Mental Health Can Make You or Break You..

For most people, there is a perception that mental health destroys lives and changes them for the worst. In some cases, yes that is true however, for everyone there is an opportunity to turn what is considered to be a burden into a positive change.

When my mental health was at it’s peak, I believed everything around me was ruined. Nothing was ever going to be the same, my character had been shattered and my image would never be painted in a positive light. It is very easy to surrender yourself to your demons and to see no future ahead.

Mental health often presents itself when we least expect it. No one can ever be prepared for the impact of a break down and it can occur for a reason or no reason at all. Some people experience traumatic events, some people become overwhelmed with stress and some people, who may be perfectly fine, suddenly find themselves in a deep situation full of turmoil.

Mental health does not always need a reason to latch itself on to us. There is a common ignorance that people who have everything they could need have no reason to be depressed. You only need to look at some of the many cases out there that began with an average person to realise mental health can be triggered in anyone.

I strongly believe that everyone has an element of mental health issues within them and it is possible it could strike out at them at any time. This may scare some people but it really shouldn’t. I do not regret or even resent my mental health whatsoever and I think that the first positive step is to accept your condition as part of you.

This took a long time for me because I feared I would become one of the many statistics across the world that often succumb to their demons. I was afraid that I was never going to recover and I would be burdened with my illness for the rest of my life. It was very difficult to look at this in any positive way.

However, when you do, you soon realise that perhaps your burden could be your gift. I believe that everything happens for a reason and sometimes these unexpected changes are changes meant to happen. The way your character changes in the aftermath is because that’s the person who you are.

Anyway, I will make my point. What has mental health done for me? Besides inspiring me to write thoughtful posts such as this, it has helped strengthen my character, reaffirmed my principles and ultimately made me a better person. I am not weak and I am not broken. I have been made and I am prepared for the challenges ahead.

I have opened my mind to the world and I have developed a lot of empathy for those suffering, an understanding for those struggling and my compassion for people has became my strength. These are factors about me that I am very proud of.

Finally, if I hadn’t of suffered a break down, then I wouldn’t be doing what I do now. My anxiety and depression sparked a journey into my life to discover the world and make the most of my qualities.

All in all, mental health can make you or break you. It is down to you to decide and the first step is believing you have the power to do so.

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Why Anti-Depressants & Medication Is Not Always The Answer!

Do you ever feel like an extra on The Walking Dead? Or the pills you’re popping is just numbing your brain to silence the pain? Doctors are often too quick to subscribe medication and it isn’t always the answer. Besides adverse side effects and adaptation, you patiently wait to see what benefits it actually has.

I’ve been prescribed medication on three occasions. The first time was when I was 18 years old and I had began to start putting on weight. I took them for four days before I decided it was a pointless exercise, as I didn’t feel any different and at that age you’re pretty impatient. The second time was before I started a new job and I was concerned about my trouble with sleeping however, I didn’t want to risk feeling ‘out of it’ during my probation stage so I just dumped them. Finally, the last time I was prescribed medication was when I was 21 years old and my anxiety was at it’s peak.

I was taking the medication on a regular basis and I informed my employer. The side effects of the medication were most common ones such as hallucinations, nightmares, tiredness, loss of appetite and even suicidal thoughts. Between November 2015 and January 2016, I slowly drifted into a zombie-like-state and instead of feeling upset, I wasn’t feeling anything. This became the problem because rather than feeling happy or upset, I barely felt any emotion and instead I just existed in a state of what I would describe to be an awakened coma. I was awake but not alert. My presence was in a deep sleep.

After I attempted to commit suicide, I was advised by my doctor to stop taking the pills. I wasn’t weaned off like most and instead went straight off them. I became a bit rattled at this stage, with phases of excitement and other times exhaustion. If I had been on them as long as most then I think I would of reacted far worse.

I haven’t touched medication since and I firmly believe that psychology was a far more effective treatment. Instead of subduing the feelings, I was able to open them up and explore them, with expert guidance and practical advice. Instead of fighting my anxiety, I was understanding it and we all know knowledge is key.

In some cases, not taking medication isn’t always the solution and I would always advise doing what is comfortable for you. Severe depression (which I did not consider myself to have), schizophrenia, psychosis, personality disorders and other complex illnesses can become dangerous if they aren’t controlled. I’m referring to the average patient who suffers with depression or anxiety.

The problem with medication is that it doesn’t always help you progress or recover. You can often become dependant on medication and it becomes very hard to ever get out of that cycle. Popping pills, numbing the emotions and carrying on. It can often lead to a miserable shell-like existence.

Most of us who feel depressed or anxious, seek an answer or solution. We can’t cure it but we want to be in control of it but you can’t control something you have no understanding of.

So why do doctors prescribe medication so quick? Often, once adapted to, medication can help balance the chemicals in the brain and this is the purpose of them. They don’t, in my opinion, have the time or resources to explore alternatives and this is why people can be referred to a specialist. However an article in the Huffington Post warned GPs were too quick to prescribe medication and other options, such as recommending exercise should be explored more.

Medication may help you balance the brain and feel more stable but do you really want to depend on it long term, if there are other possible solutions? All you are doing is subduing the emotion but you are not always dealing with the issue.

I would recommend that anybody who goes to speak to their doctor about how they are feeling, make an effort to encourage their doctor to explore other alternatives and options, as opposed to just going on medication. For some cases, medication is necessary but if you’re one of the fortunate ones who may not need it, then consider your options.

I found learning, educating myself, reflecting and understanding the events and factors that led to my mind set was the best way to take steps towards a more positive change.

As always, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is just my opinion and if you are currently taking medication then I hope it is helping you in the best way possible. If anyone has a story, advice or opinions to share then feel free to contact me directly or comment below.

Thank you for reading!