Tomorrow is officially “World Mental Health Day”. It only seemed appropriate to publish some thoughts that have been sitting in my drafts for a while.
This year’s “World Mental Health Day” theme is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the mental health sector is in a huge crisis at the moment, especially within the NHS.
Any who… Some documentaries and docuseries that have touched upon mental health that I’ve personally found enlightening over the past few months are Selena Gomez’ My Mind & Me documentary on Apple TV+. A more recent one is Beckham and also, Arnold, which are both on Netflix.
There are tons of other interesting documentaries and also books to help understand and raise awareness of the more complex mental health conditions such as C-PTSD and Complex Trauma. As well as other mental health conditions.
Let’s briefly touch upon Selena’s documentary. I think Selena is absolutely incredible, a very brave woman who shares her personal mental health journey with the world.
It hit me hard, not going to lie. However, she has the platform to help others, which is truly amazing.
Beckham and Arnold were super interesting docuseries that lightly touch on mental health too. I had no idea about Beckham’s struggles post World Cup 1998 saga and how David and his family dealt with the insane backlash amongst other situations.
Arnold had a difficult upbringing which was so surprising to hear about also.
One thing I noticed was that I do see the “strong mentality” of Beckham and Arnold in myself too, because I suppose you adapt to be that way from a young age. I guess that also comes with resilience, a very strong will-power, the ability to be the best of the best and the need to help others as much as you possibly can. Not everyone develops these traits, but, the majority do.
Anyway, I don’t really talk much about my mental health struggles on my blog, I may have touched a little bit on anxiety here and there…
I don’t know why I don’t talk about mental health much on here… I’ve been trying to open up slowly. However, I still don’t feel like I’m confident enough and I suppose I am still processing everything.
I don’t mind sharing some parts of it… if it helps me process how I’m feeling or it’s going to help others.
The truth is, I find talking about chronic health conditions like Endometriosis and Thyroid much easier to discuss. I suppose there is still a huge amount of stigma around mental health conditions, which of course there shouldn’t be, as well as that, I have a huge fear of people I know in real life looking or judging me differently. And, I am not the type of person who is “woe is me” either.
One thing I will discuss openly is MH medication. Medication works wonders for people, however, I have had a truly negative experience with stronger types of meds.
I have been on various anxiety medications during my twenties. However, I was put on a strong dose of mental health medication from late 2017 up until early 2023. The medication made me feel completely numb, emotionless, beyond tired, and I honestly felt like my mind and body was “poisoned”.
I remember the days, months, and years where I couldn’t think clearly, my sleep was all over the place (as in sleeping more than 16 hours a day), the weight gain was really really hard to deal with and I simply was not myself. I felt like my personality and emotions had been stripped away from me.
The medication was of course great for a period of time, because it blocked out intense emotions, memories and traumas that I didn’t want to think about. However, I shouldn’t have been prescribed the medication for years because of the health complications I now have to face with… that was a huge wake up call.
At times, I had to really focus my brain to do something or learn something. I was able to live a normal life, work full time and do “lifey” things. However, it was a weird period of my life that I had become accustom to.
It’s only actually very recently that I’ve started feeling C-PTSD symptoms, I also have my emotions back, which is a relief. The emotions can been super intense at times, which I am working on how to balance… I find exercise, super long walks, chats with those close to me and relaxing activities works best for me, like writing or taking a long bath as some examples. I am on a mission to find natural remedies rather than poison my mind and body any further. Of course if medication is absolutely necessary, than I’ll take it.
I’ve really been struggling with severe insomnia the past 5 months I’d say. I wake up at 1am or 2am most nights, it’s usually after having therapy a day or two before. I would wake Joe up every single time and talk through flashbacks and try to work together to tackle what was going on in my mind, sometimes for over three hours.
Once my mind starts over-thinking or remembering traumatic events, my brain can’t and won’t stop. It’s like “oh hey, remember this one time, now another ten to twenty traumatic things that have happened in your life.” So, I need to escape from my mind by writing or talking with Joe or someone I feel super comfortable around.
I do struggle getting back to sleep once I wake up in the early hours, so I was prescribed some severe insomnia medication from the doctors a little while ago. The over the counter sleeping pills have no effect on me for some reason. Anyway, I try to only take the severe insomnia pills when I am desperate, such as I’ve barely had any sleep in one to two weeks.
The prescribed sleeping medication has been great for those desperate times. I am starting to regulate my sleep again. However, it’s not perfect as I still average around five hours a night. However, It’s better than functioning on 2-3 hours sleep a day for weeks though! I have noticed if I do 3 hours or more exercise a day, I do tend to sleep like a baby and when I don’t do that much exercise I struggle to sleep. So in a nutshell, I have to exhaust myself to sleep well.
I also have been finding cold-water-therapy has been boosting my mood. I try to do 10 minutes a day, however, I really don’t have a structured routine with it.
I was planning on doing a blog post on the changes I’ve made this year in regards to my mental health. Focusing on what has been working and what hasn’t. Would anyone find that useful? Mental health is super personal and you can only curate what works best for you because you know you best. I can give advice on what works for me, but usually you have to dig a little deeper and test the waters until you’ve found the right method or methods.
Before I dash, I just wanted to finish by highlighting how important mental health is, there needs to be so much more support and funding, for all ages and so on. Sadly, I’ve had to go privately a fair bit, because my trust and lack of support within the NHS has disappeared within certain departments. I know that it’s a massive luxury to go private and I am incredibly lucky to be able to do so, however, you have to do what is necessary and what works for you. I would love to sing my praises about the NHS mental health sector, but I have to be honest, I’ve had some truly awful experiences. Let’s just leave that at that.