Together, we can speak up about mental health – Zoe Morris

zoe-237x237Everyone’s talking about speaking up about mental health now. And the Royal Family; The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, are spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end the stigma around mental health.

Believe it or not, not a lot of people are aware that I suffer from mental health issues myself alongside my Type 1 Diabetes.

Anxiety and depression both play a huge factor in my day to day life. They are both a constant challenge.

It’s not easy battling with your own mind especially when people and society are constantly trying to tell you to ‘snap out of it!’

It simply doesn’t work that way.

I can’t just wake up one day and say ‘I want to be happy’ and actually be happy. Believe me, I’ve tried and I honestly wish it were that simple.

And the most annoying thing is, no one would ever say that someone who has a broken arm or a broken leg is any less of a person for it, but people are constantly implying or saying that all the time about people with mental illness. Especially diabetics.

I mean, we’re in a society now where it’s barely acceptable to take medication to treat diabetes, let alone taking it to help your mind. There’s such a stigma behind it too.

From the outside looking in at mental illness and diabetes, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out however, it’s even harder to explain.

Trying to find the words

Trying to find the words to express how you feel. When you feel like you’re drowning with people constantly around you, refusing to help or to even offer a lifeline. Suffering from the demons of your own mental mind state and emotions. Feeling like a fragile wreck. Weak and broken. When you know that life is passing you by but you’re oblivious to stop it.

Putting on a front

I constantly put on a front. A fake smile I guess you could say to try and hide the pain and struggles I face daily. No one would know at times unless I physically told them. And to be honest, even then, most people don’t really understand it or even care.

Diabetes has a massive impact on the course of depression and anxiety. It’s a constant rollercoaster full of highs and lows. Good days and bad days. It can also make you feel a burden.

For years I’ve suffered from obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour. I live a life of doubt. Fearing things and situations for no apparent reason. I constantly have irrational thoughts and outbursts of sadness along with mental mind blocks. I question everything. Every scenario and possible situation. I worry non-stop. I worry about stupid things. Things of little relevance too I might add. It’s uncontrollable but yet I have no power to stop it.

It’s a battle to say the least but yet it feels like it’s such a taboo affair. That speaking out about it and admitting you suffer from it is something to be shameful of.

Why?

There’s so many misconceptions and stigma attached to diabetes and mental health conditions.

Very few people (e.g., my friends and family) really understand my depression and anxiety struggles. Being told you’ve got a lifelong disease is overwhelming enough as it is but people fail to talk about the impact it can have on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. It’s difficult to explain something that people can’t see nor can they fully understand. It’s as if you appear ok on the outside but are also invisible at the same time. Sometimes it hard to express how you truly feel and what’s going on inside your mind. It’s not easy.

Temptation to hide away

When I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I shut myself away from the outside world and went to a shell within myself. I bottled up all my feelings and completely broke down. Looking back now, it was completely the wrong thing to do. I felt alone and I shouldn’t have. I should have spoken out about it more and turned to my family for support, but I didn’t. Instead, I turned them away. Making the whole diagnosis a lot harder to deal with.

Then, when I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2015, it triggered off my depression and anxiety again. The stress and lifestyle changes that came along with my diabetes diagnosis made things a lot harder to deal with.

Now though, there are so many support groups and contact numbers you can turn too if you can’t speak to your loved ones.

I started blogging about my experiences with diabetes, depression snd anxiety as a form of a coping mechanism. I also wanted others to read them and realise that it’s not always plain sailing and we all face challenges alone the way.

Speaking out

I’ve tried speaking to my family about things but it’s hard for them to understand how difficult it can be to manage a life threatening disease day in, day out. Not to mention the mental aspects it can have too. Only a select few truly understand how I feel. Whenever I’m struggling or I’m finding it hard, it’s reassuring to know I can turn to them whenever I need too.

Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither is talking about it openly either.

So please, speak up and don’t suffer in silence.

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