It felt important to write my seaside blog about mental health awareness this week. I have suffered with bouts of depression and anxiety myself and also know several other people who struggle to cope. In my late twenties I was crippled with panic attacks to the point I couldn’t go out of the house. I had no idea why and was totally petrified, but I asked for help. Life can be complex and our brain is a powerful thing that can certainly play tricks on us. Awareness of the signs of feeling low, anxious or deeply sad are hugely important and people should never be scared to speak out. Mental health should never be seen as a sign of weakness. In actual fact, it should be seen as a strength when we ask for help as this means we recognise something is wrong, that we need support and want to fix it.
It has been the toughest year as so many people have felt isolated, scared and alone. Many rely on contact with their families and friends to at least brighten up their week if they are not able to leave home, and this was not allowed. I know myself from not being able to visit my mum in a care home, how much it affected her mental health. I had to watch from the sidelines as I listened to her deteriorate over the phone. Thankfully through the connection via Zoom we started video calls with her and this has made such a difference. Connection with people you love is invaluable and so important. Humans are social animals and crave contact with others. I also decided to reach out to offer some help and now talk to a lady once a week through the Age UK befriending service. I know how much it means to her and I enjoy and look forward to our chats. We talk about all types of things and it’s just wonderful to be able to make a difference to some else’s life.
Mental health affects so many people and we should never be scared to open up and share how we are feeling. How are you feeling today? We generally always say ‘I’m fine’ but are we really? Sometimes it takes a person to ask for a second time for it to matter and get us to open up our true feelings. So how are you really feeling today?