1 in 5 Australian’s suffer with their mental health every year and 45% of Australian’s will suffer from a mental illness during their life time. Having a mental illness is like having a silent cold; nobody can see it but you constantly know it’s there.
I strongly believe that every individual has some type of mental health struggle, whether it be just generally feeling down or having a sever mental illness. So many of my friends suffer or have suffered with some type of mental illness.
Anxiety has always been something that I have struggled with. I have always been a person that fixates on small issues and worries constantly. To my family, I’m a ‘worry wort’ but having a mental illness is more than that.
My first real memory of having anxious thoughts was being very distraught about death and having a sunken feeling in my stomach about the fact that my dog Princess would eventually die, along with my parents and siblings. It was quite morbid but the feeling felt very real (as anxiety does). My worries focussed on the threat of my safety continued as life went on. In 2009 when Black Saturday affected my family, my anxiety started again as I was worried that another bushfire would occur. Not one ounce of my parents reassurance could ease my mind. Throughout my life, my mental health struggles have changed from low mood, suicidal thoughts, obsessive thoughts, panic, general anxiety and body image issues.
Mental health is so important right now, especially with the amount of extras contributing factors in society. One large factor that has really impacted mental health is the introduction of social media, it can be a blessing and a curse. Social media is a great way of spreading awareness and connecting with others but it can really contribute to mental health issues.
With the increase in social media, it’s so important to disconnect, take time for your self and physically connect with others. On days like ‘R U Ok?’ and World Suicide Prevention day it’s good to have the conversation with others to spread awareness, to reassure that it’s okay to need help or to be personally struggling.
For me, everyday is a struggle way to keep my mind at it’s clearest but I try to add daily activities to help, these include:
spending time with friends as well as family
taking time for myself
It is only a few things but it can make the day a little better. If you’re struggling, reach out, you don’t need to struggle alone.