It’s #TimeToTalk Day today. With the aim of raising awareness of the importance of having a conversation about mental health. It’s too easy to feel isolated. Simple things like sharing stories, providing a listening ear, or just opening up about how we are feeling can make a huge difference.
Hands up, I hate talking about things. I’m socially awkward at the best of times, so then to talk about how I’m feeling is very uncomfortable. I realised by talking about how I feel, I feel less alone. The more you bottle it all up, the more powerful “it” becomes.
About two years ago, an unfortunate set of circumstances started to make me doubt myself and have a knock on effect on my confidence and I noticed I was starting to feel anxious. Anxiety is a sneaky one. It slowly creeps up on you. At first social engagements become less appealing. Socialising starts to feel daunting, distant and more like a fake smiley “everything’s fine” charade. Before long you think: I’m not good enough. I can’t do that.
To the outside world, all is good. It’s all big smiles. Yet all the while you’re desperately try to get a grip. The constant self-doubt and questioning yourself. Did I do the right thing? Have I said the wrong thing? Invariably, this then leads to you making mistakes and forgetting things; you’re exhausted. Yet, if you can overcome the dread and that feeling that your heart is going to burst out of your chest. You can just be “brave” and you do it, you survived and it’s not as bad as you imagined. Then you start to wonder what stops you.
What leads you to this point? Many people have many different triggers. For some it’s some significant traumatic event or period in their lives. It’s important to realise the seriousness of an event that troubles you, as it may in the end lead to much darker days. Although, I know, as they say; hindsight is a wonderful thing and often it isn’t easy to see at the time.
The only tiny piece of advice I have is speak out, whether that be to a trusted friend, or seek professional counselling. It is the best first step to doing something to help. There are different strategies to change those negative thought processes. For example CBT and Mindfulness, but try out a few and find the one that works for you.