I hope you liked my extra post this week, I thought it would be good to through in a fun post for you to enjoy!
This post as you probably guessed from the title is a mental health collab! I have collabed with the wonderful Shannon from the blog goingwithhappy.com to make this post for you. When you finish reading my post please check out hers too as she has answered these questions too and provided excellent, informative answers.
Q1. What’s the best way to help someone close to you struggling with their mental health?
Honestly I really believe that the best and most beneficial thing you can do for someone is to be there for them as a source of support. Personally I find the worse thing that you can do is jump to conclusions and assume things about how they are feeling and give out to them for feeling that way. Instead it’s better in my opinion to listen when they want you to and not act too surprised or hurt by what they are feeling. I know for myself anyway having someone to listen to me without prying is a huge blessing. Give them space if needed but be there when they need you to be too. Also don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing, if they need anything or if there is anything you can do to help. If there’s anything that you do to help your loved ones please share in the comments as we can help each other help others!
Q2. How do you keep positive when you hit rock bottom?
When I hit rock bottom I do admit it is so so incredibly hard to keep positive and anyone who has reached rock bottom or has experienced or is experiencing a mental illness or mental health problems you will understand exactly what I’m talking about. When I’m having a bad day and I’m feeling really,really down or if my anxiety has taken a turn for the worst I want to do nothing but sit and be a shaky, sad, messed up, anxious mess. But since having anxiety and very low self esteem for a number of years I have picked up a few coping mechanisms that I will briefly share with you. My therapist calls them “my toolkit” but whatever you want to call it I do the following to help pick myself up from what we know is called rock bottom. I spoke briefly about this in a previous post. The first thing I do is reach for the tv remote or for my mobile phone and I put on one of my go to videos which is either one of the following: Gilmore Girls, That 70’s show or a Zoella or Alfie Deyes vlog. These videos are always light heartened and I put them on in the hope that they will distract me even a little from my racing thoughts or the emptiness I will feel. Another person I listen to is Niall Breslin aka Bressie who does a lot of interviews and a lot of them are filmed on youtube and watching him talk about his own mental health struggles make me feel less alone and he usually provides some good tips which are a friendly reminder to me to start using some self care. He is so inspiring and I would definitely recommend checking his videos out! He has a great way of doing public speaking and talking about mental illness as he manages to address some vital topics about mental health, relate them to his own experiences and add in a bit of humour.When I’m feeling slightly better usually head to the kitchen and get myself some camomile tea and head upstairs to get my trusty rescue remedies and my journal. Journaling helps me keep track of how I am feeling and it’s always good to let your emotions out too. If I’m still not feeling better I will text one of my trusted,close friends who are great at cheering me up. There’s always walks too but they take a lot of motivation for me if I am feeling really down.
What do you do to try keep positive or help you when you hit rock bottom?
Q3. What is your opinion on going to therapy?
Okay, this is an interesting question as initially when I started noticing my mental health problems I was so against going to therapy. Honestly the mere idea of it scared the life out of me but as things grew increasingly worse I very anxiously sought the help of my lovley school counsellor who for the following three years made my life at school a lot easier as I had someone to talk to when things got tough. Now I have left school and m being typically stubborn told my school counsellor and my loved ones that I could never go to therapy outside school but what am I doing now but going to therapy! Things change and I suppose have too, but that is a story for another day my friends. I would definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt recommend therapy. But the only thing I would say is that you have to be ready for therapy when you go. Being forced to go to therapy and just going for the sake of it probably won’t help. But if you feel like you are mentally ready for therapy I would say go for it! Therapy can be very useful for getting things off our chest to someone who is emotionally unattached to you and uninvolved in your life in a safe environment where they will not judge what you say. Therapy doesn’t work for everybody and that’s fine but if you find the right therapist for you I do believe that therapy can be very beneficial for you and your mental health if you take the right approach to it and put in the work to get well as therapy is after all a two way thing and not a magic cure for mental illness.
Q4. What’s the best way to stay feeling motivated throughout the day?
Tough question but I love it! It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for quite some time when I look at motivational videos, celebs, athletes, family members and classmates. We all find motivation in different places so I can’t tell you how to be motivated but I certainly share how I get motivated and some ways that I think may work for you too!
- Lists: I love to do lists; writing them, reading them, designing them…the works! But honestly they can be quite overwhelming especially as your list grows and grows!! I mentioned ths in an earlier post but as well as writing to do lists I write what I did lists and this really helps me mentally to realise that I am actually doing okay.
- I have a certain playlist that I listen to which gets me feeling motivated and I can put it on throughout the day if I’m lacking motivation. I have songs by Avicii, Katy Perry and Rachel Platten on it.
Q5. Do you feel there is enough support in the mental health community?
It depends what you define as the mental heath community. The group of mental health bloggers especially those on twitter are so supportive. But as for outside the internet I do believe that more needs to be done for those who are suffering with there mental health, people are waiting for ages on therapy or to use other mental health services. Especially here in Ireland the price of therapy is high but if you get therapy for a lower price or for free you’re looking at a waiting list for at least a year if not more which in my opinion is absolutely ridiculous.
Q6. What are your opinions on the current NHS mental health system?
I am not living in the UK nor ave I sed any of the NHS services so from a personal point of view I can’t really say anything for or against it. But I have heard on the news and from other bloggers that things aren’t great in regards to the NHS as there are waiting lists and a lack of adequate services. Since I cannot really answer this question properly if you are from the UK/ have used or tried to use NHS services please feel free to share your opinion of them in the comments.
Q7. What’s one thing that someone can say to give you hope?
My answer to this is very short, simple and sweet: Someone telling me the following hopefully and usually sparks even the tiniest bit of hope in me:
- It’s going to be okay
- You are a good person- The lovely Elm of the blog justelm.wordpress.com wrote a lovely few line about me in one of her recent posts and I can honsetly say that it lifted my spirits and made me feel that I was doing okay and maybe doing something right and just generally gave me hope in myself and my future.
- You are strong/you can be strong- sometimes we all need a little reminder
- You can do this
- I have faith in you sometimes someone else’s belief in us can really make a difference.
Q8. How do you explain to a loved one about having a mental illness?
Explaining to a loved one that you have a mental illness is usually always hard both for the person with the mental illness and for the loved one. It’s very hard to know what your loved one’s reaction to what you will tell them and it is so easy to imagine all different scenarios and reaction in your head. I think that one of the est ways to tell a loved one about our mental illness is to sit them down with a cup of tea, face to face when you are both free and feeling calm. That way you are both in the best frame of mind possible and have time to spend listening to one another. I think it’s important to explain as little or as much as you want. I feel that once you aren’t being aggressive there is no right or wrong way to tell your loved one about your mental illness. I’d say to say whatever feels comfortable for you to say. You could start by saying “I haven’t been feeling great recently and because I trust and love you I want to explain why” or “things have been pretty tough for me lately” or “I have some stuff going on at the moment that I’d like to talk about with you” Whatever way you feel comfortable talking about it, go for it!
Q9. What are early warning signs of some mental health problems?
As I mentioned earlier I am not a therapist or any sort of medical/psychology practitioner so I am merel speaking from my own experience here. For me, with my anxiety and mental health problems some early warning signs were probably:
- racing heart beat
- lack of motivation
- Being extremely self conscious in social situations to the point that I was terrified to meet people
- Feeling really down
- lack of self esteem and low confidence levels
- Feeling overtired
- unable to sleep
- shaking when anxious
- finding it difficult to breathe.
- over worrying
- racing thoughts
In general from talking to people and doing research some general symptoms are when things just don’t seem right and you don’t feel yourself. If you’re feeling overtired, overwhelmed, very anxious, sad for long periods of time…anything like this or something else that I have left out they may be early warning signs so it’s always good to nip it in the bud early, talk about it with someone you trust or your gp or therapist and take the steps you need to feel better.
Thank you so much for reading my post. Feel free to share our answers to any of the questions in the comments and let me know what you think of this post too and if you’d like to see more mental health posts here in the future. This was a great post to write and I had so much fun collabing with Shannon. Please do me a huge favour and check out her blog too, it would mean the world to both of us! She answered these questions too on her blog but her answers will be different as she will have a different perspective on life and will be able to provide you with great answers and advice too.
Although it was a little hard to write about my mental health in more detail here I am so glad did it as it felt good to finally share a little more with you wonderful people in the blogging community! If you are going through something with your mental health at the moment, please know that you are not alone and I don’t mean there’s just me, there are hundreds and thousands of people across the globe in the same boat and we are all here to support you. There are people out there to help; friends, family, therapists, doctors and more so although I do understand it is hard to take that step and call someone, you can do it and it can help.
Thank you again for reading and before I go I want to say again that I am not a healthcare professional but a mental health advocate, blogger and determined young woman trying to make a difference in this world so my answers and opinions are my own and not those of a professional giving medical advice.
Thank you to everyone on twitter and instagram who contributed questions to this post because without you this post wouldn’t exist and a huge thank you to Shannon for collabing with me! I think this has to be the longest post I have ever written so if you haven’t given up on finishing it and have gotten to the end, thank you!!
See you back here next weekend!