Speaking out about our mental health often instils fear in the mind

IMG_1558-630x350Like a dark cloud slowly looming overhead or a sharp pain and pressure pushing down on your body – your mental well-being can be hit at any time.

The idea of actually putting yourself out there can be like having to climb Mount Brandon without shoes. It’s not something that everyone can feel they can do.

Aside from the fear of being stigmatised, there’s also that horrible feeling of wondering if people think you’re whinging or feeling like the world is all about you.

The reality is, is that people do feel down, they do feel panic, hurt, sadness and loss and it’s completely natural.

For a person who is under mental stress, it can be tough to see the signs and understand what exactly is going on. For some, the direction can be simple like heading to a close friend or family to ease the strain, for others it may mean medical help and for others it can be a fog.

In college I kept my feelings of loneliness and sadness mostly to myself, rarely opening up with feelings, unless on a drunken night out.

Your peers are often your biggest influencers, and sometimes the need to please and appear “normal” is an uphill struggle. My mental health at the time was my own, my stresses my own and therefore my worries, anxieties and sadness were mine alone. I was terrified to think what they’d think of me if I told them I was feeling so lost in the world.

After a long struggle, though nervous and terrified to begin with, it has been such a release to open up and I remember the first time I started to talk freely with family and friends.
We need to have the support networks readily available for people and we also need to be the support.

As well as knowing when to seek help (which isn’t always easy), it’s also so incredibly important to be there for people and offering to lend an ear if they need to talk, or just having the comfort of chatting over a cup of tea.

Though listening is probably one of the hardest things to do, it’ll make such a difference, not just to them but to you too.

They say that one in four of us will experience ill mental health in our lifetimes – but I think it’s far more than that. We all go through tough times.

Úna-Minh Kavanagh

Visit yourmentalhealth.ie for more information on looking after your mental health and for looking out for others.

1 comment

  1. Well done arlctie that. I’ll make sure to use it wisely.

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