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

World Mental Health Day

Mental health is everyone’s business, from time to time everyone has days where they feel down, stressed or frightened. For most these feelings pass, but for others they develop into more serious issues; depression, anxiety, PTSD and many other mental illnesses

Mental health doesn’t always stay the same, it can change as things in your life change. Your life experiences can affect your mental state. Here are some of my own struggles that I faced after an accident that changed my life forever:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

I always thought that PTSD was a condition that only soldiers experienced, I didn’t realise that it could affect anyone that has been through a traumatic experience. After my accident I had night terrors that took me back to the moment of my accident. I would experience it all over again; falling off the horse, being on to the ground, losing the feeling in my body and not being able to move. This reoccurring nightmare woke me up screaming night after night. 6 months had gone by when I decided to go to my doctor about it, which is when I found out that I had PTSD. Being able to recognise what these night terrors are made me understand them more and it has helped me to live with my PTSD.

3 Facts About PTSD

  • Symptoms can appear years after the traumatic event
  • People have different thresholds for trauma and not everyone will develop PTSD after a traumatic event
  • There are different types of flashbacks and different things that trigger them

Depression

Before my accident I was always smiling, laughing and was generally happy go lucky, so my depression came as the biggest shock to me. My accident hurt me in ways I never thought it could, it made me sad, irritable, tried, un-motivated and un-well. I didn’t want to commit to any plans, I lost interest in everything and I felt worthless.

I didn’t notice these changes at first, it took someone close to me to confront me about the changes in my mood for me to realise that I needed go to the doctors and get my depression under control. This is when I started my anti-depressants.

3 Facts About Depression

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • It affects 18 million adults (1 in 10) in any given year
  • It is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 13 minutes. – over 41,000 people a year.

Anxiety Disorder

There are so many different types of anxiety disorders out there and not everyone suffers from the same type of anxiety. I suffer from Social Anxiety, which means that my anxiety flares when I am in social situations. After my accident I started experiencing anxiety when I needed to leave the house, so it made me not want to go anywhere or see anyone. My anxiety makes me scared of what people will think of me after my accident and it would make me feel like people were watching me when I was out in public.

When I’m anxious I feel sick, extremely tired and irritable, I get the shakes, I get flushed and my heart starts to race. My breathing gets faster the more anxious I get, and I overthink other people’s judgements of how my body now works after my accident, which makes me dread social situations.

My anxiety started to ease when I realised that people weren’t watching me and that I could go out and not have to worry about what people thought. Talking about my anxiety, along with my anti-depressants, has helped me a lot, it allows me to be able to talk to others who go through similar experiences with their anxiety as I do.

3 Facts About Anxiety

  • People with anxiety can work within social job roles
  • There are 6 main types of anxiety disorders
  • About half of those diagnosed with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression

What My Mental Health Has Taught Me

There is a stigmatism surrounding mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and PTSD that makes people feel uncomfortable and awkward when talking about their issues.

It has taken a lot for me to learn to live with my problems, physical and mental, and I don’t want to have to feel uncomfortable about them. They are a part of who I am, and I want to be able to share my story. By doing this I hope that people out there who are dealing with their own demons have the confidence to speak out and share their story.

It is so important that we talk about our feelings openly and honestly, especially when we are feeling low. We need to break down these walls we all hide behind…it’s ok not to be ok.

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