Mental Health Awareness Week - What can you do if you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed?

Mental Health Awareness Week - What can you do if you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed?

 13 May 2021

    Employee Wellbeing,
    Mental Health

Feeling the affects of stress or finding yourself anxious about current situations?  Lets be honest, life in the 21st century is tough.  There are so many expectations on us all to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’, own a nice house, be successful in our career, provide nourishment for our children, give them all the opportunities they want to explore and find time for ourselves somehow.  Now more than ever we are under unprecedented pressure coming out of the pandemic, loss of loved ones, financially, emotionally, work worries.

Stress and anxiety can be felt in many different ways.  The most acute being suicidal thoughts and breakdowns, even feeling anger is a symptom of depression which at the time for me, I didn’t realise was part of my post-natal depression.  In both men and women, we experience a myriad of symptoms, and some very physical, heart racing, pain in strange places, inability to think clearly, mood changes, constant worrying, crying all the time for no reason, feeling angry, sad, that there is no hope, everything is joyless.

One thing that sticks in my mind is wanting people to notice that I wasn’t OK and offering help.  I think they did a bit, but no one was being honest or direct with me, and danced around the issue.  They were probably too worried they would upset me or make it worse somehow.  It took a long time to admit that I really did need help as when people asked if I was OK, I said I was, but really felt like I was screaming and suffocating inside.  By this time, I was in despair.

I should say here that I am not a doctor nor have a medical background, but speak from the heart of the personal mental health experiences that I have lived through and what I have learned from it all.

How to manage stress;

  • First and most important point to note is that you are NOT alone, weird or crazy.  So many people are experiencing similar issues
  • First step is to talk about it.  This is not a taboo subject anymore and more people than you realise are feeling the same way
  • Talk, talk, talk.  Get it off your chest and do NOT bottle up your feelings
  • If you feel unable to talk to your family, talk to a neutral party.  All of the links below are confidential and a safe place to be open with how you are feeling
  • There will be tears, but that is great, tears are emotional releases.  It may hurt but they need to flow if they start, so see them as a part of the healing process
  • Tell your friends and family how you feel, you will be surprised at how they probably didn’t know, and how much they love you
  • Be honest with your employer.  Many more employers now have mental health first aiders or have their own resources to put you in touch with
  • If it’s a work related stress, its even more important to be honest with your employer.  How can you get help if you don’t ask – your employer may not even know you are suffering as its all too easy to say ‘I’m fine’ when you really are not
  • You can access counselling and talking therapies yourself without the need to see a GP
  • Talk to your GP to talk through the options of help available to you
  • Do not wait to try and access medical help, put your hand up now!  The sooner you realise you are struggling, get help.  You might be able to change negative feelings and thought patterns a bit more easily before they get worse

There are self referral services available for you and organisations you can reach out to that will give you sound advice and coping mechanisms;

Mental Health Awareness week is the perfect time to really check in with yourself and be honest about how you are feeling.

Its OK to not be OK and the key message is please don’t be afraid to reach out for the help you need whether it be a little support, somewhere to offload or full blown crisis, there is so much support available for you. 

We must all must remain strong and positive.  If you are not suffering yourself, be a human being, not a human doing, look out for your friends, family and colleagues.  You never know whose path you might cross that really needed that friendly ear to share and you might just be that ray of hope in the gloom.


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