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An Honest Account: Living with Mental Illness

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"Mental illness...

It’s still something that can seem like a 'bad' word, like we shouldn’t talk to or about those suffering from mental illness or mental health issues and we shouldn’t speak out if we are the ones that are suffering.

It seems to me that we are all advocates for mental health, once it’s too late. We see a celebrity in the media who takes their own life and commiserate, but are we watching out for those around us who are silently screaming for help?

A bit of back story: I have been in and out of mental health services since before I can remember, it’s not something I am ashamed of and something I am quite open about with those around me; why should I be ashamed of my illness? At around aged 12 I was put under the mental health radar after knowing I felt different to others, struggling to fit in and having constant panic attacks at the thought of going to new places and meeting new people. This is where I learnt about my (unwanted) friend - anxiety. Fast-forward a few years, a LOT of counselling sessions under my belt and still feeling hopeless, all I wanted was to make the utter sadness, constant questioning of myself and isolation stop and felt then that I’d ran out of options, without going into too much detail it is then that my mental health was taken seriously. At the age of 20, I felt I had poured every ounce of my strength into living and was in a constant battle with myself. When it wasn’t crippling anxiety that would leave me housebound, it was the depression that would keep me bedbound for days on end.

From there, I began to be offered medication and therapy and was treated as an adult with a mental illness rather than a young person with mental health issues. I am now 26 and if I was to say to you that I am healed, that would be a lie. Mental illness can be a constant uphill struggle with yourself and is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting (for some people, not all) and there is no one size fits all help out there.

My story isn’t everyone’s story and what I want to achieve by being so open with those around me is for us to help those closest to us. If you have a friend who you know suffers with mental health issues, treat them the same way you would if they had a broken leg, make time to see them because in my experience it becomes harder to reach out when you’re feeling low. Make sure they’ve eaten, check in on them (even just a text!), send them some flowers because you’re thinking of them, if they open up to you, listen to them and, lastly, just be kind to them. Everyone has their own lives to live but it’s so important to look out for those who no longer want to live theirs.

If you are suffering or struggling in anyway, the only advice I can give is to reach out and seek help because I promise you it’s out there and, like I’ve said, it’s not an easy fix but seeking help is the first step in giving yourself permission to begin to enjoy life. It’s a full time work in progress but there is a light at the end of what used to seem like a never ending, dark tunnel. Speak to your friends, go to your GP, self-refer to Mindsmatter for counselling if you are local to Preston, speak to/text Samaritans and just know you’re not alone. Taking the leap to get help is the hard but suffering alone is harder."

This blog has been drafted by one of the team at Service Care Solutions who wished to remain anonymous but we thank them for their honesty and for taking the time to write this in the hope that it may help others.

We recognise and understand the scope and magnitude of mental health here at Service Care Solutions and constantly try to improve the support we give our staff. One recent initiative we undertook was that of  onsite drop-in sessions with Mind, which seems to give our employees a 'first port of call' if they are struggling.

If you would like to enquire about roles we currently have available, please contact our HR team.
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