World Mental Health Day – you are not alone

The battle to destigmatise all forms of mental illness is never-ending. When I was younger, I was one of those people who were ashamed of not coping, mentally, with life in general.

Just over three years ago I was (again) diagnosed with clinical depression and social anxiety disorder. This time, unlike all the times before, I accepted that I need to be medicated and that I need help. And to ensure I get all the support necessary, I had to tell people about my depression and anxieties. I was afraid I might lose my job. But I didn’t. And I got better.

I still have days, weeks, months sometimes, when things are really difficult, and I cannot imagine getting out of bed, let alone getting through a day interacting with people normally as if everything was fine.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have some other resources to help me get through, other than my psychiatrist and psychologist. Maybe these could help you too.

Mental health reads

Hello, cruel world by Kate Bornstein
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig
The humans by Matt Haig
Big magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Rising strong by Brené Brown
Saved by cake by Marian Keyes

I also wrote about my own journey in one, two, three parts.

Mental health listens

These podcasts have helped me see beyond my own suffering. I am a firm believer that you don’t tell a depressed person that there are people worse off than them because you don’t know the state of their thoughts, and money can’t buy happiness (apparently). It can pay for treatment though, and that’s almost the same.

The Hilarious World of Depression
Terrible, thanks for asking (Grant gives me a lot of grief for listening to this one because of the raw and honest pain of these people. It does affect me and I often wonder how I would cope in such a situation. Nora helps to remind us that it’s OK to say no, I’m actually not OK.)
TED talk: How to connect with depressed friends
There are so many TED talks about depression, mental health in general and suicide, so I won’t list them all here.

And if you feel you need help, but don’t have the financial resources for private care, get in touch with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on Facebook and Twitter, or on 080 056 7567.

Remember: You are not alone. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Your life matters.

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