#itsOkNotToBeOk

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It’s hard to find a single person who hasn’t been touched by mental health. Whether a family member, partner or personally, the pressures of modern society are taking a toll on our collective mental health.

As part of World Mental Health Awareness day, people have been encouraged to share their experiences of mental health and combat the stigma attached. I hope all the shared experiences reach the people who need it.

Here’s mine.. XxX

In twelve months my whole life changed and crumbled – health, wealth, job, home, relationship – collapsed.

The little that remained of my confidence and identity (after being in a particularly pychologically abusive relationship) finally retreated.

The relentless onslaught of failures, health issues, work issues, battles and abuse kept my body permanently in fight or flight mode. I was overwhelmed and perpetually exhausted.

At times I asked my friends to assess my sanity. After years of abuse and gaslighting, I couldn’t be sure if my perception of reality was working properly.

The thought of depression often conjures pictures of unhappiness or numbness but for me I just felt exhausted. Birds singing made me smile and music could move me, but after so many knock downs the fear of the unknown future fuckery lurking around the next corner kept me living in the future and in a constant state of high anxiety.

To escape my thoughts often turned to suicide, not because I was unhappy, I just wanted to rest. I was too tired and didn’t want to keep battling, being “strong” or “dusting myself off”.

I remember one day feeling particularly trapped and full of self pity. I stared longingly out of a ninth floor hotel window wanting to jump. My responsibilities and beliefs meant that I could never commit suicide and tears streamed down my face at that reality. I saw death as a beautiful peace that I wasn’t allowed to have alive.

But it was also during that dark time that I realised that my friends unconditionally accepted me. Even in such a broken and needy state. They were there for me and I realised that I was worthy enough to receive their love.

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It was a couple of years before I could start to process and heal from all the trauma but I still feel blessed today knowing that each step of the way my friends were there.

Years later those times seem like another life, but I will never forget the kindness of my friends and the liberating lesson that we all are worthy of such kindness and love.

To all my friends and family that were there for me thank you xxxx

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/

Cheers to the fall

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In March this year, I fell off my bike and completely shattered my forearm and shoulder.  Three hours of surgery, one metal plate, 9 pins and a stay in hospital later, I was discharged home.  Being “fairly young” (surgeons exact words), I was                    expected to make a full recovery.

Physically, the prognosis seemed likely.  I’m fairly healthy (my exact words) and not shy to exercise.   But I just wasn’t prepared mentally for the initial helplessness I felt after the injury and the impact that had on me psychologically. I had been confronted with the fragility of the human body.  My body.  My fragility. My mortality.

I had gone from being a mother and care giver, to needing someone to help me wash, bath, eat, do my hair and help me to look after my son.

In some ways as time progressed things got harder.   I walked in constant fear and hyper vigilance, permanently petrified that someone would bump into my arm.  With the sling gone, there was no visual clue to say “Please don’t barge me I’m injured”  (Which should be a general rule for all pedestrians – but like anyone who has walked the Brixton High Street gauntlet from the Tube station, past Iceland until H&M knows, it’s each person for themselves, buggy or shopping trolley during rush hour.)

Fear and vulnerability become your daily way of life and after a while it’s becomes a tough mindset to get out of.

Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by love and support.  Not just from my amazing friends and family, but with small acts of kindness from complete strangers.  People would stop and offer to tie my shoe laces for me, even when insisted I was fine, or hold a doors, bags or the bubba.  Once a Good Samaritan even carried my bags all the way to my door step.  Those acts of kindness made me remember the beauty of humanity and the resilience of the human spirit, inspiring me to find the strength to push past my fears.

So I’m proud to announce that this week was first time since my accident that I got back on a bike.  Physically, I could probably have done it a couple of months ago, but we are all on our own journeys and this time mine took a little bit longer.

So thank you 2017 for showing me the beauty of true friendship, humanity, my inner strength and teaching me that it doesn’t matter how
many times you fall off that bike- GET BACK ON! Xx