Monday, 18 April 2016

One of the Last Taboos-Mental Health

*Trigger warning-Swearing, mental health issues in this post*

This post has been a long time coming. If anyone who follows the blog knows that there has been a lack of updates and a huge delay in posts. This is not a post about 'how busy I've been' or 'there hasn't been enough time'. Not this time, this is more serious.

About a year ago, I had some terrible shit happen to me. I thought I was ok, I was starting a business with my friends, I was living with my boyfriend who I dearly care about, I was gyming it and I was happy. At least, I thought I was. However, I was living on a very fine line. A line that I didn't know I was on. 

I was on the edge, and then, I got my final push from the friend that I was meant to start the business with. I won't go into details of why she decided to end the whole thing, because if I told you her reasons, you would cringe. I will not go down that road of petty bitchy-ness as I'm not like that and will not go down to that level. 

The long process of fighting over the name of the business, insurance, ownership, everything, ensued thereafter. I was lucky enough to help legal help and I got professionally drawn up letters and emails. While I received bitter, unprofessional emails and texts.

In those few difficult months, panic attacks started. I was awake at night, worrying about everything. My safety, my career, reputation. I carried on like it everything was fine. While I was harassed every which way.

I think that, I took a brave step, a step that most people do not even bother with because its still a taboo. I went to the doctors, and was diagnosed with anxiety. Finally after all these years, it had a name! I wasn't insane or mental, I had a thing!! It was such a huge weight off me. It was only in those last few troublesome months, that it began to manifest itself into an ugly anxiety monster that reared its head into my life.

More people suffer with depression and anxiety, yet nothing is ever said because it is still not fully understood. 1 in 6 people (in the UK) will suffer with depression once in their lifes and yet its still a little 'awkward' to talk about. So here I am, being awkward, by talking about it now. I am not crazy, mental or insane. I have anxiety. I decided to to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy rather then going onto tablets. I was approached with kind, helpful people who didn't judge me, as they knew better. So months later, I'm better, still on the road to recovery. The anxiety monster that loomed, is getting pushed back by 'Old Penny'. Which I'm getting back into.

I'm lucky to have support from a family who now understand (thank you), I have some support from co-workers who took the time to listen (thank you), I've got some fucking fantastic friends which I cannot thank enough for chatting about everything and lastly, my boyfriend Rob. He went through it all with me and could not do a thing about it. At the time, he just sat and listened. He saw me suffering and tried hard to help. He cried with me, got frustrated at me and ate all the chocolate with me. One day he told me that there maybe something more to it and suggested I seek professional help. Without him, I don't think I would have the strength to ask for help. Don't worry, I made him some cookies as thanks.

To those who helped and you know who you are. I'll always be grateful to all of you, so I'll be forever baking to say thank you. Which I don't mind. 

I'm not really sure how to finish this really. I'm not a doctor that can give you advice. I can't do a 'Top Ten Tips' for this, its ongoing. Mental health is still be researched and we've only begun to scratch the surface. The only advice, (if you can call it that), that I can offer is: be kind. If someone is reaching out by telling you that they think they maybe suffering from an mental illness. Listen and rather than suggesting to 'cheer up', suggest that they go to a professional. Be kind to others around you and you might make someone's day a little brighter. That's all really. If you take away anything from this, is that hope is not lost. There is help out there, please speak up about it. 

If you feel that you or someone you love is suffering with anxiety, (or depression) don't be afraid to reach out for help and come forward. There are people who can help, you just need to ask. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and share with anyone who may benefit from it. 
Bake On! Penny x
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