So this isn't really where I thought I saw this blog going to be honest but this is what I currently want to write about as it's probably the biggest part of my life right now.
Not so long ago you may well have read my blog post about how quizzes helped me cope with anxiety and depression. I'm almost going to undo that post a little by saying that whilst hosting has helped me in the past, there has come a point in my life where I need a little more than that in order to continue. Perhaps, now is a good time to point out something that gets mentioned a lot. You can never truly know what someone is going through, even by talking to them regularly.
When I host, I am an entertainer, I almost can host a quiz in auto-pilot now and not really even think about what I am doing at all. I can still, laugh, joke, banter with others but at the same time, right now you probably wouldn't know that I am going through serious mental health issues. I am currently struggling heavily with bouts of depression so strong, I am finding my temper and patience is all over the place and I am creating unreasonable arguments, almost for the sake of it. The fact of the matter is, I am embarrassed that this is happening to me but at the same time I am not ashamed of it. No more than you wouldn't be ashamed of having a cold or have a bad back. I would much rather we all spoke as openly about these issues as we do about other diseases.
Since I've had this, I have had various outbursts of frustration on social media, which are often a cry for help but at the same time, it's brought to my attention the vast array of people that have struggled or are currently struggling too, which I had no idea about either. Why is it that people hide these issues away? Has the stigma of being worried about being called an 'attention seeker' outweighed the ability to speak to someone frankly about the way you are feeling? Has social media faux-wall of imagery about peoples lives made us so vain that we no longer want to appear weak to others for fear of being branded a failure at life?
During a brief conversation with a friend of mine recently about these issues, it became apparent that it was actually quite therapeutic for someone in our state of mind to sit and write up what you achieved each week on something like Facebook, to let others know where you are at and what you are doing. I loved this idea and thought to myself, shouldn't that be what social media IS all about? Should that not be the best use of this tool we use every day? Actually letting people know what we have achieved and maybe more so, what we have not achieved but hope to improve upon later? Almost in a journalistic fashion? I mean what I am describing there is essentially blogging but wouldn't it be more interesting than the junk we scroll through every single day.
So what's been happening recently with myself? In a nut-shell, a lot. My dosage for medication is being constantly increased, I am currently setting up counselling for myself to attend and I have signed myself up to the gym and hoping to go three times a week. I have to come to terms with the fact that this is not going to be an over night thing, hell, it could take years but I need to keep trying to make things better or they will (and have been) getting worse.
What I want to see, going forward is people openly speaking about it more, like they have just been diagnosed with 'flu' or something similar. Making others aware around you can only make it easier on you for people to understand what you are going through. In doing so, I guarantee you will stumble across someone else who is going through the same as you, and maybe, along the way you will make some new friends out of it as well.
Depression is one of the biggest killers in the world, it's even worse in men due to the sheer fact that men will not talk about how they are feeling (well, most won't). I have been to two groups run by the wonderful charity, Mind and in two of those groups, how many men, other than myself, do you think I've encountered? One. Just one and even he wasn't there from the beginning of the course. It's horrible to think that there are men (and women) out there suffering. Ones that are too afraid to admit "i might be depressed", who think they can just beat it, or it will just go away on it's own. These also might be people who are behaving irrationally, but they are just being brandished as irrational people rather than treated as someone who needs genuine care and assistance.
If you ever suspect for one moment, that you might be depressed, or you've suffered depression but weren't entirely sure, OR you suspect someone you know is suffering but won't admit it, Google the symptoms of both anxiety and depression and see how well they match. You might just save your life, or even someone else's.