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In 2018 we are pushing in the right direction to break the stigma around mental illness, more people are opening up about their own experiences, getting help such as therapy and finally society is coming to terms with the fact that mental illness is, in fact, a genuine illness and not something to fear. With mental health becoming a topic which is becoming more socially acceptable to talk about, it means we are finally able to get the right help we need without feeling like you’re a complete mess. I remember from the age of 14 when I was referred to therapy at CAMHS due to a traumatic experience that happened to me, I was reluctant, to be honest with them, I was worried about what other people would think when I had to leave school early for my appointments, to share what was really going on in my head and the constant worry of being sectioned. At that time, I didn’t really understand what has to happen to be sectioned. I hated having to leave school during lunch when my friends were having fun and going to some dingy building across town to talk about my feelings. In the end, I decided to tell them I was feeling better and that I was ready to stop coming to therapy, and with that, they agreed I didn’t need to come anymore.
Which maybe wasn’t the best idea, but teen me thought it was great!
The older I got, I went to my doctors an adult seeking out alternative therapy such as talking therapy, EMDR and more recently placed under the care of a community mental nurse, as well as my doctor. Despite being older and understanding that in fact it is ok to talk in these sessions and the only way it will get better is to open up, I still clam up. I find it hard to relax and talk about my issues, I often focus on random objects in the room and think more about them then what I am being asked. I am one of those people who struggle to talk to people on a one to one basis, I often feel myself looking down and away when trying to talk about anything, I am still unsure whether this is due to the shame I feel or eye contact just makes me feel awkward. But it’s something I’ve always found near to impossible.
But throughout my teen and young adult life, I’ve kept one thing the same, and that’s making friends online. I can tell you now, I find it 110% easier to tell my thoughts to friends on the internet, it’s also easier to reach out to these people as in most cases you probably won’t meet. I was recently advised that you actually get therapy online, which I found pretty amazing, for those people who are too afraid/can’t reach out at their doctors or can’t afford therapy, we are lucky in the UK to be able to get our therapy for free on the NHS. Although you do have to pay for therapy online, I think it could be a worthwhile investment, especially for someone like me. Sites such as BetterHelp which is available from the comfort of your own bed. Therapy can often be a difficult thing to do, so being in your house surrounded by things that make you happy can be a great relief.
As for me and therapy, my latest mental health nurse actually left so we are currently on a break, however, I have faith that in the future I will continue to take positive steps to my recovery.
*This post is in collaboration with Better Help