I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while so what better day than World Mental Health Day. K, X and V are missing because there were no obvious choices!
Also there are a few mental health resources at the bottom of this post if you’re looking for support or more info!
A is for Antipsychotics
If you’ve never heard of them then being put on antipsychotics can sound really scary. They can be used for psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression and can be really beneficial for those that need them.
B is for Better
It can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There will be good day and bad days but you with the right support you will get better.
C is for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of talking therapy that focuses on changing the way you think by transforming your negative thoughts into positive ones. It’s most commonly used in anxiety and depression and has been proven to be as effective as medication. You can undertake CBT with a healthcare practitioner or with self-help materials.
D is for Diet
Changing how you eat can have huge results in improving your mental health. Eating healthy foods and staying hydrated is really important in keeping energy levels up. If you’re constantly snacking on unhealthy treats it can make you feel lethargic and stop you from finding motivation to get better. Equally it’s totally okay to eat unhealthy snacks from time to time!
E is for Energy
If you have a mental health disorder you might find that you don’t have as much energy as you used to. Firstly, that’s okay! Mental health issues are exhausting so make sure to listen to your body – if you’re tired then sleep!
F is for Friends
Lots of people isolate themselves when their mental health is bad and one of the most common phrases I’ve heard is that they don’t want their friends and family to see them like that. But what if you saw one of your friends not being themselves. Wouldn’t you want to be there for them and support them? If you have good friends they will always understand.
G is for Goals
Setting yourself goals is a really good way to stay motivated and improve mental wellbeing. On the worst days set yourself small goals like Today I will make a cup of tea and on your good days the possibilities are endless for the goals you can set for yourself!
H is for Hearing Voices
Hearing voices is a common symptom of psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and even some more severe cases of depression. It’s also something 25% of the population experiences and most of these are not mentally unwell. For some people these might not be threatening voices whereas for others it can be an extremely scary experience. If you are hearing voices that cause you concern talk to your GP or someone you feel confident sharing this with.
I is for Individual
Every single person is different and therefore every single presentation of mental illness is different too. It can be hard for people to understand your presentation of something when it doesn’t look the same way as the media portray it. This is why we have to fight stigma to make sure that each of our individual portrayals of mental health disorders are given the right attention.
J is for Judgement
We all make judgements and sometimes these judgements relate to people with mental illnesses. We might judge people with eating disorders to be attention seeking or think that those with Borderline Personality Disorder are ‘bad’ people. We don’t do this to people with physical illnesses so let’s not with mental health!
L is for Lonely
Feeling alone is common when you have a mental health disorder. But what’s important to remember is that you’re not alone. There are lots of resources and services that can help (I’ve left them down below!) It can be really easy to isolate yourself when you’re feeling bad but trying to meet a friend for coffee or having someone come over and visit you can be really beneficial.
M is for Medication
Sometimes medication is treated like a naughty word in regard to mental health but for some it’s a miracle worker. Depending on your diagnosis your doctor will work with you to find a medication that suits you whether this is a short or long term solution. Regardless, medication for mental illness should not be a taboo!
N is for Numbness
In my post Depression: How Are You Feeling? I asked people to describe their depression. An overwhelming amount of the answers talked about feeling numb which is a common symptom of depression. If you’re feeling like this talk to your GP.
O is for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that causes people to become preoccupied with obsessions and compulsions. To learn more check out Nicole’s post An Open Letter to OCD.
P is for Personality Disorders
In my opinion, personality disorders attract some of the worst stigma when it comes to mental health. The lovely Beth from Adventure and Anxiety wrote this fabulous guest post on her personality disorder which you can check out here.
Q is for Questions
Whether you’ve just received a diagnosis, you’ve had a mental illness for years or a friend or a family member is dealing with mental health issues, chances are you’ve got a lot of questions. It’s totally okay to feel confused and not know what to do. To ease some of these questions there are plenty of services in the list down below for more info and support.
R is for Recovery
Sometimes recovery can seem miles away from where we are now, but it’s important to remember that recovery is a process. Recovery is about getting you to a place in your life where you feel in control to be able to achieve your goals.
S is for Self-Harm
Self-harm is extremely common but also hugely stigmatised. Often self harm involves cutting of the skin but it can also include burning, punching, hair pulling and lots more. You can read Alice’s from invocati.co.uk guest post here.
T is for Terminology
I think this is a really important one. On my course I hear acronyms thrown around all the time: UTI, CPA, CC. It’s confusing for service users and their friends and family. There is so much mental health terminology that makes it difficult for people to understand the real meaning behind professional’s words. By speaking about mental health more openly we will hear terms more frequently out in the open which will make things less confusing as a result.
U is for Useless
Feeling useless is a common issue when dealing with a mental illness. Maybe you’re waiting on a diagnosis so you don’t feel like you can make any progress or maybe some days you just can’t get out of bed so you feel like you’re useless to everyone. First things first, that’s not true. Make a list of the things you can do and you might feel a tiny bit better.
W is for Wellbeing
I’m a huge advocate for positive mental wellbeing. For me wellbeing is about feeling confident and happy in yourself and focusing on doing activities that help you to feel this way. To create my own positive wellbeing I like to listen to music, indulge in bubble baths and get frequent exercise. Try to think of small steps you can take to create good mental wellbeing for yourself.
Y is for You
This is what this is all about isn’t it? Whether it’s what you can do to help break down stigma or what you can do to help yourself. Your mental health is about you!
Z is for Z Z Z
Sleep is really important! Each mental disorder comes with its own sleep related symptoms. If you have anxiety, you struggle to fall asleep as night. Equally if you have depression you might find that you’re sleeping all the time. Get into a routine and be aware that you need good quality sleep to feel good! Check out my post on getting a better night’s sleep here.