Mental illness can be very isolating. It can feel like you are completely alone in how you are feeling, like nobody else will quite understand what it is you are going through.
Sometimes it can be too tough to talk with those closest to you about your mental health. I get that – I’ve had some successes and some failures in that department.
There are some ways you can get support that do not require a long, emotional chat with the people that know you best. When I just don’t feel up to sharing some of those darker thoughts with those who would be heartbroken to hear them, I have used different support systems in order to get myself feeling better. Here are a few:
The friends I have made online over the last 18 months have been more supportive than I could have ever imagined. Not only are they wonderful at sending me love for this blog, but I also feel comfortable enough to talk to them privately (well, in DM’s and such) about how I’m feeling and visa versa. I really appreciate them all and wish I could meet them IRL!
Reading has become an even larger part of my life since my mental illness was triggered in August 2015. I’ve read and re-read so many books because they have been a type of therapy for me. Not only do they offer escapism in the most wonderful form, but more and more tales of fiction show some understanding of mental illness. From J.K. Rowling’s Dementors (which are a metaphor for depression, FYI) to the story of Theodore in All The Bright Places, there are many books that help you process, give you some relief (in form of tears sometimes), and make you feel a little bit less alone in regards to your mental health.
Albums that have helped me through include, but are not limited to: Joanne by Lady Gaga, Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez, Lady Wood by Tove Lo, Good Grief by Bastille, California Nights by Best Coast and The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths. Some songs have direct references to mental illness, some are metaphorical, some have simply resonated with me. Whether you are belting it out or crying to it quietly, you may find some emotional release from a favourite song that you didn’t expect.
I’ve used the services of The Samaritans before, and though it was scary at first, just being able to let it all out to stranger was more helpful that I expected. Phone calls can be super scary for anxious people like me, but the trained volunteers on the phone are very calming and a great listening ear. If you need to talk to somebody, please do call them on 116 123 (UK).
Not only do I get wonderful support from people online, but blogging has been an amazing tool for simply expressing myself and getting my thoughts onto paper (or screen). By writing, I can process how I am feeling, whether in a blatant personal essay or through an advice column – most of the time, I’m giving writing the advice that I need to listen to.
There’s so many wonderful mental health bloggers out there, there is no doubt that somebody has written something similar to what you are going through. Of course there is also a tonne of information on mental health charity websites, like Mind, SANE, Anxious Minds and loads more. It’s something so simple yet can really help you feel like you’re not on your own, plus give you lots of tips on where to go for further support.
This post has been written as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May 2017)