A Southern Star reader shares his journey to mental health recovery
FOR those struggling with their mental health the road to recovery is often long, lonely and dark, but one Southern Star reader wants to outline his journey, to share hope and to help people focus on better times where there is light out of the darkness.
‘I have struggled with my mental health for many decades. There have been very dark days and times when I felt I could not go on.’
‘My first port of call was to my local doctor who quickly saw that I needed help and prescribed medication.’
‘You must go to your GP this is the most important step. This is going to be hard work and you will need people to support you and the GP will be there for you.’
‘Medication is extremely necessary and is a good start but remember there are a lot of different medications and it could take time for you to find which works best. Also, never stop taking your prescribed medication.’
However, while for our reader medication was just the first step, there is another vitally important action that must be remain constant on any journey when dealing with mental health issues.
Talk, Talk, Talk
‘This is so important, talk to your GP, your parents, friends, relations anyone that will listen and that can help you. Talk about how you feel, talk about what is going on, talk about whatever it is but you must talk.’
'Along with talking there are many other ways to ease the symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts.
‘Medication is necessary but there are other techniques that when applied in partnership with meds can support you. Personally, hypnotherapy worked for me and I have tried other treatments as well.
‘For example ‘talking treatments’, including counselling, psychotherapy, talking therapy or psychological therapy provide a regular time and space for you to talk about your thoughts and experiences and explore difficult feelings with a trained professional.’
Write it down
Our reader also recommends getting a journal and writing down how you are feeling because just as with talking about your mental health, when you write down the words this is a way of getting the feelings out.
‘There is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
'CBT aims to identify connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and to help you develop practical skills to manage any negative patterns that may be causing you difficulties.’
Food is medicine
‘Another important treatment I have found is my diet. Food is medicine, different foods affect our moods and not many people realise this. Again talking with your GP who will refer you to a dietician is important.’
Arts and creative therapies
For some talking about their mental health issues can be difficult but there is another way to express how you feel and to be supported. Arts and creative therapies are a way of using the arts (music, painting, dance or drama) to express and understand yourself in a therapeutic environment, with a trained therapist.
Complementary and alternative therapies
‘There are other therapies to help you that work well in conjunction with medication for example yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, herbal remedies and acupuncture. Again it about finding what supports you with your mental health’
‘Every year we hear of more and more people, family members, friends and work colleagues who have died due to suicide, I want to let people know that there is a support system, a therapy, a way that you can get the help you need in a way that works for you.’
'Nobody should be dying by suicide in our community and society. Talk to someone, go to your GP. There will be better days ahead.'