Mental Health Awareness Week – It’s ok not to be ok

It’s that time of year again, Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW). A push for change, a push for awareness, a push for positivity and a push for hope for those that feel lost.

This week means a lot to me. My employer is really pushing the subject and I also see friends on social media pushing links, quotes, calling people out to see if they are ok. As a sufferer of mental health issues, this is important to get that conversation into the mainstream and letting people know that it’s ok not to be ok. I took part in the activities at work, it was something different and people spoke openly, which was amazing.

But, we must remember that mental health awareness is all year round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You may be ok this week but what happens the following week, or the week after that? People need to keep the awareness in the forefront of their mind, as you never know when it will come.

Before my breakdown, I was one of those people who didn’t believe I have a mental health illness, I didn’t have any issues. Roll on sometime later, I went from being that person that said I was ok when anyone asked me, to having a mental illness breakdown and being admitted to hospital. I had to take the best part of a year off work to recover.

Thankfully, I am now back at work full time. I recognise that I have mental health problems and they will be with me for the rest of my days. For years I suffered in silence, from a generation of not talking about emotions or feelings. I put on a mask when people asked if I was ok, I would say yes knowing that inside I was dying and screaming and that I was very much not ok.

I asking anyone reading this, to not be like me or like I was. Please don’t ever get to a dark place where I was. Help is available, both professionally and by peer-to-peer support. The best feeling and revelation was admitting to myself and to others, that i’m not ok. A gigantic weight had been lifted and that was the start of recovery for me.

Be more you, be amazing, be that person who’s strong enough to say that I’M NOT OK.