.
Exercise has also really helped. I joined the gym at the beginning of the year and that's really helped my mental health. I'm trying to go 3 - 5 times a week, and so far, it's going well. It's early days but it is helping, and I'm planning to continue.
Charities and the NHS can help
If you need serious help with your mental health
Speak to the Samaritans
There are plenty of people who know way more about this, I just wanted to share my story.