‘Surviving or Thriving?’ is this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week which runs from Monday 8th – Sunday 14th May. Being surrounded by creatives, specifically within fashion, I see the incredible pressures on employers and employees. Frustratingly, in the world we live in, there are many people who are barely ‘Surviving’.
With one in four people suffering from a mental health problem each year and with mental health awareness a subject incredibly close to AGT’s core values.As founder and chief maker at Annabel Giraud-Telme, I thought it was time to be honest about why….
Since I can remember, I’ve suffered from a mixture of depression and crippling anxiety.
Over the years I’ve tried and tested various solutions- everything from; anti-depressants, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, using alcohol as way of self-medicating (seriously a terrible idea which only enforces the vicious cycle-read a brilliantly candid article on it here), to yoga and therapy. You name it-I’ve probably tried it. The thing is about mental health issues, one size does not fit all and what may have worked previously, may not work for you now. Mental health’s funny like that.
Growing up, I learnt to escape from these issues through a variety of the arts: creating and performing. The physiology of being creative enabled me to develop a sense of self that was a separate entity to my family and personal problems.
Ironically, ‘creating’- the thing that used to help me through my issues is now what causes some of my biggest anxieties.
These days, I have learnt to deal with the affects through a variety of being out in the fresh air -whatever the weather, exercise, mindfulness and talking. Talking to (anyone and everyone!) but predominantly family and friends who understand the situation. But, sometimes I don’t recognise that I’m going through a particularly bad patch until I’m so low, I’m struggling to breath.
That’s the other thing about mental health issues, they’re not neat and tidy ailments like a broken bone. You don’t get knocked over and have a clean break. Often you think you’re fine and then all of a sudden you’re not. You don’t quite know how or when you flipped to not being fine but somehow, it happened and you’re now attempting to navigate through a treacherous sea of treacle.
So what is the point of me writing this? I want to shout out from the rooftops that sometimes life sucks and actually it’s ok to not be ok. If you feel crap, you’re not the only one, reach out! Reach out to; a friend, family member, your doctor, the Samaritans or even to me!
I’ve never been a brilliant writer and so below are some links to people and organisations that are far better at explaining and understanding- there are also some articles thrown in surrounding mental health issues that I thought were interesting.