World Mental Health Day: Being The Victim of Stigma Negatively.

Today is October 10th also known as World Mental Health Day and I thought as part of the day that I would talk about my Anxiety as I have done previously on my blog as well as how being the victim of the stigma ruined chances for a positive social life.

It’s coming up to the fourth year anniversary when I first started to experience the symptoms of Anxiety. And the stigma was rapid from the start. People in and out of school all told me it was hormonal and just a general part of growing up, I don’t think crying yourself to sleep every night and having panic attacks where you simply can’t breathe well is normal at all. Things were getting worse when the bullying picked up, having a panic attack nearly everyday changed things for me. One supply teacher who knew darn well that I was having a panic attack simply told me to get a glass of water, sip it and then cheer up wearing a fake smile on my face as so not to attract attention. I was mortified. More so by that person’s actions towards me. It left me realizing that people weren’t seeing what I was seeing because they hadn’t experienced it for themselves.

College wasn’t much better, I was simply told to throw myself into my coursework and care more about my grades than my personal issues. I stopped eating some foods for a while in a bid to try and get myself sorted out but just as I turned eighteen this year, I knew that my mental health had taken a very serious turn for the worst.

Currently sitting here typing this, I feel ashamed. I mean, why is this happening to me and for so long? Was it my own stupidity or the actions from other people? Always having a low self-esteem and negative body image could have trigger things off all of those months ago. In my view, its too late for me to try and get any professional help, counselling for just under a year didn’t work. So that’s why I am passionate about helping others before it gets too late to seek help.

Up until last year, I wouldn’t talk about my anxiety or sometimes unsettling thoughts but after someone I knew from school told me to shut-up and not talk about mental health and share my experiences to the community online and offline, my response was, “No, I won’t be shut-up or made to feel shamed as a silent person, I will talk!” And that is my attitude now. If people don’t want to support me or allow me to talk about my mental health challenges, they can go and lump it.

This article about a girl I saw today on the BBC talks about her experiences with Bulimia and just like her, I was simply told to cheer up whenever I had a panic attack. Here’s the article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37547497

There are mornings when I wake up and the first thing I think about is something bad that happened between myself and another person. I criticise myself a lot, not really accepting compliments well. My aim at the moment is to try and make people realize that mental health is an important topic for discussion and judging anyone is NOT OK.

If you know someone who has a mental health issue and/was the victim of stigma, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading, this post was difficult to type up.

Alice x

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