I never thought, growing up, that I would be one of those people with ‘mental health issues’. A strange label. A bit ‘cringe’. Not my style at all.

Yet you mature, you go through things. Lots of things. Everything you experience shapes you and turns you into who you are right now.

Last year, I went through a lot – and in quite a short time period. I ended a long-term friendship with someone I realised was controlling me – that relationship had been very unhealthy. He had made me feel inadequate and self-conscious and that was taking its toll on me.

At that time, I also left a job that I had been in for many, many years and embarked on new employment. I started a course. There were also quite a lot of arguments taking place within the family. There was a lot going on for me.

It wasn’t an overly great time in my life and with everything amalgamating into one big, horrendous situation, it wasn’t long before severe anxiety and depression set in. I started finding even the most straightforward things hard to accomplish. Even my usual daily routine (things like driving) made me sick to my stomach.

I had thankfully met a new partner and, as my anxiety worsened, he encouraged me to seek help. I am so pleased I followed his advice.

My GP was extremely understanding and knowledgeable and I started on a course of antidepressants and went along to CBT sessions (cognitive behavioural therapy). The combination of the medication, the therapy and my supportive partner was the real making (or re-making!) of me!

I completed my course. I became a stronger person. I started to focus more on myself than I used to.

I spent more time with those and talking to those, that I knew truly cared about me. I realised that quality not the number of friends was important. I also became aware of who my true friends were.

I listened to the music I love. I spent more time on my interests, like home décor and gardening.

Most importantly, I became so over people who had treated me badly in the past!

I had an extremely difficult year yet at the same time it was surprisingly one of my most successful after working to beat my anxiety and depression and improve my mental health beyond recognition.

In the past, people have been embarrassed to talk about mental health. We all know how much stigma has been attached to it. However, I wouldn’t be where I am now unless I had addressed what was happening to me and been open about it all.

Celebrities discuss it publicly now. In fact, when they talk about it, it makes me like some of them just that little bit more! With royalty like Prince Harry overtly addressing mental health too, it is being underlined that talking about mental health is so much more acceptable than it ever used to be. And if they can talk about it, we can definitely talk about it!

If you are worried about yourself or a friend, just talk. There is nothing to be ashamed of and the future potential transformation may amaze you.

I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on the subject. Feel free to leave me a comment below!

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