Living with a mental health issue can feel very isolating. It can be challenging to relate to those around you and you might struggle to explain why this is. I know talking about your experience can feel overwhelming and scary, but with more Australians dying from suicide every year than skin cancer*, and anxiety being the most common mental health condition in Australia**, it’s so, so important to open up about anxiety and your mental health.
Whether you talk to a friend, family member or professional first, taking that first step to talk about what you’re thinking and feeling with someone else can be liberating.
Talking to a mental health professional for me was the first time I felt like someone else got it. My therapist was able to give me the words that described and explained my thoughts and the way I felt, and that was life-changing.
But while my therapist understood my condition and was able to understand me on a theoretical level, she couldn’t relate on an individual, personal level, so you don’t have to stop there.
In my experience, the more I talk about my experience living with social anxiety, the more often I hear the words ‘me too’. When you find someone who can understand and relate to your experience on any level, no matter who they are, you’ll realise you’re not as weird or crazy or different as you’ve been thinking. There is something so powerful in that moment of recognition, because unless you’ve lived with a chronic mental health condition like social anxiety, you can’t really understand what it’s like.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, affecting one in three women and one in five men**.
There is no shame in what you’re experiencing and you’re not alone. It’s not your responsibility to educate others about the issues you face, but you do owe it to yourself to talk about your reality, even if only to a mental health professional. It will help.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the services you can reach out to:
- Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au
- Suicide Call Back Service– 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue– 1300 22 4636
- Make an appointment with your local GP, who can link you up with other health services and potentially set up a mental health care plan for you.
If you’re looking for inspiration or want to connect with others who live with anxiety, this blog is a great place to start. Shoot me a comment or private message – I’d love to hear from you!
More Australians die from suicide every year than skin cancer and suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians in the 15-44 age bracket.*