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Editor’s column: World Mental Health Day

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Today is World Mental Health day with the theme ‘mental health is for all.’ Looking out for each other, being kind, noticing signs of people struggling and speaking openly about dealing with mental health issues is so important always, but now more than ever.

The world is united by uncertainty, change and isolation right now leaving many struggling to deal with their mental health. The constant changes, adapting to working from home, minimal social interaction and the constant influx of bad news all adds up. Leaving many feeling drained, alone and merely existing in a world we used to thrive in.

Usual escapes and remedies are not often available and the mounted pressure of everything going on can have a debilitating effect on people’s mental health.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) around 450 million people currently suffer from mental or neurological disorders across the world. This is a staggering statistic which makes mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

I wasn’t always so vocal about my own mental health which I have struggled with since I was twelve. It was in a Brig article I first opened up after my first semester of university, feeling exhausted of pretending I was okay.

When going for editor-in-chief it was a consideration I had to take into account. Wondering if I could handle all the added pressure, stay on top of my mental health and still do the best job possible.

There were a lot of reasons I went for it but having a strong team, secretary and vice-editor I could trust, open up to and rely on was one of the key factors in going for it.

Having people around you, who you can open up to is essential when coping with mental health problems. Even if it is just one person you trust, who is always on your side. That can make the difference between sending a lifesaving text or self-destructing.

I suffer from general and social anxiety disorder. My wandering mind and stockpile of thoughts is a constant weight on my shoulders. Nothing is ever just one simple thing, not to me anyway. Everything is the start of a spiral. One thing after another I’ll spend far too long thinking about.

It’s overbearing at times. When spiralling I often wonder if everyone else thinks about regular things as much as I do. The blunt message I received weeks ago, going over and over the fifteen minute walk to work I have done for years while thinking of obscure situations that could happen during to make me late, basically going over every social interaction in my head coming to the same conclusion: they hate me.

The mixture of creativity and chaos that is intwined in my mind is sometimes hard to separate and the multitude of thoughts can unbalance my rationale.

The actions that come from an overwhelming mixture of negativity and impulsivity will only go one of two ways. Without careful organisation and routine, I quickly unravel and spin out of control.

The short amount of time it takes for the chaos to unravel my serene sense of self is always a bitter irony to how long it takes to reach that point of coping.

After all, maintaining a healthy balance is a full-time job and so easy to slide out of control. I’ve been to the edge so many times where the negativity takes over and it becomes impossible to find safe ground.

Crippling anxiety is really hard to deal with and sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for managing and continuing to stride on.

When trying to centre myself I think what’s wrong with my life right now? Going through a list: this is fine, this is fine, etc. There’s no obvious problem here but that’s when it can be the worst. I panic because I can’t find the reason for feeling nauseous with worry which leads to more worrying.

Take time to check in with your mental health, do something that gives you joy and remember to relax and recharge. Most importantly please remember you are not alone. If you feel lonely or are struggling, reach out to friends, family or someone that you trust.

Even if it is just a casual conversation to open up a dialogue. That can be an important first step. If you need help there are many online resources available.

Credit Stirling Nightline

Nightline is a unique service that it is run completely by students, for students. Their aim is to provide a safe space for students to speak about whatever might be on their mind in a non-directive, judgement-free environment.

Otherwise, should you wish to speak to someone, please contact one of the following helplines:

Mind (0300 123 3393)
SANE (0300 304 7000)
The Samaritans (116 123).

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