Mental Health Awareness Week | 2023
This is not a blog post I would ever have thought I would be writing. This topic and subject would in the past be something that I would avoid at the best of times, and certainly not be one that I would be writing about openly on here. But rather than try to fit what I want to say into the very small character limit that you get on Twitter, this is maybe the best way to say it.
I have suffered from Mental Health issues for a number of years now, anxiety, social anxiety, depression and was passed around from one GP to another, from one pill to the next, been there done that, got the t-shirt, etc. Then late in 2018 a musician I was following on Twitter posted about a live stream on Twitch and I thought why not check it out, so I clicked on the link and it really did literally change my life. The musician in question was Natalie Holmes and her community was so friendly and welcoming, it was a safe space on the internet, to chat or just listen, to be involved or to just sit back but still be a part of. Natalie's streams were somewhere I would make sure I could be and I would arrange time around work so that it was possible. Through Natalie's online Discord community, I made new friends, some who had been experiencing similar to what I was myself, and a few of them have now become close friends over the past couple of years and we all chat with each other on a daily basis. We all even met up in Glasgow for one of Natalie's gigs on a cold November night in 2019.
As well as all of that, through Natalie introducing me to Twitch, that also led to me meeting Tina, as if I had not been on Twitch and Discord, that meeting would never have happened, so I would say that yes Natalie is one of, if not the main reason, that allowed myself and Tina to actually meet. I think our first encounter was when Tina was on a CharliePlaysGuitars stream and I was modding for MariGoMusic and Charlie raided Mari. That would have been our first little chat on Mari's stream that night and now here we are living together with a life together. Everyone who I have mentioned, Natalie, Charlie and Mari all contributed to make that happen and both Tina and I will be forever grateful to all three of them for that.
Getting back to the reason for this blog post though, back then maybe it was at the height of what I was going through in my life, both work life and home life were contributing to how I was feeling. I had in the few years previous come out of a long term relationship that had put strains and pressures on me and maybe all that led to the reasons why I was how I was. It definitely contributed in some way. There were times where I just went through each day like a robot, just zoned out from what was going on around me. Doing what I needed to do to get through the day, then just rinse and repeat day after day. The change for me came after clicking on that link and it became the catalyst for change that I needed. And through the help from both Natalie's streams and community, I slowly managed to turn things around and get myself back on track. I was never really in favour of the medication side of those years, and probably never gave one pill a proper chance before moving on to another one, preferring to explore other ways to manage and get by. But I did get there and it was done through the decisions I made. So with this week May 15th - May 21st being Mental Health Awareness Week, I just feel that by talking about it and by being so open about it, maybe someone can take something from it and know that however bad things can get, however bad you may be feeling, you just have to believe that they will turn around for you in time. I wrote and published the above in a blog post during Mental Health Awareness Week back in 2021, but wanted to post an update for this year, seeing as so much has happened since.
UPDATE: I wanted to update this post for 2023, as a lot has happened since I first wrote this blog post. Over the past year or two, things have been up and down for me. Thinking that the issues I mentioned previously has subsided, it was quite a wake up call when they started again. After spending month after month jumping through hoops, I finally managed to find a good GP. Just that alone has made a world of difference, and I am now on what seems to be medication with very little side effects. It is still early days, but there seems to be some small steps in the right direction, and it's ongoing. I also have a follow-up GP appointment during Mental Health Awareness Week (I did not actually notice this at the time the appointment was initially booked). All going well and fingers crossed, there will be more positive news for next years update. But I suppose only time will tell. The other part of the update is that as well as the ongoing Mental Health issues, I now also have 2 separate consultants that I am seeing, one for on-going Tinnitus issue, and the other for on-going DVT blood clotting in one of my legs. With both of these issues, it is relatively early stages in the consultations, but both these issues are adding to my overall Mental Health, as you can probably imagine. The impact that these physical health issues make, and the toll they take on your Mental Health is overwhelming at times. It has affected life in general. It has affected both myself and Tina. We are still very happy together, and we both support each other through whatever issues we have. We are a great team, and I would not change that for anything. To say that I am so thankful to be with her is an understatement. So yeah, that is about it for this update. I will of course post any updates I have in future, both here on this blog, and over on Twitter as well.
I wanted to pick a song to include here and it can only be 'Calm Places' by Natalie Holmes...
Finally, I want to include a link to the mentalhealth.org.uk website which is a great resource.