Tag Archives: #awareness

Welcome To A New Era, And A Rollercoaster One At That.

Well hi there,

It has been quite awhile, has it not?

Just over a year to be exact.

Over the past year, my life has shaped and transformed drastically. I completed my first year of University, making many friends and connections for life, whilst taking that colossal step in living independently in halls; a seemingly impossible task to someone with severe anxiety/depression. But I did it, and I have no regrets in doing so.

My first year of being an English Literature undergraduate went incredibly well, and as I write this, it shall be a month until I move into my student house with the wonderful souls of light that are my housemates, venturing into the second year of our courses alongside each other. The step of starting medication for my mental health began back in April, and for me personally, it was a good decision that has allowed me to finally feel strong enough to manage my anxiety and fears that have had the possibility to suffocate my mind on a daily basis since a young age. Medication is not an answer for everyone, and all those who have been following me over the past few years shall be aware of all the other ways of healing that I have attempted. Albeit, medication alongside therapy has come to be the best combination for me- I feel that my life is changing in ways that I would never have expected, in a positive manner at that.

My mental health advocacy has stepped up a gear…Okay, maybe about several gears?! Not only have I been involving myself with many mental health projects and campaigns, both in and outside of University, but recently, I was one of few young people who were chosen by Time To Change to be a young champion for this exceptionally large movement over the next 18 months. I cannot reiterate enough how many diverse and amazing opportunities this role is going to give me and I am bloody well going to embrace it. If this gives you any indication about how passionate about this role I am, I even travelled to Manchester and stayed there for the weekend with other Young Champions, receiving my training and connecting with many other amazing individuals- And that is before I even meet the other half of the cohort in a few month’s time! I would never of been able to do this a few months previously.38023508_1171591732990095_3935959715690840064_n

Life is something of a colourful sunrise for me currently and I am blessed to have found myself with an amazing and supportive social circle with people from all walks of life. However, we all know that mental illness is not something that disappears, and I would be lying if I said that my mental health is not a bitch. I am sure that the mental health community will agree with me when I say that it can be easier to hide behind a smile and a well dressed façade sometimes instead of being true to ourselves and others

The difference now, compared to when I last was active on this blog, is that I am managing far better and each day I am learning how to balance Uni, work, volunteering and socialising.

In this new era of my blog, I welcome you all to join me in not only my ventures as a mental health advocate, but more importantly, I hope that my blog will act as a reminder that regardless of your mental health diagnosis, life can be beautiful, even when your mind is fighting against you. You shall see the positives and negatives of living with a mental health diagnosis- What is the point in sugar coating our struggles, especially when mental health awareness is needed more than never in the fight against stigma and discrimination??

Identities are made up of many fractions within a human being, and believe me when I say this, you are NOT defined by your mental health. Life and existence are far more complicated and wonderful alike than first perceived.

Much love,

Rhi. X

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Men’s Mental Health- The stigma must be addressed.

Hello, darlings!

Something that I have very much been wanting to speak about for a while, which has been further strengthened after the death of Chester Bennington, yet another wonderful soul that has been lost to mental illness. I myself have nearly lost one or two men in my life who mean the absolute world to me, and if this blog post can even just raise some awareness or give some help to someone, so be it, because no-one should feel imprisoned by society and their mind.

It is a fact that suicide has become the biggest killer in men under 35, and a large factor in this is the stigma attached to men seeking help- Men I know personally have struggled immensely in speaking out and seeking help. Of course, it can be terrifying for women too when it comes to recovery, but figures in recent years have shown that women are much more likely to search for help compared to men. It truly breaks my heart that in our modern day society, there is such a large amount of men suffering in silence, feeling that they have nowhere to turn and when in such isolation in themselves, this can lead to disastrous consequences.

So why are men are less likely to speak out compared to females in our society? I certainly cannot speak for individuals as everyone is different, but there is definitely a stereotype that men need to be strong willed, not showing distress or a cry for help; unfortunately, these stereotypes have been engraved into us over centuries, causing increasing difficulties in modern day society. Regardless, IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED- men deserve so much more emotional and mental health related support. Stereotypes in society have caused men to build a wall within themselves in regards to asking/seeking for help and being able to show distress and sadness.

There is no doubt that improvements are not going to be made overnight;  these stereotypes are difficult to reverse, like with anything to do with mental health, it is going to take time, a spread of awareness and a better network of support in place. HOWEVER, as readers, as advocates, as members of society, as well as relatives and friends of those around you, there is so much you can do!

Spread awareness through writing, speaking up, and reading. Take time out of your day to check on loved ones and if for any reason, you believe they are struggling, talk to them and help them reach a path to get help, whilst also remembering to look after yourself.

Also, if you are reading this and you yourself are struggling with your mental health, I have attached some links at the bottom, there are a range from some that specifically relate to men and some others that relate to everyone.

To all the men out there who may be reading this; dark times in your life will occur and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help and support, whether that be from professionals or loved ones. You are loved and you are most certainly no less of a man for having a mental health issue or even just showing emotion- None of us would be human if we did not have emotions or thoughts, whether they be positive or negative; it is how you get past the difficult times that is important and even though recovery can be terrifying and certainly not linear,  trying to make that progress is something you should be incredibly proud of. Do not underestimate yourself, you are far more worthy and incredible than you may think you are.

Please know that anyone is more than welcome to contact me, whether you know me personally or not.

Until next time,

Rhi. X

Links to mental health organisations- You can also go to your GP or a crisis team for help:

  1. CALM- https://www.thecalmzone.net/
  2. More mental health information/ figures for men- https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/mental-health and https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-mental-health
  3. Samaritans- http://www.samaritans.org/
  4. Mind- https://www.mind.org.uk/