Sorry for missing last weeks post. I had a bit of a hectic week.
Today I want to continue with the theme of mental health, but move on to a more serious topic. I want to talk about how serious mental illness can be, and how important it is that you talk about how you're feeling, and seek help when you need.
It is natural to feel down sometimes, or a bit anxious before something important. But when these feelings start interfering with your life, and you can think of little else, that is when it starts to creep into the category of mental illness. It is common to develop depression if you have another chronic illness, and for obvious reasons. It is completely overwhelming to be told that you will have this illness for a long time, potentially all your life. But it is important to understand that you don't need to feel hopeless when you have a chronic illness, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
So sometimes a mental illness can be mild (although still horrible), but sometimes it can be very serious, even life threatening. So if you are feeling hopeless, and thinking you have nothing to live for, or you feel life hurting yourself in anyway, you need to make someone listen. Talk to your family, your friends, your GP, make sure you get some help. Refuse to be ignored, because you are important, you deserve help, and your life is worth living. Don't ever forget it.
Remember that if you are feeling suicidal or life self-harming, you do not need to act on these feelings. It takes a lot of bravery, but you can ignore them. Say to yourself that you will do something you enjoy, put your feelings of until the next day, and then reflect on your thoughts. You may find that the feeling become less intense if you can put them off for a short time.
I'm not a doctor, or a counsellor. i cannot tell you how to cope with these feelings, or offer a magic pill. I can offer things that have helped me. I can tell you that seeking help is absolutely worth it, even if it is hard, or feels impossible. You are brave. You can get through this.
If anything you have read today has been difficult or triggering for you, you can ring lifeline on 0800 543 354. If it is a medical emergency, call 111.
What would you say to a friend if they were feeling hopeless? this is advice you should give yourself too
Don't forget about the give a little campaign.
Last week I had my sixth surgery for the removal of endometriosis and adhesions. It is easy to feel frustrated when you're going through the same thing over and over again for little benefit. You go through the process of recovering from surgery, only to find your health is no better than before the operation.
So I have been thinking a lot about the idea of hope in relation to mental health. What is the value of hope? How do you find hope? How do you hold onto hope when things aren't going your way?
I think hope is essential for learning to cope and manage illness, and for maintaining a positive outlook. You hope to get better, or to find the strength to get through, or to be able to achieve your goals despite illness. If you lose this hope then it starts to be hard to see the point in continuing to work on your health. So hope is an incredibly valuable tool.
Finding hope is never easy, but it is worth it. Think about the things you enjoy or are passionate about; how can they give you hope? Look to the people you love to give you hope if you can't find it yourself. Find stories of people with your illness who are still living a life they love. Positive stories are an infinite source of hope.
Hanging onto hope when things go wrong is not an easy skill to learn. It is easy to feel frustrated and hopeless. I think that ensuring you don't feel defined by your illness is a great way to maintain hope. Think about all the parts of your identity that co-exist with your illness. All the things that still matter, that you still love, regardless of your illness. There is more to you than just this illness, and if that isn't reason to hope, then I don't know what is.
What do you feel hopeful about? How does hope help your mental wellbeing?
Don't forget about the give a little campaign xo http://www.givealittle.co.nz//cause/beautiful_identities
May is international mental health awareness month. So this month I'm going to talk about mental health and mental illness. Whether or not you've been diagnosed with a mental illness, everyone has times where they struggle with their mental health, and everyone needs to maintain a strong sense of mental wellbeing in order to be healthy.
When you are facing an illness it can drain significantly on your mental health. You can find yourself feeling stressed, frustrated, angry or hopeless. This is perfectly normal, but it also makes it hard to manage your illness.
I'm going to share a few simple tips that I use to manage my mental wellbeing, and hopefully some of them will be helpful for you:
How do you manage your mental health? What do you wish other people understood about mental health and mental illness?
Don't forget about the Give a little campaign...your help can make a huge difference