Posted in Mental Health, Sports and Fundraising

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 30th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 30 – To MIND

Mind has really helped me over the last few months and I am so glad they are there. I have used their InfoLine, Legal Line and have some email addresses and telephone numbers for support.

There is also the chance to get involved, volunteer and fundraise.

Visit https://www.mind.org.uk/ for help and support if you are struggling with your mental health or supporting someone else.

You will also see my face in the Stories section;

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 00.59.09

There is also the online support community Elefriends (seriously, give them a visit)

Mind really do not give up until they are able to help you, unlike several other services that say they do not give up or judge, but actually do.

Thank You Mind, for being there, helping me and allowing me the chance to speak up.

 

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Posted in Mental Health

8 Pieces of Advice for Anyone Starting College With a Mental Illness

Find my Published Article on The Mighty @

https://themighty.com/2017/08/advice-tips-starting-college-university-mental-illness-depression-anxiety/

“What’s that? Anxiety? Depression? Oh, I had that and I know loads of people that have it too — you’ll be fine!”

Ugh.

Yes, anxiety and depression is becoming more commonplace, perhaps because they are being talked about more, better diagnosed and less stigmatized. Although, stigma still exists in my opinion. We are all different and anxiety and depression affect us in similar yet different ways. But mental illness shouldn’t stop anyone from going to college; whether online or on campus.

Here are my top eight pieces of advice for anyone starting college with anxiety or depression:

1. Take baby steps.

You might feel pressured as a freshman by others drinking, joining clubs and being outspoken in class. This does not mean you have to be the same or do the same things. Your study is your journey and you need to take it in small, manageable steps. Set goals one step at a time.

2. Don’t be a hermit.

No matter how hard it is, even if you aren’t taking part in the “traditional college experience” (whatever that is), do not lock yourself away. This doesn’t mean I’m telling you to go out and talk to everyone, but perhaps, take a walk, go to the shop, gym or library — just get out of the house. And remember to be vigilant and be safe.

3. Take advantage of student support.

Most colleges will have student services. Make use of them because that is what they are there for. Ask about well-being courses, counseling, assessments, support or third parties that can help you or offer support when or if you’re struggling.

4. Undertake a learning difficulty assessment.

This obviously is not relevant to everyone, but I would definitely recommend it, even if it is of the slightest interest to you. These assessments are long and involve a one on one discussion with an assessor, but they are not just there to diagnose dyslexia, they assess for other things too. And school can help you apply for the funding to cover the cost.

5. It can be scary, but that’s OK.

College can be scary. New rooms, new teachers, new lecturers, new materials and everything is different. But it will get easier, take a deep breath and walk into that room.

6. It is OK to cry.

There will be days you don’t want to get up, go to a class or an activity, and you just want to fall apart. It is OK to cry. It may be embarrassing at first, but once you start, you will let go of so much built up emotion and things will probably seem better.

7. Talk.

Talk to someone; whether that is a friend, teacher, student support or a stranger, have someone to talk to. Or things might build up. It is so hard to share and talk about, but there is always someone willing to listen. Sometimes it takes a while to find them, but they are there.

8. You are number one.

This is the most obvious — but it is the first thing we forget. Look after yourself. Go for walks, take a moment to breathe, meditate, read or whatever takes your fancy. And of course, remember the basics: wash, eat and do your work. You are number one and need to keep yourself as healthy as you can.

You are worthy and you can do it!