Mental Heath Week 2018 Round-Up

MHAW18 – The Round Up

Well, what a week it has been! After writing all week about different aspects of mental health I’m so pleased with the response. I’ve been amazed by the responses, the number of people reading, it’s been amazing! That said, I know that not everyone checks in every day with my blog (it’s ok, I’ll forgive you) so here’s a round-up of this weeks posts!

Welcome to MHAW18 

A big welcome to the week and a heads up about what I’m planning to do with it.

Does Therapy Work?

One of the big questions in the community is about therapy and whether it works, so I decided to talk about it and why it’s good to talk!

10 Ways To Support Someone With A Mental Illness

It can be really hard to support someone who is mentally ill. So I’ve put together some tips on how to support someone with a mental illness and what might work for you and them.

My Top 10 Mental Health Reads 

Of course, I was going to talk about books! I’ve picked 10 reads I thought did it right when it comes to mental illness.

I Have, I Am – Talking About Mental Illness 

I’m really interested in the terminology we use to discuss our mental health. This post was to discuss that and how we relate ourselves and our illnesses.

How Am I Doing Right Now? 

My own personal post about my mental health right now and how I’m doing. I try and write one of these every year just being honest about how I’ve been doing, what place I’m in right now.

I’ve enjoyed writing and getting to know more of you this week. We have to remember that this week is excellent but mental health awareness needs to carry on. It needs to be spoken about without shame or stigma.

Thanks so much for reading!

10 Ways to Support Someone with a Mental Illness

MHAW18: 10 Ways to Support Someone with a Mental Illness

When a loved one is struggling with a mental illness it can be hard to know what to do and how to help. For me, when I’m on a low I don’t even know what I want sometimes! There are some things, however, that you can do to help. I wanted to share them with you.

Listen

Sometimes all a person needs is someone to listen. They don’t need actions or solutions just someone to listen to how they feel and why they might be feeling it. It’s really that simple. Having someone listen to you can make such a change to a person’s day.

Don’t assume you know or understand 

Mental illness may have a set of symptoms but it is a truly personal experience. From experience, someone else thinking they know what you’re going through and trying to guess, rather than listen, is frustrating. It is so, so important to see this as a personal struggle not just a set of symptoms. Depression isn’t just sadness, Anxiety isn’t feeling nervous these are real issues.

Support them with small steps

Sometimes something that might seem small can be a big deal. In my worst times, I struggled to leave the house to go to the shop down the road. I physically couldn’t leave and when I did I had anxiety attacks. So my amazing boyfriend helped with the smaller steps. First, take a shower, then put on some clothes, then put on my shoes etc. It was long and frustrating but we did it and later that afternoon popped to the shop. I do the same thing with close friends with things such as blood tests. Small steps matter!

Let them know you’re there without forcing them to open up 

People will open up when they’re ready. Trying to force it from them will probably have the opposite effect. Just letting someone know that if they want to talk or hang out, you’re there is a big help.

Don’t try to ‘fix’ them 

Don’t listen to Coldplay, people with a mental illness aren’t broken and recovery has to be something the person wants for themselves.

Treat them as the person you know they are 

The person you know is in there, they might just be hiding. You can still make jokes, ask them to go places. They could say no 99 times but that 100th time they might feel well enough to go. It let’s them know that you still love and care for them.

Ask what they need 

It could be someone to just sit with in the quiet, someone to eat with or just being that voice at the end of the phone. Asking them what they actually need rather than guessing makes things a lot easier in the long run.

Swot Up! 

There’s so much information out there to help you understand what your loved one is going through. Read personal accounts, watch documentaries, listen to music. You might not be living it but you can try to understand as much as possible.

Be there 

It really is as simple as that. Just being there for someone.

Be a champion 

Mental illness is something that we need to talk about and even if you’ve never lived it you can be a champion and continue the conversation.

 

What would you add? Let me know in the comments below!

What’s Up With Me?

I’ve been a little bit quieter recently on the blog, on my Twitter and in my general life. Now, I don’t feel that I have to explain everything to everyone but it’s been bothering me slightly. I haven’t written about mental health in a while now, partly because I didn’t know what to say, partly because I’ve been mixing with new people and I didn’t want the first thing for them to know about me was my history rather than the person I am now.

So what is up with me? It’s been a really weird month. My Great Nan died at the beginning of the month, so there was also a funeral. I’ve had some hospital appointments and a week off. So it’s been a mixed bag but even with that, something felt off. Something within me felt strange and I just blamed it on things in my life and feeling tired. Standard stuff.

That was until last night, I’d just had enough of feeling crappy and exhausted when there wasn’t anything that I could pinpoint anymore that was making me feel this way. I’ve been going through areas of my life and couldn’t understand what was going on and I was worried. Then something clicked. Something had changed.

About 2 months ago I changed some of my medication and I was told it would be a straight swap, one for the other but it would help with my back pain as well as serving as an antidepressant that I was already on. There was a catch though…nobody told me the dosage would change to be a lot lower and therefore offset the chemical imbalance again. Not fun.

And that’s the thing, I have a chemical imbalance, that’s all this is. It’s just like a Diabetic I can’t help my illness any more than they can. So I spoke to my doctor, we’re trying out some other options and it was a huge weight off of my shoulders to understand. Living with Depression is all about ups and downs.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something is up and trying to work around it. I haven’t been crying every day or the typical Hollywood version of depressed but everything just felt a lot heavier and like it was more effort, that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.

So, that’s what’s been up! I’m pretty proud of myself for clocking it and then doing something about it.

 

Have any of you ever experienced this? Let me know in the comments below!

7 ways to Help Your Mental Health Day to Day

As the days have gotten shorter and it’s a lot darker, anyone’s mental health can take a hit. Recently, while having a medication review, I spoke to a doctor about medication and dosages. He told me that he does not unless he has to for the patient, lower or bring anyone off of antidepressants in the winter months.

I completely understand why he does this. A lot of people feel good at the end of the summer, it’s been warm, there might have been holidays or romance and a lot of time outside the house. In the Autumn & Winter, however, it can get harder.

So, how can we help ourselves, well…

Recognise when you’re not feeling great

Remember that it’s ok not to be ok, it’s like a giant light has gone off for the world, it’s going to knock you! That and it’s cold, not exactly the best conditions to be happy. Know that it’s ok to feel that way and you’re certainly not the only one.

Try and leave the house 

Despite the temperature drop try and go outside. Throw on a big jumper and a coat and go somewhere. It can be as simple as popping to the shop or going for a 10 minute walk.

Practice self-care 

Self-care is really important in whichever way you chose to do it. I’m trying to be healthier and not rely on food  so, recently, I’ve found a nice bath and some poetry makes me feel a lot better.

Make a list of things to look forward to 

I used to really struggle with my day to day because I wasn’t happy with my personal situation. I needed a reason to look forward so I started making notes and writing on calendars at least one thing I was looking forward to. I didn’t need to be anything big but I had a focus point.

Take your time

Take your time with building yourself up. There’s no rush to be the happiest person or to shake off feelings. We’re all different and we all have our own challenges.

Get enough sleep! 

I cannot stress this enough. Sleep is so important to our lives, make sure you get the amount of sleep you need. I know that I can deal with 6 hours a night but to be fully functioning I need 8 hours.

Make sure you eat 

I’m awful at this, I’ll admit that I’m awful at this. When I’m absorbed in something, or when I’m sad food is something I forget about. Don’t be me! Make sure you’re eating and fuelling your body.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 – Tips for Tough Days

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, each year it’s something that I dedicate a post to because it’s important. The fact that we need a day for suicide prevention shows something. We live incredibly busy lives, we’re constantly going, going, going, looking at the world around us and having 24-hour news and updates on the good, and bad in the world. It can all get a little too much. When you’re at your lowest ebb, and suicide seems like an option, it’s hard to know what to do to help, if there is any help at all when you’re slowed down struggling to cope while the world seems so fast. So, for this year I wanted to share some tips, for the days when everything seems too much.

Know that it’s ok to unplug

I love social media and growing my following BUT, sometimes it’s too much. To see other people seemingly having a great time when you’re not feeling great it’s ok to switch off for a while and turn off your internet and just be.

Speak to, or be around, people that love you 

This is so important. It doesn’t matter who these people are, but it can help to be cared for in the smallest of ways.

Get some natural light 

Hear me out. I’ve been in those times where my mind tells me to just lie in the darkness and just sleep, mainly when I was living alone at uni. When you get up, open the curtains or try to go outside for 10-15 minutes. Natural light can really do you good. If not you can get a lamp to replicate light, which also helps with SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder).

Try and do something you enjoy 

I know it can be really hard when you’re in the darkest parts of depression but even a little something can make you feel a little better. Maybe listen to an album you like, do something creative, cook? Whatever you feel up to doing. I, personally, try to listen to some music or write.

Allow yourself to cry 

My boyfriend is on tour right now, it’s tough. For the past week I’ve been trying to keep myself busy all the time, every evening pushing my mind and my body to distract myself. Yesterday I finally let myself acknowledge that I was missing him and had a good old ‘ugly cry’, didn’t set my alarm and just slept for as long as my body needed.

Know it’s ok not to be ok 

I wrote a whole post on this a while back, it’s ok not to feel ok. It’s part of life and if you have a mental illness it’s a part of life you know all too well. We have down days, sometimes we relapse, it’s all part of recovery.

Know that someone loves you

It can be so hard to remember this. Someone in the world loves you, so much. You’re worth this life. I promise.

If you need any help or are feeling suicidal please, please talk to someone. In the UK you can contact the Samaritans, they can talk things over with you on 116 123. If you feel like you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself please call an ambulance.

Sunday Seven: Ways to kick anixiety’s butt!

I know that sometimes, it can feel like you don’t have anxiety, you are absorbed by the sneaky bugger. Right now, I’m pleased that I’m managing my anxiety, but now and again, of course, I have my moments where I wonder if I’ll feel ok again. It’s on these days it is that little bit harder here are 7 things you can do.

Write a list of things you need to do 

Only what you need to get done, don’e be consumed by something you need to get done tomorrow or next week. Break big tasks down and take it day by day.

Be kind to yourself

When I’m in an anxious state, I know most of the time that it’s not logical. That there are things I’m anxious about that I don’t need to be or I’ll beat myself up over small things. Know that you’re just having a bad day, it will pass.

Get some light in!

Natural sunlight is a great mood booster even five minutes can help you out so open those windows.

Make sure you have contact with positive people 

It can be really hard, particularly if your anxiety means you want or need to be alone but make sure that you can contact people who make you feel comfortable.

Do something you enjoy 

Read, watch a TV show you love, colour do something you enjoy that you’ll find relaxing.

Express how you feel!

Only you will know the best way to calm your anxious mind but don’t bottle it up. For some doing something creative will help unleash how you feel, for others making something or solving a problem. Whatever works, you do you!

What are your tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 on chloemetzger.com

MHAW

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, as my regular readers know I’m really big on promoting awareness, sharing my own experiences with mental health and just generally getting mental health in every day conversation. Whether we like it or not there’s still a stigma attached to mental health issues and it’s not the way it should be BUT with weeks like this we can end the stigma sooner rather than later.

This week I’ve decided to relate all my posts to raising awareness of mental health. I’ve got posts planned around my experience, opinions, books related to mental health, motivation – it’s all going to be going on over here! As always I’d love to hear for you in the comments, on Twitter. I’ve found that when I’m really not doing well Twitter is one of the places I can talk to people to understand and generally be in a better mood.

I also want to do an honest mood update each day, because sometimes I can go a few weeks of feeling fine and then it’ll go downhill, it’s the ways of having Depression. For today I’ve been really sleep deprived so my mood hasn’t been the best, I’m at a really overwhelming point in my life and everything’s changing so I think that’s to be expected.

I can’t wait to write this week and raise as much awareness as possible! As always leave comments and questions below!