Today is Time To Talk Day. It is by the campaign ‘Time For Change’ who raise awareness of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and I wanted to do a special blog post to discuss the issue.

They say 1 in 4 people each year will be affected by mental illness so it is likely that at some point in our lives we will be affected . We might not want to admit this but it’s true. The thing is we don’t talk about it do we. We just think we are being silly and think people will say “just pull yourself together” or “get over it” and you are just attention seeking. This is false you are not being silly. There is no physical injury no sticking plaster to heal the wound you have an illness. It just takes a short chat to help get the person back in the road to recovery. It is odd that we would be happier moaning about a head cold/man flu than talking about our mental health.

Time to talk
Time to talk

The purpose of today is for everyone to take 5 minutes out of their day and chat to someone they know. We all live busy lives and it is easy to forget those people who are in our lives. Some may have even slipped out of lives as over the years we have moved on in their lives and leaving the old days behind. There’s nothing wrong with this but sometimes you need closure on events and/or say sorry.

So today stop and look around at the people in your life or used to be in your life and ask yourself the question when did you just chat to them to see how they are or could you have made more of a difference so you didn’t lose touch . I don’t mean that quick ‘hi how are you as you pass them in the corridor and don’t really listen to what they actually say I mean a proper chat, the type where you sit and have a coffee and laugh over silly things in the past etc and laugh about the good times. This is the first step in talking about the problems they have. Make the person remember they are not alone.

Look out for those who have stopped joining in on social events, who are spending time on their own, don’t talk to anyone anymore, have they become moody, has their behaviour changed. If so ask to have that 5 minute chat. It could be all they need to pull them back from their doubts and worries. Don’t just class them in the unhappy friends drawer. Find out why they are feeling like this. You might think well they know they can talk to you at anytime but when you are battling those demons you don’t always have that extra strength to ask for help and feel you are just getting in the way .

I’ve been writing my blog for almost 5 years and over that time I have suffered with anxiety and depression. I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor but I know now I was suffering from from this. Part of this was to do with me coming to terms with my sexuality, struggling to adapt to changes in my personal and family life. I let the demons in and I was hurting and I pushed people away which made it worse as all I wanted was to sit and cry/chat/laugh with them. My blog helped me deal with some of the demons but I did hold back on some stuff as I felt it wasn’t the place to have this conversation so I still suffered for a long time. One of the worst times was in August 2013. I talked about it in my blog post for that week . Since then my life has moved on and although I still have bad days there has been more good than bad.

I know from personal experience that a short chat with some one makes a huge difference. It is often the person you least expect who has that chat with you, sends that text, Facebook message, tweet or even go all old school and write a letter. It really does make a difference. TTC_TTTDay_HashtagI know I am lucky to have the people I do in my life and there are some in particular who have helped me more than they know. I hope I can do the same for others and I know there have been times in the past I haven’t noticed those around me who needed that chat and I feel ashamed about that but I can do something about it from now on. I probably talk more to the barista in Starbucks than some of my mates or family members and that’s not right.

Hopefully you will or have taken 5 today but if not then it’s not too late. It’s not just about one day in a year where you take 5 it is about all year round.

For more information about Time To Change visit the website at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

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