Before Ronan Keating and his buddies started singing songs about life being a rollercoaster my dad had already told me the same thing lots of times. You might not have heard of Ronan Keating, he’s a member of ‘Boyzone’ which is a band that is probably completely out of date by now or might even be retro. And I very much doubt you have heard of my dad who isn’t a member of a band at all but plays a mean guitar solo in front of the TV. But however cheesy the song, the words are true and they’ll chime with lots of different people. You see life is a series of ups and downs but for lots of people the downs are extremely hard to deal with and the highs can be harder to reach.
Depression and other mental health issues are more talked about today than they ever have been. People aren’t as judgemental about these things now as information is increasingly available and those with problems are no longer expected to suffer in silence. And so, here goes, I will put my hands in the air and say (drum roll please….) I suffer with depression and anxiety.
There I’ve said it. No-one has thrown their hands up in shock or begun weeping. There are no police at my door with a warrant for my arrest. No-one is wondering if I’m less of a person or less capable because of it. And if they are then they aren’t the kind of person I’d want to be friends with anyway!
Some of the strongest people I know in my personal life have suffered with depression and there are some really famous people out there who have struggled too. And it is a struggle. There’s no point in denying it and saying ‘Smile, it might never happen’ and other such useless phrases. Sometimes nothing particular needs to happen to make you feel out of control. Sometimes things are just difficult.
It’s different for everyone but these are the things I think are most important if you have some kind of problem you aren’t coping with.
This is a biggy. It can be the hardest thing to do and it can also be the easiest. If you keep things to yourself they grow. Have you ever heard the saying ‘turning a mountain into a molehill’? Don’t do it. Tell someone. A friend, a parent, a teacher, or call a confidential line and speak to someone. They won’t fall about in fits of laughter or tell you there’s something wrong with you. There isn’t.
You’d be surprised how much difference a walk or a run can make. It’s the combination of fresh air and endorphins. I walk my dog for at least an hour every single day so I can get out and about and appreciate nature. I’m not saying it will wipe depression away but it helps a tiny bit. Also eat good food. Your body can’t work as well without it.
Remember you are not alone!
If you start to feel as if your fairy godmother has packed her bags and gone on holiday then look up some statistics! There are people the world over who are living and enjoying the best of lives with mental health problems. I’m doing OK if I say so myself. This is a photo of me on a swing. No way are swings just for children!
Also if you want to read some really ace books that deal with mental health issues then try these.
In ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot’ by Horatio Clare, it is Aubrey’s dad who has depression and it’s about how the whole family deal with it. ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ by Holly Bourne is about a girl called Evie who has OCD and just wants to be normal – whatever that is! They are both funny and sad and beautiful and brilliant and I think you’ll love them.