My Mental Health and Me

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day recognised and celebrated all over the world. With this in mind, I thought I would sit down and tell you about my journey with my mental health. The good, the bad and the ugly.

For a long time mental health was a taboo topic in Ireland and internationally. I think as time has moved on, more people are being open about living with different types of mental health illnesses and we are becoming more understanding of the struggles that some of us go through.

I think its fair to say that everyone has their off days- the days where they are just in a bad mood, and it just feels like the whole day is going wrong or where they just don’t want to be that bubbly person they always are. That’s ok. No one is expected to be happy go lucky 24/7; in fact, wouldn’t it be more annoying is every single person was like that?? No, I’m talking about when you’re in a dark place for a long time and you just can’t get out of it. It just feels like there is a cloud over your head and you just have lost interest in everything that you used to love. This is the part of mental health that is worrying.

My own personal journey started when I was nineteen. I was in my first year of college and was just incredibly stressed and tired. Then, one night I suffered my first panic attack. They kept happening. I honestly had not a clue what they were; after a while I plucked up the courage to go and speak to the guidance counsellor in the college who helped me calm down and advised me to go speak with my GP. I felt so embarrassed and as if I were wasting her time when I went to see my doctor. But she was understanding and explained that I was having panic attack and suffering with anxiety. She started me on a course of medication and gave me breathing exercises to try whenever I felt myself getting worked up. After a few weeks I started to feel myself again and things felt back to normal.

Now let’s fast forward a few years and I’m a person in their early twenties and have just been diagnosed with MS. To say my mental health began to suffer was an understatement. The dark clouds sat above my head and refused to move. I didn’t want to see my friends and wasn’t bothered texting them back; I could cry at the drop of a hat and spent many a night crying myself to sleep.

Back to the doctor I went and this time I was diagnosed with Depression, and a new course of medication was started. Unfortunately, it took some changing and swapping of my medication to get the right balance for me before I to started to feel better and for the clouds to move on. Thankfully, as of today, the clouds have still remained away. I’m not saying everyday is amazing but I’m learning how to deal with it. It’s okay to not be okay. 

Its an amazing thing that mental health is more talked about these days and there are so many amazing supports available including websites, helplines to GP services. But sometimes you just want to give your friend a text that says, “free for a chat?” and I am so lucky that I have friends in my life that I know if I need them, they are there. People are so much more open about their journeys with mental health & by making people aware, we help them to understand what’s going on. They’ll understand if you don’t get back to them right away or cancel them plans that you made weeks ago. 

Mental health should be talked about and there is absolutely nothing to feel embarrassed about when going to get help. I mean, if you had a broken leg, you would go and get it treated, right?
Why would you leave your mental health untreated if something is wrong?

Check out our MS and Wellness - Mental Health page here: