The phrase #mentalhealth has an emotional connection for me.
I grew up in a loving household, but both my parents were afflicted with mental health issues. Dad had bipolar disorder, and because of having to deal with that stress, mum developed depression. These problems split our family up several times during my childhood, the longest being over a year until dad finally agreed to receive help. During our time apart, I put on a lot of weight because of my mother being overprotective of her only son, for which I was bullied at school.
Although I don’t have mental health problems (I hope I never do), I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) level 1 over a year ago. I knew I was different as a kid, and this helped confirm that I was not neurotypical. My ASD 1 helped make sense of the bullying; my classmates bullied me not necessarily because I was fat but because I was different, and they didn’t really know any better so went after my weight. I did eventually lose my weight, and although it got rid of some of the bullying, it didn’t all go away.
Growing up, I had a fear of being predisposed to developing mental health issues, so I did what I could to reduce the chances of that. I learned quickly what made me “happy”, by doing activities that released my endorphins, such as daily exercise, eating healthy and regularly, dancing, and listening to uplifting music. Like everyone, I have had very low points in my life, and anchoring myself to a routine has helped me get myself out of those holes I found myself in.
I know there is a stigma attached to mental health with not speaking about it, but it is an invisible and silent destroyer of lives. I am not ashamed to admit that I consult my psychologist regularly, just like I do my GP, dentist, optician, physiotherapist, and chiropractor.
Help yourself as much as you can, and when you can’t, speak to someone, it could change your life… #mentalhealthawareness