Today is World Mental Health Day, his year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.
It’s also a difficult time of year for me. This time 4 years ago I had just faced that dreaded court case and had been on the stand to testify against the man that abused me as a child. For the past week I have been thrown back to that time, having flashbacks and panic attacks. Remembering the waiting, feeling the pain, anxiety and worry about standing there, then being made out to be a liar by the defence, trying to rip me apart as I answered every question to the best of my knowledge, then again the waiting. The unknown. Will he be found guilty? Will it all be over soon?
He was found guilty, yet It is still not over, will it ever be? The relief I feel when he was found guilty was remarkable, but 4 years on, I’m now getting support and treatment to work on the secondary trauma, caused by the court case.
My life with BPD is a struggle every day, yet lately I have had so many stressful problems, that I’m finding it very difficult to cope. I have self harmed, I have felt like I can’t go on, I have cried myself to sleep, I feel frustrated and angry. Then the following day I feel ashamed, embarrassed, how can I keep losing control? What will my boyfriend be thinking? there they are..The paranoid thoughts. The insecurities.
What do I do? I put on my mask and I turn on my auto pilot on and I do my best to get on with my day, I smile as I have lots to smile about, I have a lovely home a loving relationship, a beautiful daughter, things to look forward to. I try and be positive, I have no other option. Yet inside I’m screaming, my head is spinning and I’m trying my best to contain it all.
Like a swan calmly gliding through life on the surface, but underneath I am chaotically paddling like hell!
What can you do if you are suffering from mental health issues?
Do not be afraid to seek professional help if you feel that you are no longer able to manage things on your own. Many people feel reluctant to seek help as they feel that it is an admission of failure. This is not the case and it is important to get help as soon as possible so you can begin to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to advise about treatment and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based approaches are known to help reduce stress. Perhaps you could google some distress tolerance and DBT. Do you research and put a self help plan in place. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
What can you do to help someone you think may be suffering from mental health issues?
You don’t need to be an expert to talk about it. And it’s often the small things you do and say that can make a big difference to someone – like asking ‘How are you?’ or dropping them a text to say hello.
It will let them know you haven’t forgotten them and that your there if they need you.
If someone you know is experiencing mental health problems or needs urgent support, there are lots of services that you can go to for help.
You can also find out more about:
- Particular mental health diagnoses from Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the NHS
- The simple, everyday ways you can support someone who has a mental health problem
- How stigma and discrimination can affect people living with mental health problems like depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, personality disorders or schizophrenia.