Getting the Help You Need: Mental Health

On Tuesday I posted about my personal struggle with anxiety and I thought I would do a quick follow up post for if you are struggling with any mental health problems or someone you know is I thought I would give some advice. Unfortunately I am only aware of helplines and options in the UK but hopefully the options are similar where ever you are and if you know of the options available where you are please let me know below so we can share the knowledge and help people get whatever you need.

It is a shame that there is often still a stigma attached to mental disorders, so it can sometimes be hard to talk about these things with family and friends. If you can it is useful to share your troubles with those close to you but I know it can be hard to broach these subjects but know you can get help elsewhere.

I am by no means and expert in anything here, so let me know if some of the information is wrong but I have tried to thoroughly research everything for this post. I am speaking mainly from personal experience, we all have our own experiences with mental health but I want to try and help others if I can so hopefully this may be useful to some one.


Helplines

There are a number of helplines available to everyone often with Freephone numbers, and now in the UK these are free from both landlines and mobile phones, where you can speak to someone in complete confidence that knows how to help you. There are special helplines for all sorts of disorders, from OCD, panic attacks and emotional issues associated with abuse, which you can see the full list here.

One of  the best helplines though is the Samaritans, although unfortunately I don’t think it is a Freephone number at this point. The main benefit of the Samaritans is that it is a 24 hour a day phone line so you can get the help when you need it. To find out more about the Samaritans check out their website here, and if you need help call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

A final option which is if you need care, is you can call NHS direct. This is great for a number of medical issues if it isn’t urgent in which case call 999. It is also really important if you have already been treated and are suffering from a relapse of symptoms. You can call NHS direct by simply calling 111, it couldn’t be simpler. They can also link you up with local services or suggest what action you may need to take.


Speak to your GP

Often one of the best things to do is speak to your GP about your issues and they can help you make the first step to getting better. With most problems you can choose between medicines or therapy/counselling, medicines are often the quick fix but therapy in my opinion is better for the long run. Okay I view therapy as best as if fixes the route of the problem but you need to be open to it and for some people medicine is the best option. Just take the time to see your GP and discuss your problems, making the most important first step in your road to recovery. It is a long road but the sooner you start the sooner you can start to make the changers to your life.


Take it One Step at a Time

Just remember to take everything one step at a time, and only do stuff when you are ready to. You are in charge of your own recovery, so take your time and take it one day at a time, it’s also okay to go back a step, it happens but it doesn’t matter as you need to do it to get better. Unfortunately there is no quick fix to a mental health issue but there is help out there, and it will get better.

It is important to listen to the advice from the mental health professional and voice your opinions. If you have an open and honest discussion, and take small steps every day you can be in control of your own recovery.


Do Small Things to Help Yourself

There are loads of little self-help things out there but that isn’t exactly what I am talking about here its doing the little things to make you feel better. Do the things that make you happy, take a relaxing bath or push yourself to do something you really want to do. Or discover what works to help you.

For example I when I used to panic I used to write a little reminder to myself to breathe on my wrist, although you can also get temporary tattoos. I also know people who use a beaded necklace to help them concentrate on their breathing. If you are really struggling just take a day at home where you just stay at home and do the things you enjoy, either on your own or with someone close to you, just do what you want and eat what you want and spend some time focusing on you. Sure it’s all just the small things, but these can make such a difference when you are trying to cope.


Useful links

I just thought I would finish this off with a few useful websites and links in addition to the ones I gave earlier.

  • The NHS’s mental health main page, with general advice articles as well as links to information on specific disorders including anxiety, bipolar disorder and the different types of treatments available on the NHS. So it is a good place to start, check it out here.
  • Mind is a great charity, on their website you can find advice, information on a lot of disorders ect. Mind is a great cause and they’ve been doing a lot of work on trying to eliminate the stigma associated to mental health issues. You can check out their amazing website here.
  • The Mental Health Foundation also offers more information and help for anyone who needs it which you can check out here.

I hope this is useful for some of you, I think sharing this information is important and could end up saving someone. Like I said before I’m not sure the protocol in other countries so if you do let me know in the comments below.

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Dealing with Anxiety

my anxiety

This is a post I’ve wanted to make for a while but have not always had the confidence to make for a number of reasons. I think sometimes I feel as though anxiety disorders have become somewhat of a trend and everyone seems to have one, or maybe more people are willing to talk about it which is great. I’d also like to state now there is a difference between anxiety disorder and general anxiety, we all suffer from anxiety from time to time, it keeps us on our toes and it’s perfectly human. Meanwhile anxiety disorders can be completely debilitating and can prevent you from doing the things you love. For some there are certain triggers for panic attacks, the unfamiliar, crowded places or public transport, while for others it can hit at random. Often there is nothing you can do it and panic attacks can be scary, some even having similar symptoms to a heart attack, feeling dizzy and faint there is a lot more too them than meets the eye and obviously every ones disorder is different.

I have had underlying symptoms of an anxiety disorder since the age of 5 often struggling with unexpected situations but the disorder really presented itself and its strong hold ages 8 through 10. It sort of happened suddenly and took hold immediately, suffering regular panic attacks from when I woke up at about 7 am right through to lunch time and then they’d start again from about 5pm until I fell asleep. Every day for about 18months. This is where my awful snacking habits came from because for nearly 2 years the only time I could really manage to eat anything would be an hour slot between 3 to 4 in the afternoon and it’s a snack thing that hits me even know. It was completely debilitating and there was nothing that could be done about it, I was trapped in a cycle. I honestly cannot imagine what it was like for my parents. At one point my mum even thought that I might have to be home schooled and worried about me completing my education.

I am lucky I had a supportive family, and a dedicated doctor and school who sought for me to get help initially externally and then internally where I saw councillors not only from the school but had a specialist come in to see me. I am very fortunate that my parents and others chose this type of therapy for me, it took time but I learnt skills that have been useful coping even now and if I was medicated I would still be on them now, medication is often a permanent solution and it is not always as effective. The cause was never fully established but the most important thing was that I was getting better. Studying psychology later in life and finding more about the treatment options I’m glad I had CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), allowing me without realising to shape my own recovery and learn techniques I subconsciously use to help me cope.

I’ve had on off episodes throughout my life and always come out the other end, there is always another end. Nothing lasts forever and you can get better. My current issue is extended periods of time on public transport if I have to do it on my own for example visiting my boyfriend in Cornwall which is something that prompted me to write this post. I felt anxious all the way to the train station, I got on the train and had a huge panic attack but I stayed, I wanted to see my boyfriend so I had to stay on the train. Then we had the whole carry on which just exasperated my problem, if you haven’t see it I have an entire post written on it here. I am not like most people I choose to do the things that make me panic, sure its horrible but if I didn’t do it I’d be worse the time after or just never do it. I want to get the message out that is that YOU CAN DO THIS. I know often hearing it doesn’t help, every time I get on a train and panic my boyfriends texts me saying ‘You’ll be fine, you’ve done it countless times before’. I know it doesn’t always help buy you just have to keep telling yourself to breathe and tell yourself that you can do this nothing will happen. You will panic and it may be horrible, but don’t let it take over your life. I mentioned before my mum worried about me completing my education, well I have not only did I do my GCSE’s and A-levels, this summer I am Graduating with Upper Second Class Honours in Economics BA(hons). I am proof you can get out the other side. You will struggle from time to time, you’re human and natural but there is another side, it will get better. We also all have our setbacks but don’t let them hold you back from what you want to do.

So if you or someone you know suffers let them know there is another side and it will get better. Seek help and talk to others there is no point suffering in silence, therapy works if you have access to it and if not speak to your doctor about counselling. We are lucky with charities like MIND and more people willing to talk about it that many disorders have much less of stigma attached to it and there are way more options now.

Thank you to anyone who has stuck out to read this I know its long but it is something that I have wanted to say for ages but haven’t had the confidence to do so.

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