Because being informed about mental illness is the first step in effectively managing it.
You may think that you’re all alone in the way you’re feeling but more people suffer from anxiety than you may think. It is estimated that 1 in 9 people will be effected by the disorder in their lifetime. Chances are some of your mates have dealt with it themselves or know someone who has, so don’t be afraid to confide in them about how you’re feeling.
Mental health advocate and The Voice judge Bressie has made it his mission to stop the stigma associated with mental health. “I still deal with anxiety every day,” he told The Independent. “It’s just part of my life and I’ve accepted that. I let it happen, I tell myself it will pass and it does. I believe it gives me an edge. Nothing will ever be as difficult as what I have had to deal with.” J.K. Rowling, Demi Lavato and Jim carey are just some of the celebs who have also spoken about their mental health struggles publicly.
You know when you’re having a bad day and all you want to do is crawl under the duvet and turn your mind off by watching something on television? Well, although you may not feel like it at the time, it’s important to get how you’re feeling off your chest. Whether its your mum, sister or bestie, talking about it to someone will make you feel ten times better. A study has shown that 86% of Irish people with mental health problems found talking to someone very helpful.
There has always been a stigma attached to mental health in Ireland and although the stigma is fading it doesn’t mean our own insecurities about it are. If you had a broken arm, would you consider yourself weak and tell your arm to cop on and get over it? No. So why would you feel like that if you’re suffering from anxiety? Suffering from anxiety is just like struggling with any other illness and you need to remember that. The tools you learn to deal with anxiety will help make you a stronger, happier person.
The thought of talking about your anxiety to someone that’s not close to you is daunting, we know, but doctors deal with issues like this on a daily basis. They will be able to help you choose a course of treatment that’s right for you. There are a range of treatment options available; from anti-anxiety medication to a course of CBT therapy.
You can practise breathing exercises, being mindful and healthy eating but STELLAR staffer Victoria found the ‘Grounding 5,4,3,2,1,method’ to be most effective for her, “When I felt that familiar uneasy feeling coming on, I put the technique to the test,” she explains. “I spent about five minutes focusing on what was around me, looking for the things I could see, feel and hear in the moment, before following up with one thing I liked about myself. Gradually, as I distracted myself from feeling anxious, I started to feel the tension lift and feel more calm.”
According to science, the neurotransmitter serotonin plays a role in our responsiveness to stress and anxiety, and evidence has shown that the male brain processes the neurotransmitter a lot quicker than the average female brain. Recent research has also suggested that women are more sensitive to low levels of CRF (a hormone that organises stress responses in people), making women twice as likely to suffer from the illness than men.
When you are suffering from anxiety it can often feel very lonely and debilitating, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but trust us, it’s there. Asking for help is one of the hardest yet most beneficial things you can do. There are so many treatment options out there, you just need to find the one that’s right for you. If you’re really struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel and don’t want to tell anyone you know, give the Samaritans a call on 116 123.
By Laura Somers.