I Am Not Ashamed – Social Anxiety

* At the bottom of this post you will find a link to a list of Mental Health & Illness charities/support services should you need help or information.

This post was previously published (2016) on my personal Facebook page . The weeks leading up to it had been tough, I was really struggling and this marked a turning point for me. After sharing it I received a lot of private messages, some from people I knew and some from strangers, they shared their stories with me. Some of those people had never openly discussed their experience with a mental illness before and they told me that reading my post and seeing the amazing, positive responses from my family and friends encouraged them to talk and share and realise that there were resources available to them.

I can’t magically make people ‘better’, I don’t have all the answers, I still have bad days and I’m only writing from my own experiences. But if there is even the most infinitesimal chance that re-posting this here could help one more person, to make them feel less alone or provide them with some information on where to get help or to give an insight to someone with no first hand experience of mental illness, then it’s worth it.

‘Underlying social anxiety disorder or social phobia is the fear of being scrutinized, judged, or embarrassed in public. You may be afraid that people will think badly of you or that you won’t measure up in comparison to others. And even though you probably realize that your fears of being judged are at least somewhat irrational and overblown, you still can’t help feeling anxious.’

StepphhSays Social Anxiety

These two photographs were taken recently. On the right – the standard selfie! My hair game is strong and I felt good.
On the left – yesterday morning in the middle of a panic attack. It had been building for a few days. I couldn’t bring myself to shower or dress myself.
Nausea
Trembling
Sweating
Crying
Racing heart.

I am not alone in this, 1 in 5 young Irish people are currently battling a mental illness. Research carried out by the HSE showed that 62% of people would still not be comfortable telling people (family/friends/professionals) that they have a mental illness and would prefer to keep it a secret.

I’ve always been open about having a mental illness. While it isn’t the entirety of who I am, it is a big part of me. Experiencing an anxiety disorder first hand has taught me a lot about myself and the society we live in. It has helped shape the woman I am.

If you have (or think you might have) a mental illness please don’t hesitate to speak out. Talk to your family and friends. Tell a teacher, a lecturer or tutor. Make an appointment to see your GP. Keep speaking until someone listens. Do not give up.

There is no shame in having and seeking treatment for a mental illness.

I have wonderful family, friends, classmates and tutors who do their absolute best to support me and understand when I’m going through a difficult time but they only know how to do this because I’ve been open with them. There will always be people who say nasty things, who refuse to educate themselves – fuck them! (sorry for swearing mam!) Those people don’t matter.

We need to keep talking about this until it is treated the same as any other illness.

I have a mental illness.
I am capable of achieving my goals.
I have a mental illness.
I am still a loving daughter, sister, girlfriend, aunty and friend.
I have a mental illness.
I am NOT ashamed.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger please call 112 or go to your nearest hospital.

For more information and support please visit:
www.sosadireland.ie 
www.aware.ie
www.pieta.ie
www.spunout.ie
ie.reachout.com

Or call Samaritans free on 116123

Both www.yourmentalhealth.ie and www.alustforlife.com weren’t included in my original post but they are both fantastic websites and I can’t recommend them enough.

I won’t often ask you to share something, if you find a post interesting & want to share then that’s great (and thank you!) but on this occasion I am asking outright:

Please, PLEASE, share this post.

Thanks,

Steph.

Click here for help/info

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