Give yourself a break. Take a step back. And remember to breathe.

Mental health and mental illness is a topic of conversation that is growing all the time. The more people who are brave and tell us about their own troubles, the more people feel comfortable in seeking help. The stats are remarkable. Many people see “an increase in anxiety and depression” as a sign of weakness in the millennial generation, but in reality it’s because more people are educated and are coming forward to seek help as a result.

Mental illness is not a sign of weakness.

I’ve been there. Indeed, I’ve been on every possible side of the mental health coin. I’ve suffered with depression, anxiety, addiction and even an episode of substance induced psychosis; an experience I don’t even remember. My Mother jumped off a cliff edge in Devon in an attempt to end her life, only to (thankfully) make a full recovery, both physically and mentally. I’ve even worked as a support worker on an acute psychiatric unit. I really have seen, experienced and felt it all.

Your own mental health is the most important aspect of your health. If you are of the same ilk as most of us, your mental health can be managed by developing a series of habits and being disciplined with them. Enjoy social media but remember that EVERYONE is filtering and trying to show that their life is as good as it can be, when in reality it rarely is. Your life is not going to be sorted by the time you reach your 20s. No one is expecting you to reach the top or become a millionaire by 25.

What I’m trying to say; is give yourself a break. Take a step back. And remember to breathe.

The world of mental health care is a subject that continues to be debated. There’s not enough funding, not enough staff, not enough facilities and the waiting list for treatments are obscene. There is a lot to do, but believe me when I say, once you can master your own mind and keep to good habits, the world is your oyster. There is no harder challenge than beating mental illness and when you do – or at least become able to manage it – there will be no challenge you’ll be unable to beat.

It’s a good feeling. It’s super tough; probably the toughest challenge out there, but keep at it. One day, you’ll look back and be proud.

Written by: Tom Carr

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