Howay man, get happy!

Hello everyone and welcome to my brand new blog: Howay Man Get Happy!

Happiness is a rather abstract term, it is difficult for me to pin down exactly what it means. For many people happiness is circumstantial, it is determined by having close friends and a family that loves you, being successful and in a good financial situation – I think we can all agree that these are things that most of us desire in life. However, I find myself at a point where I have amazing and supportive friends, a family that loves me, an incredible partner who is simultaneously my best friend, I have enough money for luxuries and a roof over my head and yet I am still not ‘happy’. As you can imagine this can be frustrating to say the least, and at times it takes all of my willpower not to throw myself down on the floor, like a bratty child in Asda who has just been denied sweets by a health-conscious parent, and shout “IT’S NOT FAIR, IT’S NOT FAIR!” So in this respect the title of my blog ‘Howay Man Get Happy’ is meant ironically – because for some people it’s just not that simple. Now I have come to a time in life where I understand my illness better: like it or not it is a part of me. I accept that it is there and that’s okay – but I will not let it control me or define who I am.

I have been mulling over the idea of starting a blog about my experiences with mental health for a few years now and I thought it was about time I bite the bullet and begin writing. I have suffered from a depressive disorder since childhood, to put it simply that means sometimes I get sad for no reason and I often suffer from long episodes of depression where I find it difficult to be happy. I believe there is a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes it difficult for me to feel happiness. I am sensitive and some things affect me emotionally more than they might affect other people. However, this doesn’t mean I can’t be happy. I am a cheerful person in my natural state and on my good days I am a complete optimist – although this can sometimes be clouded by my illness. Earlier this year I found my mental health deteriorating once again, which I admit has been pretty scary, and with the introduction to my new friends Mr. Panic Attack and Mrs. Generalised Anxiety the road to recovery has been as difficult as ever. I am hoping that through writing this blog I will be able to connect more with my own emotions and share the ups and downs of my quest to mental wellness. I am going to try and be as frank and honest about my experiences as I can be, so things might get a bit gritty at times but I’d love for you all to stick around for the ride.

My illness comes with no physical symptoms – I have no disfigured limbs, no facial swelling, no overbearing putrid odor – so people don’t always notice when I am not well. This is perhaps one of the reasons mental health problems are often swept under the rug. The shame and stigma attached to mental health can be detrimental to the recovery of individuals and destructive in our society. 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health problem every year and yet the majority of us know nothing about it. It is not taught in schools, it is not regularly monitored in young people and it is not talked about openly among friends and colleagues. The more we talk about mental health, the less we will regard it as a taboo subject and the less scary it will seem. The more we talk the more people will feel comfortable seeking help for their problems at earlier stages. The more we talk the more we will prevent mental illnesses from escalating to become a major risk to people’s mental and physical wellbeing. So that is the other main reason for me starting this blog – I want to be one of the many people who are starting conversations about mental health, breaking down the taboos and smashing the stigma to smithereens.

Wishing you all good mental health!

A

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