Let’s Talk

This is a tricky one to write, which is exactly why I feel I need to do it. It’s definitely not for pity, it’s just something I genuinely feel very strongly about. Writing has always been cathartic for me, so I decided that I need to talk about it.

Why is it so hard to say when you’re not well, mentally? It feels like an admission of guilt. Even in 2017, with far more widespread discussion of the subject than ever before, it still feels like something dirty or nasty that you shouldn’t be speaking out loud. Once, I broke my leg, and I’m quite happy to tell you about it (it’s actually a funny story, but that’s one for another day). I’m lactose intolerant and have psoriasis on my scalp, none of which are exactly glamorous, yet I’d far rather talk about that than anything to do with my brain. Heck, I’m even more comfortable talking about the (thankfully benign) lump in my breast I found last year than sharing my mental diagnoses.

Not-your-average blogger ‘what’s in my bag’.

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I’ve suffered from depression, and been treated for it over a series of years. I suffer from anxiety, something that I deal with on a daily basis. More recently, and the one that’s been the real kicker – I’ve started treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. The quite frustrating thing is that I didn’t realise what it was and so ignored it for far longer than I could have done. I rather naively thought OCD involved counting street numbers and not stepping on certain paving slaps and washing your hands a million times a day and being neat and tidy. That is sadly a reality for some people, but the disorder is far broader than that. It turns out there is a massive, frustrating stigma of generalisation out there and online, to the point where it covers up the real issues that many people face, which in turn makes it less known and less understood.

I thought it was just a bit of the anxiety I’d grown used to showing it’s ugly head when I’m convinced every morning that my house has caught fire because I left the oven, toaster and my curling wand on. I thought it was normal to just have to nip back inside from the car to triple check the back door was locked, you know, I’m just being cautious right? When you’ve driven ten minutes down the road but have to turn the car around because even though you saw the oven was off, it might have switched itself on and everything you love will burn if you don’t go back. Having to set your alarm earlier to get up and ready in the mornings, to allow enough time to double, triple, quadruple check that everything is safe, to eventually make it out of the house, but not without an unpleasant feeling of unease. Thankfully, I’m now realising that not everyone feels sick until lunchtime that your loved ones are trapped in a burning house, and that you don’t necessarily always have to feel that way.

Again, I’m not telling you this for pity, I wanted to share. It’s hard to talk about, so yeah, let’s talk about it. As a teenager, in the midst of a fairly tricky situation involving A levels and a recent diagnoses of ME/CFS, it was fairly difficult to accept diagnoses of depression and anxiety, to the point where I couldn’t say the ‘d’ word out loud. I still can’t sometimes. I understand that personal issues are difficult to talk about, but I still don’t really understand why mental health is such a difficult subject to speak about out loud. It is however getting easier. More people are talking, and I’m so grateful for everyone with a platform and a voice to speak out who is using it to share their experiences, every single story shared makes the whole thing that little bit more normal, moving ever so slightly closer to it becoming more of an accepted subject.

Not talking about mental health isn’t just a problem when it comes to sharing your story though. Not talking about it makes it harder to realise, recognise, understand and accept, which in turn delays and postpones treatments making things harder for those suffering. I am very lucky that I have a close unit that I can talk to about how I’m feeling, but even with that took me months and months before I realised that what was going on in my brain would require some extra help. If we talked openly about our thoughts, feelings and minds, it would be easier to spot when something isn’t right. In today’s world and climate, it’s become normal and accepted to feel stressed, mentally exhausted, worried and down. Yes, these are all emotions that are part of life and being an adult in our society, but it’s not normal for them to overrule. If this all sounds too familiar then I implore you to please, talk to someone. Talk to a friend, family member, or better yet your GP or Doctor. If your daily life is being affected by your mind not feeling right, it’s just as much an issue as any other medical problem. You wouldn’t accept if your leg wasn’t working properly for 4 months, you’d get it checked. If you’d had a stomach ache every day for 6 months, chances are you’d see someone to do something about it. You should be doing this for your mind too.

So please, if you feel you need it, call someone. Talk to someone. Book that appointment. Speak out, and don’t keep it to yourself.

So that’s my two cents on the matter, and this is just me letting you know where I’m at. An explanation if I’m struggling to write or get words out, as with all mental issues and the joys of new medication, brain fog runs rife and writing gets difficult. I’m still here though, and will be back as and when I can. Thank you for reading.

  • So sorry you are going through this. Talking about it is definitely a good thing.

  • I think some people don’t realise that mental illness is as real of an illness as physical illness is. People that don’t have mental illnesses often don’t understand that it’s not a choice, that you can’t simply “relax” or “make yourself happy.” I think it’s important for people to share their personal experiences, so that those who haven’t come to realise theirs can have their experiences validated when the people around them brush it aside 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I suffered from OCD when I was 14 years old, but mine was about time and schedules. I would have to do everything at an exact time (down to the second) or I was convinced something awful would happen to my family. For example, I would have to go to bed at 8.32pm and so would my sister, and if she refused I would have dreadful panic attacks – which as you can imagine caused me to suffer from insomnia too. Unfortunately I didn’t get help for a very long time, and my parents were unsympathetic (my mum would throw ice cold water on me to “snap me out of it”). I wish I had spoken to someone about it and not wasted years of my life living in misery. I’m so glad that you have a strong support network around you, and even though I’m a total stranger if you ever need to talk just drop me an email! I believe that you can overcome it, I did and now I’m living a fairly normal life (just need to kick that social anxiety!) 🙂 xx

    http://www.fridayfaye.com

  • Thanks for sharing this. As someone who suffers from a lot of the same things, I can’t remember the last day I wasn’t anxious and panic attacks have become a companion again, I know it’s tough. But talking about it is definitely a good and necessary thing. Good luck with getting better, it can and will happen for you

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • You are so brave and have such a eloquent way of sharing your heart. Thank you!

  • Thanks for sharing Carrie. I too struggle with anxiety, I have my ups and downs and overall it’s not a nice experience as sometimes it can affect my work or stop me from doing the things I want to do. As you say the best thing you can do for yourself is talk about it and that’s what I’ve learnt to do when I feel like my anxiety has come back again. I also find writing things down really helps too and reading others experiences such as yourself. I wish you all the best! 🙂

    Kayleigh | anenthusiasmfor.blogspot.co.uk

  • Cat

    Thank you for writing. The more people who write about mental health, the more it will become acceptable to talk about it, identify it and seek help. Thank you for writing about it although It may be costly to you to do so. I understood depression better after reading of different people’s experience, particularly ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’, by Matt Haig which is very accessible and worth a read if you haven’t already. Kindest thoughts with you whilst times are tricky.

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I’m currently and have been going through a similar thing for the past couple of years. I hugely struggle talking about it and tend to hide it by just saying I’m unwell as a lot of people don’t seem to understand that you can be mentally ill and not all problems are physical. It’s so important to have a close network of people you can talk to and I’m so glad to hear that you have. Thank you again for opening up about it, very proud! xx

  • amelia may

    You’re so brave and strong to share your struggles and also for taking the invaluable steps to take care of your mind. I empathise with you, and I hope each day gets a little easier than the last. Very best wishes to you in everyway. Xxx take good care xx

    Keep Calm and start writing –
    http://www.23millymay25.blogspot.co.uk

  • Loved this post. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing this with us! Love you Carrie xx

    http://www.petiteelliee.com

  • Absolutely love this post, I believe its so important to share mental health struggles in order for other people to feel comfortable sharing their own – thank you for being brave and sharing yours Carrie. I personally suffer with anxiety and low mood and know how difficult daily life can be, and getting help was one of the best things I did!

    Lucy | Forever September

  • Amen to everything you said! Mental illness is till such a taboo subject and it shouldn’t be, it’s important to speak about these things and to make people aware of them! I hope things get a bit easier for you and wish you all the best! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  • Lillie Walden

    Thanks for sharing your story on a very important subject ❤

  • Mignon

    Loved this post. Not many are brave enough to speak about a topic as important and personal as this and that has got to change and you´ve made a brilliant start!

    http://snufjk.blogspot.com.ee/

  • Yes it is so important to talk about mental illness! Especially ones that aren’t as recognised and more stigmatised/generalised like OCD. A great read 🙂

    The Quirky Queer

  • Amazing of you to share this, I’m sure this will be helpful to so many people. Mental health affects everyone, whether it’s yourself or a family member or friend. We all need reminding that it’s so important to raise awareness and tell people to speak out.

    Hannah | Oh January

  • Ms. Ainee C. Beland

    lovely and thank you for sharing.

  • So proud of you for being brave enough to write about such a personal topic. Thanks for writing this post.

  • Charlotte

    Carrie- Thank you for sharing this with the world! Such an important message to get out and so good to get people more comfortable with talking about this kind of stuff Xxxxxx

  • Carrie this was such a brave post and so well written! It’s so important that we talk more about mental health issues. I hope you’re doing better and that the new medication is helping <3

    Lynnsay x
    http://www.sartorialscot.com

  • The more people that share their experiences the more accepting and understanding people will become. Thank you for sharing your experiences x

  • I think you’re really courageous for sharing how you’re handling your mental health with us, and I’m sure your post might even have helped lots of readers already. Whether that’s because it’s prompted them to take action with something, or to be a little more mindful and aware of how they’re feeling, or simply to just better understand how their friends and family might be feeling/living right now.

    I hope the treatment you’re recieving right now helps you. 🙂

    Flora

    http://www.theeverchanginghome.com

  • Love, love, love this post! I suffer from depression and anxiety. I went through a breakup last November, and 3 months later I am still struggling to get past it. I know it’s harder for me because I do suffer from anxiety and depression. And, it’s definitely something hard for me to talk about.

  • Bee

    Thanks for posting this! It’s so problematic that many people don’t consider mental health to be as important as physical health, but I’m confident that we can change that by sharing our stories.

    Briana
    http://www.youngsophisticate.com

  • I’m glad you wrote this post. I think in the blogging world it’s become acceptable to speak out and talk about mental health. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have quite happened as much in the real world.
    Though, your post really got me thinking. When I was younger I went through an awful “phase” of thinking my house was on fire all the time. I would touch my door knob to check if it was hot before I opened my bedroom door in the morning. I did things like that all the time. I was always paranoid that people were breaking into my house. I’m not like that now and I haven’t thought about it in years. I’m not saying I had OCD. But it’s interesting that behaviours like this could be linked to mental health disorders. It’s not something I ever would have put together so I’m glad you have spoken about it. Hopefully this will help somebody else. All the best xx

    Melanie Sylvia

  • Amy

    I can relate to this post so much. I too, suffer from depression and anxiety and have done for five + years. What you’ve said about the OCD though, I completely agree, I will often go somewhere and have to turn back at the bottom of my street to make sure that I have, as you said, check the door is locked or make sure the oven is off. I haven’t been diagnosed as having OCD but we seem to be experiencing the same things. I’ve just found your blog and I love your courage to speak out on the matter.

  • Thanks for writing this! I completely agree that people should talk and talk and then talk some more about mental health. I think it is one of the things the blogging community is best at – I often feel alone and ridiculous with my lurking panic attacks, and one of the things (alongside therapy, exercise and meditation) that has helped me is seeing all these women I admire all over the Internet living lovely lives with a mental health problem. That you can still be witty, creative and see the world as a wonderful place, even when you are managing a mental health problem. Thanks so much for adding your story. Ps. You might enjoy Mad girl by Bryony Gordon, who suffers from OCD and related anxiety and depression. It is hilarious, and makes you feel the opposite of alone with all of this.

  • Diana Maria

    This is such a beautifully written post and it’s so brave of you to share this. I completely agree that we should talk about mental health much more, there shouldn’t be such a stigma lingering! I too deal with anxiety and don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of. We all have challenges we face, and talking about it does make it easier to accept, understand, and treat. I wish you all the best with everything, thank you for this post xx

    My Lovelier Days

  • Ester Barrios

    You are so right Carrie. When somebody suffers from a physical illness everybody assumes is not their fault, however when it is a mental issue I feel like they put the blame on the person suffering, as if it was something they can avoid easily. I don’t know how to explain my point by I agree with you 100% and I hope you are doing a little better everyday. Hugs from France 🙂

  • You are so right. I also got diagnosed with OCD this past year, and I think the most prominent feeling I had about it was that I was sorry I hadn’t realized it much sooner. Life could’ve been a lot easier and a lot better! But I’m grateful to know now and to have the help I need. It was so brave and honest of you to share this post, and I really admire it!