Let’s try this again…
The number of times I’ve written a post on mental health and never published it. *shakes head* I’ve never been in the right mindset and the posts I wrote were either extremely emotional or didn’t make sense at all. But then again raw content is best right?!
Mental health and me!
This is a very sensitive topic and very often I find myself struggling to talk about my mental health; my words usually get jumbled up and the smallest of things make me nervous and on edge.
I’ve never openly spoken of my anxiety or depression before because I’ve been afraid that others would see me how I see myself. But I’ve had enough, I won’t suffer in silence anymore. I’m fed up with keeping it to myself, fed up of being judged for being distant and for having mood swings. To be honest, I don’t know if opening up will help or make it worse for me, I suppose we’ll find out.
Over the years, I’ve fought battles that my family and friends would never imagine someone like me would go through because I’m always laughing, talking and generally just seem okay. It’s all a mask to cover up what I’m experiencing deep down inside of me. The truth is we never really know anyone.
What happens behind a closed door?
For a very long time, I haven’t been myself; wearing a mask in public to hide what I’m experiencing, on edge all the time, avoiding my family and friends, stressing over the tiniest things, over analysing situations, not leaving the house alone, not socialising. Also, having that nasty feeling like I have a piece of plastic stuck in my throat, shakey hands and legs, picking at my lips and nails, and you know it’s getting bad when you don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve lost count of the times I lie wide awake in bed all night, being able to hear my heart beat loud and fast, and feeling like everything is closing in on me.
Recently, I built up the courage to make an appointment with my doctor, he signed me off work. This is the first time I’ve been signed off for my mental health. To me, it doesn’t feel like a valid reason. Well, actually, it’s people around me who make me feel like it isn’t a valid reason to be off work or they make me feel like I need to prove it. I’m sorry if you can’t see it but try stepping into my mind for an hour or two, I promise you, you wouldn’t last in there.
Coming from a South Asian/Muslim community, I know mental health is something which is not openly spoken of, it’s seen as a taboo and is often frowned upon. I believe the older generation probably suffered from a form of mental health in silence because of this. I actually know people who keep it a secret because they are afraid of the reaction they’ll receive from the community. Trying to discuss this topic with people from my community is frustrating, especially when they reply with “pray more”, “it’ll pass”, “don’t think about it”, “you’ll get over it”, “think positive”. If I’m totally honest, that doesn’t help me in the slightest, if anything, it adds fuel to the fire.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents and siblings have been amazing and I can’t thank them enough, even though I don’t know how to explain whatever I’m going through to them because I’m struggling to make sense of it myself. But those who know of my struggles and have been supportive, whether it’s checking up on me, sitting with me in silence, a text or a call every now and again (even if I don’t reply), thank you!
Together, let’s raise awareness!
Writing, in general, is therapeutic for me. One of my coping mechanisms has been to write everything, my feelings, experience and all the little things in between. I was in two minds about posting this online but I want to use my platform to talk about topics that matter to me. Whether it’ll help me or someone else.
Just know if you have been battling with your mental health, you are not alone. Feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter/Instagram (@womanishaffairs) or email (email@example.com) if you would like to talk.
I have briefly touched up on everything I could think of in this post but I will definitely go into more detail in separate posts. So keep an eye out for them.
This is me, me at my most vulnerable. So, please be kind.
And to the friends and family who weren’t aware of any of this, well, now you know.