Does this look like the face of someone who suffers from depression and anxiety? Is there a certain way to look when you suffer from poor mental health?
The answer is no. No there is not a specific way that people should look if they have mental health problems… there is no specific look for people who have certain physical health problems either, but they do not get questioned.
There is still a large amount of stigma that surrounds mental health and there is simply no need for it. Mental health conditions are medical conditions, they are not made up and they can be very serious and in some cases fatal.
I do not tend to talk about my mental health publically, in fact, I hardly talk about it at all! On the rare occasion that I have spoken about it, I have been faced with phrases such as:
- What do you have to be depressed about?
- You are just having a bad day, you’ll get over it.
- You are just an overthinker, you need to chill out.
- How can you say you have depression when there are people out there who have it worse than you?
- You are just worried, we all worry.
The list could continue for a good page and a half but you get the point.
The truth is, mental health problems can affect anyone, at any stage in their lives and they do not need a reason to occur. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health problems across the world, so why is there such a huge stigma surrounding them?
Having a mental health problem does not make you a weirdo, a freak or an outcast! Mental health problems do not make you weak. They are illnesses, they are not your fault and they do not define you. And other people need to realise that.
Having depression sucks, it makes taking part in day-to-day activities difficult sometimes, but it does not define the person that I am.
On bad days, depression makes it hard to be productive, it makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning and can make simple tasks feel like the worlds worst chores. But on good days, when I am more me, I am outgoing, fun, full of energy and laughter… that is the true me.
Anxiety makes me overthink a crazy amount, sometimes over certain things, sometimes about anything and everything and sometimes about stupid scenarios that I have made up in my head. It is exhausting and although I know I am being stupid most of the time, I still can’t stop the thoughts from going around my head. It is ridiculously frustrating and can sometimes build itself into a panic attack, which is another story completely.
Panic attacks can be terrifying. For me, my chest becomes tight and painful, my breathing increases in speed, I feel cold and shaky and everything around me seems to fade away to the point where I have no idea what is going on around me. Panic attacks can last for up to one hour, with most subsiding after 20-30 minutes. My worst panic attack to date, lasted 50 minutes.
I do not have panic attacks often, which for me makes them scarier when they do occur.
There are various techniques that can help, for me, placing my hands on a flat surface and trying to focus on my breathing, or breathing in time with someone else, can really help to ease the situation.
So I guess this is me opening up about my mental health. I am still me. I am still the Aimee that you know and love before you knew. Does knowing I have mental health problems change your view of me? Does it change the person who you thought I was? If it does; then you know where the door is, because I do not have time for people like that in my life.
I am still 100% me, opening up about my mental health does not change the person who you have come to know. It simply means you know a little bit more about me.
I wrote this post to show that not everything is as it seems, many people reading this will be shocked… this is my way of saying to check in on your friends and loved ones for you never truly know what they are going through. If you think someone you know is struggling, be there for them, ask them how they are and show them that you are listening.
A little bit of love and kindness goes a very long way.