My name is Joanne.
And I have mental health problems.
Seems easy that doesn’t it?
It’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard.
It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to admit to myself.
That I had problems and I needed help.
That I needed help more than I could ever have imagined.
The trigger of my illness? My daughter suddenly passing so unexpectedly. Things I saw on that day. Things I didn’t want to see. Things I didn’t want to hear. Things that I had no control over. Things that I couldn’t stop. Things I couldn’t change.
Of course I was grieving for my daughter but I thought I was normal. I thought everyone grieved like I was.
Turns out that I wasn’t though.
I was one of the lucky ones. If you can call me that. I didn’t feel lucky after losing our daughter. Although I was lucky. Lucky to get quick access to an amazing NHS psychologist – because if I hadn’t have done, I know that I wouldn’t be here today.
That might sound dramatic. It’s not though, it’s the truth.
My darling husband realised that I wasn’t functioning as I should be. That I wasn’t grieving like he was. That I was different. That something was wrong.
I didn’t want to believe it. I’m glad he made me go to the doctors though. It saved me.
I was diagnosed with
So, as you can see. It turns out that I wasn’t just grieving.
It’s roughly 4 years down the line now since my first psychologist session, when I didn’t really say much,I just sat and cried and then got angry. It’s a little different nowadays I talk more, I pour my heart out sometimes. I was there just last week. It’s not an easy fix to deal with mental health problems.
It’s hard work.
But as the old saying goes, “it’s good to talk”. It truly is.
Some days I can’t function. I feel like I’m failure as a wife, as a Mum, as friend … as everything.
These illnesses nearly cost us our marriage, nearly cost us the chance of having more children. I could’ve ran away. I wanted Dan to be with someone who could make him happy. Not to be with someone who cried herself to sleep most nights, that woke up and didn’t want to speak to him, that didn’t want to socialise. I wanted to leave so he could be happy. But he loves me more than I could ever have imagined and he stood by me and he’s my rock.
Social media is full of all these fabulous photographs that are photoshopped, edited, filtered – often we only see what people want us to see. They want you to see that their life is perfect and oh so happy.
So here is an unfiltered, unedited, unattractive photograph of what I looked like after a very recent anxiety attack and this is after nearly 5 years of having them. I took this 3 weeks go, not knowing if or when I was going to show it – but today seems right to do so, on World Mental Health Day. There was a trigger for this attack, I’ll talk about it in another blog when I’m ready …
After this attack, I was burnt out for a couple of days. It’s not like this just for a few minutes, the after effects always last a few days and it takes a while to piece me back together – but Dan and Leo always do this for me and help me through it.
So now you’ve read this, I’ve said this before.
Time to text that friend who you might not have heard from in a while, that might have been distant, that might have seemed rude last time that you spoke to them.
They could need that text more than you could imagine tonight. Offer them a brew. It might take them 3 months to take you up on the offer, but they will, when they’re ready. Let them know you’ll wait.
Mental Health does scare people, that’s not a surprise at all.
But the person it scares the most, is the person who is suffering and they might not even know it.
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