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Mental illness and me
Youth participation
Tuesday 10 October 2017

Mental illness and me

There are many different kinds of mental illnesses, which are often categorized into groups such as eating disorders, personality disorders and depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and the schizophrenia spectrum, to name a few.

According to research, roughly 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year in the U.K alone. The extent of the experienced illnesses will vary from person to person, for example there are different diagnosis’ of depression alone such as ‘severe depression’ or ‘mild depression’.

I, personally, have been diagnosed with several different mental illnesses and experience symptoms mental health problems several times an average day.

I do not wish to go into my diagnosis’s as I don’t feel particularly comfortable to talk about them but some of the symptoms I have to endure include panic attacks, flashbacks and low moods.

When my low moods started to get lower, last longer and come about more regularly with little to no warning I didn’t think I suffered from depression because I thought it was a part of puberty, given that I was twelve years old at this point. The school I went to at the time didn’t teach me about growing up, so all I knew about puberty in regards to mood was that I would get irritable and moody.

I didn’t tell anyone about my increasing low moods or the beginnings of self-harming behaviours because I just thought it was what teenagers and tweenagers did.

I did end up telling a GP when I was fourteen after I realised it wasn’t healthy to experience such low emotions and was prescribed anti-depressants quite soon.

Though my mental health battle will stay with me throughout my whole life, it’s getting easier, thanks to years of therapy.

I have been suggested so many kind of tips to helping deal with my unpleasant emotions and my struggles but what works is different for everybody! I have developed a list of distraction techniques over the past few years and now have a solid amount of help I can do myself, along with who to talk to when I need external help.

I would suggest to anyone suffering with mental health issues to search for distraction techniques and try them (perhaps even several times!) and create your own list of what works.

I put pictures of minions on mine and put it where I can easily access it, should I need to.

I think that when creating your list, you should give consideration to each of the five senses and try to have at least one thing for each. For example, a scented body lotion or a flavoured herbal tea.

Mental illnesses are very serious issues that feel horrible and can affect everyday life. With therapy and through learning what works for you, it can get better. Stay strong.