Let's Talk About Mental Health

I am extremely happy with my life. I do what I love every single day and I’m surrounded by a small but solid network of family and friends. I’m fit and healthy and, on the big scale of things, there is nothing in the world I want or need beyond what I already have.

So why does a constant knot of dread hover in the pit of my stomach and possess so much power me?

Honestly, I don’t know. Anxiety manifests differently in each of us. At its best, it exists as a quiet yet relentless whisper - dull but incessant and actually quite irritating because I can’t tune it out.

Sometimes (and for no apparent reason) it can quickly rise up into a giant roar and that’s when it knocks me for six. At its worst, the sense of blind panic is so fierce and urgent that my chest tightens, my body burns and I struggle to catch breath. My thinking becomes increasingly irrational and I’m scared by it all.

Anxiety is exhausting. It pushes me to forget the contentment I feel and leads me question and doubt everything about myself, my decisions and my life in general. My confidence takes a battering and this can sometimes feel paralysing.

I’ve openly shared my struggles with anxiety since my cancer diagnosis. At first it was hard because I genuinely felt alone - like I was the only one in the world going through it. I worried that people wouldn’t understand and i’d withdraw further. Actually, it has been the complete opposite.

By opening up I quickly realised a lot of people were going through the same silent torture. More recently, as I’ve shared more about my mental health journey the number of people who have got in touch has been staggering. Anxiety is a huge issue that affects so many of us and yet we’re still not comfortable talking about it. But that’s exactly what we need to do.

By sharing experiences we are breaking down the taboo whilst helping each other understand ourselves better. It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay and if you feel strong enough please share your own journey to help any other people quietly suffering to know they are not alone.