Today is Time to Talk day organised by Time to Change. It aims to get people talking about mental health. So I figured I would write about why I didn’t talk about my mental health for 7 years and the difference it made when I finally told a friend.
I was 14 when my anxiety started. I’m still not sure what triggered it but I guess I had always been a nervous person from a young age. I didn’t know what was happening to me but I was adamant that I had to hide it from everyone until it went away. No one could find out, I had to act “normal”. What if people did find out? What if they thought I was weird? What if my friends and family turned away from me? What if I was taken away to a mental hospital? So many “what ifs?”. So I hid my problems from everyone, I avoided certain situations and told myself that soon things would go back to normal. They didn’t. I was young and naive and just wanted to fit in. Eventually I realised that I wasn’t going to wake up one day and magically be cured. So I muddled on as best I could.
When I was 21 I worked up the courage to tell a close friend. I asked her to meet me in a coffee shop. I remember the knot in my stomach as I sat opposite her and started to explain. My mouth was dry, my hands clammy and shaky as I finished and waited for her reaction. Will she think I’m weird? Will this change our relationship? As it turned out, it did change our relationship but for the better. She was very supportive and it was such a weight from my shoulders knowing that there was someone I could confide in.
This is why Time to Talk day is so important! People need to know that there is no shame in having a mental health condition. 1 in 4 people will be effected at some point so why do we feel like such a minority? There is no need to hide. Its Time To Talk.