This year I’ve started to be a bit more open about my mental health with the people important to me. It’s not easy to ask for support when you can’t always explain what’s wrong without getting upset, but I’m very lucky to have some amazing friends who have supported me through rough times in my mental health just by showing that they care.
My best days are usually spent with friends and my bad mental health days are at home alone (or at work). My circle of friends are so supportive, especially my best friend who I speak to every day and is often my voice of reason when I start getting intrusive thoughts. I used to call her when I had panic attacks to help me calm down and now I’ve learnt to do that myself, but I know that I’ve got someone there for me to talk to if I need it.
As work is my main source of stress, my anxiety and depression have been a bit all over the place and I’ve had a few breakdowns in the middle of the heightened stress period. My work friends have been surprisingly understanding recently when I’ve been crying all over the place and I’m so grateful to them for making my work days tolerable. When the pressure gets too much, I always have a friendly face telling me that I’m good at my job and that I can get through it. They have so much confidence in me and I have no idea why sometimes, but usually they are right and I need that push to get myself back on track.
I don’t get social anxiety in the same way I used to and I’ve changed a lot over the years. I used to dread leaving the house and didn’t make that many social plans, because of my anxiety. Whereas now, making a commitment to go out can actually shake me out of a bad mental health day and spending time with my friends is one of the best forms of self care in my life. It could be after work drinks to celebrate surviving another week or going to concerts with my friends or hanging out at my best friend’s house watching netflix with her dog. I like to always have something to look forward to that isn’t too far away. Next weekend I’m going on a night out for a friend of a friend’s birthday, so that will get me through the first week back at work after my Easter holidays.
For me, it’s all about looking at the positives when the negative thoughts strike, however small that positive might be, and the majority of the positives in my life come from the people I surround myself with. I really don’t think I could do it without them.