Mental health is a touchy subject, and one that most tend to shy away from. However, with the continual increase of mental illnesses in society I think it's pretty darn important to talk about it openly. According to Beyond Blue, one in four young Australians are currently suffering from a mental illness. Despite how common these disorders are there is still a huge stigma that comes with the word "depression" or "anxiety".
The lack of understanding of mental illnesses in Australia has been clearly highlighted in the potential cuts to funding by the Abbott government. This type of action fuels isolation and negative misconceptions of people with mental illnesses. Mental illness is an extremely common aspect of life in today's society, and it is extremely disappointing to see our government's naivety towards the issue. Governments need to be increasing funding and increasing awareness in order to help those who are suffering.
It is so common to feel anxious, sad, depressed, stressed, scared and lonely. If you are nodding away whilst reading this, you must remember that you are not alone, because there are so many people out there that are feeling the same way you are. I'm one of them.
A few years ago, I felt as though my life had collapsed, and I fell into a severe depression. I lost the ability to stand up for myself, I backed away from conflict, I didn't believe in myself and I was afraid of what people thought of me. It was not long before I lost my desire to live, which led me to some very scary thoughts on some extremely dark days. It was not until I fell into a deep emotional hole that I knew it was time to make changes in my life. To think back to the lowest point in my life thus far, at the time, I didn't think I was going to get out of it. I felt paralyzed, stuck in a deep, dark hole where no ladder tall enough existed to get me out. That was pretty scary. At the time I didn't believe I had the strength to pull myself out, I felt alone, afraid and overwhelmingly sad. How did I get here? How did I end up down here, in a place so frightening? After months of feeling like there was no way out of that hole, I started to believe that maybe there was. I realized that this is not how I should be living my life. Once this thought had come into my head, it took a long time to actually get myself out of that hole. First I had to want to get out, and then I had to believe that I could. With the help of my family and friends I started to get my life back on track. I learnt how to talk about my feelings and learnt that it is okay to seek help. And most importantly I learnt to love myself. My experience with depression and anxiety taught me invaluable life lessons that have helped me become the person I am today.
It has been a very interesting three years for me, emotionally and mentally. To look back to 2012 it is safe to say that I am a completely different person. I have learnt how important it is to live every day to its fullest (I know that sounds corny, but it's so true). I have learnt the importance of doing things for other people. I have learnt to never judge people, as you never know what they may be going through. I have learnt the importance of smiling at strangers. I have learnt that nothing in life comes easy. I have learnt that life is special. I have learnt that there are so many facets to every single human being. I have learnt the importance of happiness. I have learnt the importance of pursuing your dreams. I have learnt the importance of friendship and family. I have learnt the importance of being a strong person.
I am telling you my story, in the hope that it will help you, or encourage you to help others. Start a conversation. Speak openly with your friends and family. You never know who may be quietly suffering. You may be the difference in changing someone else's life.
If you would like more information on mental illnesses check out www.beyondblue.com