Josh Preston.
Josh Preston. Renee Albrecht

Talking mental health is hard, but don't let the fear win

TODAY is R U OK? Day.

And in the spirit of what is such an important message within Australia's ongoing battle to confront mental health stigma, I'm going to do something I really don't want to.

Talk.

For at least the last six years I've had near-constant struggles with depression and anxiety, as well as pretty severe issues with self-esteem, self-confidence, eating and body image.

So unrelenting are my problems with social situations that I take ages to approach strangers and talk to them, even friends of mine I should already feel comfortable around.

I'm almost always late to social events because I can't shake the fear that nobody will like me. I have issues with procrastination because I'm always convinced I'm going to fail whatever it is I'm supposed to do.

I found it hard to get out of the car and approach people at USC's Gympie campus yesterday, even though the subject was to do with R U OK? Day.

My mental health affected my final year of high school, my entire time at USC, and still does every day. But that doesn't mean I'm ready to give up - not even close.

I didn't want to, and I still don't, but I've spoken to my cherished family and close friends about my struggles, and that has made a vital difference.

It's made me feel a little less lonely, and has helped me fight.

Talking can get rid of so much weight, and make things seem so much clearer. Please, if you even slightly feel like you need to, don't let the fear stop you.

Mental Health doesn't need to be scary, or bad. We all go through it from time to time, and we can live through this.

If you or anyone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Gympie Times


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