There are some who argue that depression is not an illness. ''Pull yourself together. This is a first world problem if I've ever seen one. Come with me to Africa and I'll show you people who have a right to be depressed." All I can say to people who say such things is that I'm not able to rationalize it like that.
The holidays are supposed to be fun. Right? Then how come most of us are stressing out and worrying for weeks ahead of the Big Day and dreading the day itself? What happened to all the love, joy, reunions, gift giving, laughter and merriment associated with this, the biggest of all the holidays?
There may not be a sign of snow, but this Christmas is still set to be a special one for me. I am now a dad, and with fatherhood comes a new outlook on the festive season. Yes it's fun to wail to Wizzard with a whiskey in hand, but above all, I want it to be a magical time for my son. It's this new responsibility that makes me feel obliged to remind the nation about the dangers of a drink too many.
New Year's Resolutions seem to revolve around abstinence. Don't do this. Don't drink that. Don't you DARE eat that, else you will be this... It's actually a very negative concept if you approach it in that manner. The words 'don't' and 'shouldn't' aren't very helpful to anyone, let alone an anxious girl. I've learnt lately how powerful language can be.
I think it's normal to feel a bit weird at this time of year. We build up Christmas to such a fever pitch of twee imagination and rose-tinted memories that it can end up feel disappointing and miserable. Sometimes, surrounded by a barrage of Good Will to All Men and Joy to the World and Christmas Cheer, we feel lost and alone, longing for a feeling we can't find anymore.
This time of year can be brilliant fun, but occasionally can also be just a little bit stressful, what with buying gifts, cooking elaborate dinners or perhaps simply being thrown together with relatives you do not see very often for long periods of time.
We've come a long way in recent times in our ability to talk about mental health. Increasingly people are able to admit when they're struggling, to realise that they need help, and we're slowly, albeit too slowly for my liking, chipping away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness. But then something like this pops up.
A successful life is down to how adept you are at attracting personal and professional opportunities into your life, and the lives of everyone else you know. Meeting new people face-to-face is the single best way of doing that. It applies equally for purely social events as well as work related parties, drinks receptions etc.
Christmas is a time for peaceful relaxation by the fire right? Wonderful times with family and friends? Peaceful, gentle walks in the country side and non stop magic and fun?! Well, not always.
Create some healthy habits, this can include many things but overall is covered in one area - Fitness. Exercise not only improves physical confidence but it also helps your brain work more efficiently and process information faster.
Research says that if we spend money preventing the illness, then it will save resources in other sectors in the future. Some people who struggle with mental health turn to drink and drugs crime to survive, we only have to look at our hero's from the army, many of whom are homeless to back this up.
You came into my life at the tender age of 9. I didn't know what you were, but you immobilised me, and took me away from the life I knew. I lived in a bubble you made, so thick I couldn't break out. You kept me hidden in my room, existing but not living.
The key to feeling better is to get to the root of the problem and do what you can to turn these negative feelings around. Despite the therapy and medications, people still continue to suffer. And there's a good reason why... actually there are eight good reasons. Sometimes the cause behind anxiety and depression isn't mental at all! It's physical.
This is the reality of a lack of funding for mental health. The over-burdened services, pared down to the bone. There are no beds left, there is little access to counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy... All I have to offer is a listening ear. That, and a tissue.
The Christmas period serves up an array of situations that can trigger an anxiety attack. For many of us, spending time with our extended families can cause an increase in stress which may lead to downing that extra glass of mulled wine to get through the day.
Mental health is an economic problem. It is a problem that this country cannot afford to ignore. While we have made considerable progress in the last decade, mental health continues to be a sensitive issue.