World Mental Health Day 2014

10 Oct

Hello everyone!

How are we all? It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and usually my blog would be something related to media or music but today is a special day. It’s world mental health day so I thought it would be important to talk about mental health!

Ooh yes, I went there! It’s the scary label that a lot of us like to avoid. It’s a stigma that sadly not a lot of people understand, but I think as a society, we’re getting there and campaigns from charities like Mind UK are spreading the message.

I think the key to understanding mental health is to talk openly about it and that’s what I’m gonna do today. I’m going to share my story and if it can help just one person out there and make them feel less alone then that’s my job done!

So my story started when I moved away from home and began university three years ago. I left the lovely valleys of South Wales and headed 3 and a half hours away to Derby. It was an exciting time to start off with and I remember making the most of uni life when ‘freshers fortnight’ came about. Constant partying and drinking seemed to be the thing to do! It was a whirlwind couple of weeks and I met so many different people. At the time, I never took a moment to let it all sink in and it wasn’t until that moment happened that everything started crashing around me.

All of a sudden, I felt this utter dread,sadness and anger. During the period of adapting to a new chapter of life, I realised that it wasn’t what I thought it would be. My hazy blurred vision started to become a lot clearer. I really wasn’t enjoying my university course and I think I struggled with being quite far from home. Nothing made me feel happy where I was and I was living in an environment that was full of negativity and toxicity. Little things kept going wrong – like my phone getting stolen or not getting the grade I wanted on an essay. The littlest things used to make me feel so frustrated. These spiralling thoughts played over and over again in my head and it got to the point where I turned to self harm to somehow ‘release’ those thoughts.

Self harm is such a complex issue and I don’t think anyone can truly understand it unless they’ve gone through it themselves or have thoroughly researched the topic. Most would find it crazy to understand why you’d take a sharp object to your wrists to purposely cut yourself. Most wouldn’t understand what you’d gain from that but at the time, as someone who was doing it, it just felt like the right thing to do. It wasn’t an ‘attention seeking’ act like most people like to describe it. It was a coping mechanism, although truthfully, probably deep down, it was a cry for help.

In a similar way to an eating disorder or an addiction, it’s something that consumes your mind and a little voice inside your head tells you ‘go on, just do it, you’ll feel better’, when in fact you end up in this vicious cycle of harming, crying, feeling guilty, feeling depressed about it all and then subsequently repeating it all over again. That’s how it was for me anyway.

The absolute guilt that came from it was massive. I felt such shame and so stupid about doing it but it was something that I didn’t have under control so I kept doing it. My mind was not in a strong enough place to recognize the harm I was doing to myself.

For me, it got to the lowest point where one night I decided that I’d try and take my own life. It was an irrational,unplanned and drunken decision that I regret to this day and it’s something that thankfully didn’t succeed. To this day I stillΒ have thoughts about it and it’s always going to be a part of my life that will be engrained into my memory. It was certainly the worst thing that I’ve gone through but it made me the strongest that I’ve ever been in a weird way.

It was almost as if I awoke from the crazy dream world that I was living in before and I just snapped out of it. It was like a strange awakening where I just thought ‘holy crap, what just happened? What did I just do? What have I been doing and where have I been?’

My family knowing about everything that had happened was truly embarrassing for myself as I’d kept it hidden from them for a few months but once I spoke to it about them, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

It’s now something that I’m very open about if someone wants to talk about it. It’s not exactly something that I shout across the rooftops if I meet someone for the first time and say “oh hey I’m Megan and I used to self harm!” but it’s something that I feel is really important to share. The proudest moment for me was a couple of months ago when my voice featured on BBC Radio 1’s ‘The Surgery’ show where snippets of me talking about self harm was broadcast across the nation! The fact that I got to use my voice and experiences to hopefully help others was so empowering.

Ever since those fateful days in my first year of university, I’ve come on leaps and bounds. I left Derby and transferred to a different university closer to home. I completed my degree by getting a 2:1 and won an award for the outstanding student of the year on my course. I stopped drinking for a long time and really tried to take care of my wellbeing. I did spend a lot of time alone but it was valuable time needed to really process everything. I certainly never predicted these things happening in the future and it’s been a massive stepping stone in my life.

Talking about what happened made me understand why I felt the way I did and that it’s totally ok to feel the way I did. Self harm definitely isn’t the way you should deal with your issues in a healthy way and that’s something I came to understand but I know that it’s ok not to be ok. Depression and anxiety is something that I still deal with now. I’ve had panic attacks more recently and I go through phases of depression but I always come out stronger the other end. I’ve spoken to my parents and friends about things like the panic attacks and they are very understanding.

And this is why I think it’s so important that people talk more openly about their struggles or their story. I’ve read so many amazing blog posts and watched so many vlogs on YouTube in the past few days that have truly inspired me to tell my story.

This is an issue that needs to involve everyone and by becoming a community that are willing to help and to spread the message is what it’s all about.

So if by any chance someone does come across this (rather lengthy,sorry!) blog post and can gain just a bit of positivity or inspiration from it then do the same thing if you feel brave enough.

Share your story, use the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay or just share a smile with someone who may look like they’re having a bad day. Do an act of kindness,count your blessings and stay strong!

Cor blimey, I think that’s enough of the deep stuff for one day!

Thank you to anyone who reads this and have a fabulous day πŸ™‚

Chow for now x

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2 Responses to “World Mental Health Day 2014”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mens health: Movember! | Megan Wigley-Jones - November 23, 2014

    […] you may know from my previous blogs, I’m a major advocate for all things mental health but something that I don’t think […]

  2. Mental Health: Be Wise With Your Words. | Megan Wigley - February 21, 2016

    […] very personal story of my own regarding the struggles I’ve had with my mental health. (click here to read) Self harm and suicide is a really sensitive topic for myself so it really gets to me when […]

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