Powered by Blogger.

I'm Great! But I Want My Insurance To Cover Suicide


On a scale from one to ten, how uncomfortable does it make you feel when I tell you that I want my life insurance to include cover for suicide?
Insurance is all about risk assessment based on probabilities. They essentially assess their charges on: how probable is your death? How probable is your death certain means?

It’s like with car insurance, there is a no claims 'reward' because it’s essentially proving that a car accident with you is not so likely. On the flip side, someone who crashes their car recurrently will have more costly insurance, as it seems reasonably likely they could make another claim. It would be ludicrous for this driver not to have an insurance that would cover what is probable to happen.

I was looking at different life insurances, as I would like a fund for my family to help them pay for my funeral costs. I considered that my insurance could be more costly as I have a history of mental illness, and after all that Bipolar Disorder has already gifted me – it is indeed an incurable, life-long illness too. I discussed life insurances with suicide cover on social media and was met with a few challenging responses.

‘Why would you need this? Are you planning your suicide?’
No, I certainly do not have suicidal intentions and I would like to think that I am going to live a long, wonderful life. However, mental illness can be so complex and unpredictable, and with a personal history of mental illness, suicidal thoughts and tendencies – wouldn’t it be nonsensical if I found myself cover that did not assure a pay out for suicide?

‘If you prepare your life insurance to include suicide, aren’t you just preparing for suicide?’
I think what’s most problematic and would answer all of these questions is that so many of you still regard suicide very much as a choice. It’s difficult because in teaching those who are suffering from mental illness and who want to take their own lives, we tell them ‘there are other options, there is help available’. But only when you have been in your darkest mental moments will you realise how ‘option-less’ your mental health makes you personally feel. As healthy, rational individuals – we can make comments and put a lot of effort into trying to prevent deaths of this type with our logic, but the very nature of mental illness is that it’s hard to understand and empathise with because everyone’s fight is so personal.

I understand that in some ways many people will feel if I ensured my own life insurance has a cover for suicide that I am somewhat enabling myself if I end up seriously mentally unwell in the future and want to take my own life. Life Insurance policies, which cover suicide, have a waiting period to avoid those who are planning on immediately taking their own life but want the financial cushion so they do not burden their families. It is normally a year or more before the policy will cover suicide, which arguably could be a positive influence for those with suicidal intent. I recognize that you may view a policy, which covers suicide, as one less block to stop my suicide because my financial affairs would be in order. However, if I’m already in the negative mental space where I am making plans for my suicide – money is hardly going to be a key motivator for me to take my own life, as my mental illness has already consumed me and pushed me. The issue is not all the things that ready me for suicide or ‘enable’ my death like financial gain for my family or having my funeral arranged; the issue is that my mental illness has become deadly.

With anyone who suffers from an illness and pays for life cover, I’m sure you find it only sensible to have an insurance that covers that illness. Someone with a history of cancer would want a cancer death covered, someone with a heart disease would want all cardiac related deaths covered. The difference that so many of you see in these comparisons is that either consciously or subconsciously, you have viewed mental illness as imaginative, or viewed suicide from mental illness as a choice. The ignorance of this view is stigmatising, and whenever I see someone who has battled mental illness take their own life, I truly view that as a loss of life to mental illness – not a ‘selfish decision’.


We all need to consider how we think about suicide from mental illness, and especially how we discuss it. Eradicating the stigmatisation of the topic does not mean you are enabling or encouraging suicides, but rather you are helping make those people who are struggling feel more comfortable to discuss suicide and their relationships with their own mental illnesses.

As a currently healthy, sane individual who has previously been in dark, bottomless places before I think it’s reasonable to ensure that the insurance on my life is fully comprehensive and I can’t ignore the high probability that I may tragically lose my life to suicide. It’s not a pleasant thought, but it's time to accept that suicide as a result of a mental disorder, is less of an option and more of a tragic, untimely death by a mental illness.

With educating ourselves on mental illness and suicide, we are removing that stigma and allowing ourselves to better support those who are struggling - which is key to preventing mental illness related deaths.

Information and support on suicide can be found on these links:
Mind UK

If you need help in the UK you can call Samaritans for free on 116 123.
For other international help pages please see the 'Helpful Places' tab.

London, UK

'Busy Thoughts': You Need To Do Nothing


I’m a very driven individual, and when people ask: ‘do you work yourself to the bone?’ I respond boldly – ‘No, I work myself to my last nerve’. I take on too many projects, I say yes to virtually everything and even when I am unwell – I am a bed-bound bonfire. I work vigorously on my laptop with my fingers creating small fires from the friction on the keyboard. I am unquestionably… a liability.

I wasn’t always a self-proclaimed workaholic. In fact, quite contrary – I was often found lying in bed with a boyfriend eating ice cream and practicing my own niche of being a professional nap artist. Now, I can see the link. When I am very content, I can become quite complacent and I slow down to enjoy my life – which realistically, everyone should. Although, when I am lacking something, I work myself into a bottomless exhaustion.

I discovered that when you are busy, all you can think about is being busy; you never need to observe what’s really going on with yourself and your life. You know that feeling when you’re ready for bed at night, but having a bit of trouble getting to sleep, so you think about everything? I had become so scared of those moments of being alone with my thoughts that I drowned by brain out with a tidal wave of – not always meaningful - productivity. My logic was: if I have one thousand things on, I can avoid anything undesirable in my life because my brain will be saturated with ‘busy thoughts’.

'Busy thoughts', are both a dream and detrimental. Busy thoughts are great when you are perhaps having a bit of a rough patch, you have a bit of grief or you are just a bit bored; they keep you going and motivate you to channel your energy into something important. Busy thoughts, however, can also serve as a blinding distraction. Addressing how you are feeling and reflecting on what is going on in your life may sound like a simplistic and natural notion, but it doesn’t come easily to all of us. I know that I enjoy ignoring what’s going on in my mind and subdue myself with busy thoughts, until my unrealised issues manifest as a hideous, unavoidable monster. I habitually become so distracted that I forget to really take care of myself by just setting aside the time to do nothing.

I was horribly sick with the flu recently, and whilst I was bed ridden, bingeing episodes of Black Mirror like no tomorrow, I could not switch off my brain and rest. I was plagued with the thoughts of all the things I had to do, all the things I wanted to do and I thus - I kept subconsciously working. I was unwell for sixteen days, and I suppose the reason it took so long to feel better is because mentally, I was exhausted and it cried out from my body. I realised I had run myself into the ground, because my body was wishing for help and rest. I don’t always get that physical warning, which is scary as I am just poising myself for a breakdown.

Having bipolar disorder, I have experienced the red-bullish, sleepless nightmare that is mania and the ‘busy thoughts’ really do not compare. However, running yourself into exhaustion is always bad news – you create the perfect breeding ground for your unattended problems, and your once small issues will surface like vermin when you are drained. I know my illness well enough now to realise that if I take on too much and become stressed, I am tempting a bipolar episode, so realistically – with my recent bout of flu – I have to thank my body for reminding me of the importance of rest.

After taking some time off over Christmas, I feel energised and ready to conquer the world again. Nonetheless, this time – I’m going to reawaken my professional nap artist alter ego from time to time, because it really is exhausting work being exhausted.


Don’t be afraid to take a break to recharge your batteries, it doesn’t mean you’re lazy or wasting time – it honestly just shows that you’re mature enough to seek out balance in your life, giving both your mind and body a little TLC. Set aside a moment, even a day in your calendar, to have no plans and just rest. It’s small, but it’s life changing.

'The Cupboard': Opening Up About How You Feel



I always describe to my friends the terrifying notion of opening up to someone, like having a truly messy cupboard. As a child, I would tidy my room and I would secretly thrust all my clothes into my wardrobe. My mum would come in to inspect the job, she’d open the door and all my rubbish would spit out at her. I’d just be standing there, so ashamed at my own ineptitude. All those possessions I’d stuff away in the messy drawer, wardrobe or cupboard became the perfect metaphor for my bad memories and anxieties.

There is only so much you can fit in the cupboard. Everything you don’t want to remain in front of you and use, but what you still hold onto, gets chucked in. With every bad experience I had, I bagged it up and stuffed it into the cupboard and battered the door just enough to get it shut so that I could go on with life without ever thinking of it again. I tried my best to ignore the existence of the cupboard, and I would never dare to open it up again because I know as soon as I would – all of those things that I am secretly possessing would burst out in the most suffering and uncomfortable manner.

So many people will live their life never opening up that messy cupboard to another. It’s a very vulnerable feeling to tell someone all those inner insecurities and fears; all those bad experiences you can’t muster enough courage to discuss again through fear of reliving it, as you reticently walk someone else through those moments. People often persist that you should open up, but already you can see the humiliating visual of someone asking for something in your cupboard and the horrifying situation you’re faced with when you finally open it up to find it.

That’s the thing with the emotional cupboard too: not all the things in there are bad. Think back to when you were younger and you had that messy drawer or cupboard in your bedroom and unexpectedly, you realise you need something from it – that gift someone gave you at Christmas, or your favourite scarf you stored away because you didn’t need it through summer. You look at the cupboard and envision the impenetrable stress of it, and that perhaps it isn’t worth opening the door to hunt for it… you can always buy something else, you could always just go cold this winter. The fear of opening the cupboard always seems to outweigh the possible advantages. Anxiety is a black hole: it absorbs the good potential and emanates your fears.

My cupboard was a hoarder's mess. I flung my embarrassing memories there; I boxed up a string of my insecurities like tangled, hoary, ruined Christmas lights and chucked them in. You would even find a few ex-boyfriends in there. Sometimes I would lose things to the cupboard, like when I accidentally threw my faith in. I’d associate my faith with my hopelessness, and throw that in the cupboard too – never to be brought out again out of dread. My cheerful memories that were grouped with the bad, also live there. Yet even though I didn’t go near the cupboard, I always remembered it was there. Out of sight, is not always out of mind and the quiet insecurities grew loud and obnoxious until my cupboard was bursting off its hinge.

My anxieties manifested like painful cysts in my life, because I always remembered what I was illicitly harbouring. I struggled with relationships for a while because of fretfulness, so I just didn’t approach them. I never took anyone seriously because I hid from the hurt I had experienced before and rejected any position that brought me close to that. I never felt I could open up and see someone’s face as I stand above the damaged, messy contents that have burst out all over the floor. You know it is a burst too, when you finally release all your feelings. Your words just keep coming out and you’re crying hysterically, and all that you feel in that moment is vulnerability and damage. However, the lengthy panic and dread of not opening up gave me more pain than what any of the contents of the cupboard could ever give me.

Over time I built my relationships more with people, until finally it was time to just open that cupboard up. I felt so defenceless, but when I cracked it open I was shocked. I opened the door for nothing to fall out – but still fragile, like a tower of emotional Jenga. Cleaning out that cupboard was addressing my issues, and it took a lot of time. I’d spend hours with friends, relatives, anyone – just clearing out all that gave me a heavy mind. As I shifted out the bad things I found the good things too, the blissful memories I forgot about and the wonderful qualities about myself that I didn’t want to see before. After taking it all apart piece by piece, the cupboard was not a mess anymore. Everything in that cupboard had it’s own place. The cupboard isn’t empty now - there are still some things that get kept there, and still some things I need to take out – but it is manageable and I am not afraid to go into it. Every so often, it’s worth opening up that cupboard so it doesn’t build up again and when you realise that everything truly has it’s place. Like my mum always told me after she stood grinning at my tidy room: ‘Isn’t it so much easier and nicer like this?’.

It’s okay to have those fears and anxieties, but it’s about how you organise it in your life and deal with it. Some things, they belong in your cupboard – and only a few people will get to see them, but you should never be afraid to open up. If you spend so much of your time and effort avoiding that hurt by hiding it away, it will make you sick. It catches up to us all and you’ll realise that when you can no longer put things to the back of your mind, as you have so much built up inside your head already.

There is a lot of vulnerability involved in opening up, but it’s much more painful to be closed off than it is to be open. Being hurt and having negative times is part of the process of life. Each time someone or something disappoints you or hurts you, if there is a next time: it’ll be easier. You need to trust the process, and trust that the strength you will accumulate from facing your fears and opening up about the bad things will be a weight off your shoulders. Your mind is an elastic band, if you keep your mind healthy you can bounce back from things but if you build it up and put too much weight on it – it will snap.


Opening up feels impossible, please just try. I have had a tough time these past few months and when I spoke about it, that’s where things changed for the better for me. Speak to someone about it all: your partner, friends, family or doctor. Take care of yourself, we all have had that cupboard.

How Many More Days of Mimi?


So as it turns out, writing quietly and reservedly on a blog where I have marketed myself as honest about everything and able to discuss absolutely every aspect of my life - has proven problematic.
I felt like on '100 Days of Mimi' I reached a point where I felt like a living, breathing oxymoron. I was trying to write from a different place than before, and in the grand context of what I had been doing previously - it felt like it didn't have that seamless fit, and perhaps that the blog looked slightly confused.

I have spent a laborious number of weeks revisiting content, revising the site's design and doing the blog - what I would consider - justice. When you have so many people interacting with the content you put out there it feels like a lot of responsibility, as I want to ensure that what I have built is thriving, and the best that it can possibly be.

I realised over the course of months that the format of telling you all about my daily life, did not completely feel comfortable or right to me anymore. I had to put myself first and take time to reconsider my options in writing: if I would write again and if I did, how could I make the transition from 'mood diary' to general 'mental health' writing? I know writing a daily piece on my mental health in the context of my life was what brought a lot of you here and is what most of you want, but I am reserved about certain aspects of my life now and also, some days there really is not much to report on! That in itself is a positive: I've been doing well and living a balanced life.

Now, this isn't a goodbye to the 'Days of Mimi'. Infact, I hope to still be open with you all and discuss issues at large of experiences in my own life with my own mental health - and all that I will write, will be coming from my personal experiences and what I know. There will still be that 'diary allure' to this blog, but now the content will be much more diverse by taking away the general reporting on my daily life. The 'Secrets To My Favourite Life' series was well received by people, and I'm elated that I can transition this blog to cover a range of diverse topics and formats. I feel that as the blog is growing, it is now maturing - and I am very enthusiastic about it all. I hope you all enjoy the pieces I have worked hard on, and continue to engage with the content I write. I love reading your feedback and thoughts, as usual you can find me on Twitter - where I have always loved to communicate with you all.

Following Thursday 21st December 2017: There will be a new post at 8pm every Thursday.
Along with this weekly scheduled post, there will be many other spontaneous posts appearing without a set schedule - the best way to keep up with the 100 Days blog is subscribing by email, which you can find near the bottom of the new home page.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 7



Finally

This post is going to be controversial for a host of reasons, one being that I am discussing an idea you might dismiss as 'Hocus Pocus' make-believe and another being that the idea I'm going to discuss may almost seem insulting when using it as a tool for bettering something so complicated like Mental Health. Let me start off by confirming: I truly don't believe the power of positive thinking will cure a mental illness, however this idea serves as a really good tool for bettering your wellbeing - even if it's just a little.

In June, I read a book called 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne, and it's very short and easy to read but with a revolutionary concept. Initially as I bit into it I felt it was silly, I don't believe in horoscopes or such so I did think the notion of 'power of thought' was weak, if anything. The more I delved into the chapters, the more my faith in all things - inclusive of myself - grew strong. Taking away my own belief in the idea of 'The Secret', it at least gave me something to focus on and gave me the idea that I could be productive with my emotions - which is something that definitely nullifies my mood when I am suffering from a depressive episode.

The concept of the book is rather simple but it goes on to explain the practice of 'The Secret', and examples of it. Essentially, The Secret is the idea that you can think things into existence. If you want something bad enough, and if you visualise it strong enough - you can make it happen. There are specifics to it, such as - thinking something into existence is not easy. For example, if you want a job - you would need to visualise yourself having the job and not have any doubt whatsoever that you can get the job. It seems pretty impossible, but it explains why we don't always get what we want. The Secret works in a negative way too, if you have anxieties about situations - the universe can sense that and it will bring those into existence. Many celebrities believe in The Secret, and credit it to why they've had success.

I know as I explain this, it looks a bit daft - trust me I didn't believe it either. I honestly recommend you all read the book, because it changed my perspective on a lot.

To simplify what I'm trying to say, I believe what helped me get out of the hole I was in - was having faith that I could. Truly believing in myself - to the point where I could visualise what it was like to have success - gave me my success. It is not easy at all, but you just keep trying at it - keep visualising what you want for yourself, there is no true downside to that. Sometimes just being told that what you think can be productive in itself, is an excellent tool to push forward and get what you want. As someone with a mood disorder, I felt like I could never truly control my mood if I were in an episode. Whether you believe in 'The Secret' or not, focusing your thinking and having faith in your thoughts really does help.

Concluding this series, there are many little tools I use to try and control my illness and make myself feel better. All I can truly say is that you need to be productive - be it getting yourself to the doctor, changing aspects of your life for the better or at least thinking about ways you can get yourself feeling better. With mental illness, the problem is - we often cannot accept we need change, or that it is even possible. So it is all fine and well that I am telling you ways to improve a situation, but if you are feeling truly hopeless - I know what I am saying will just seem like empty words. If you feel this way, all I can say is that you reading this now, resonating with my words, is a step towards something better - because I have you thinking about your mental health. To all of you out there who are reading and you know of someone in such a desperate situation that you know they won't seek help, be around, available and attentive. Some of us need help and we don't realise it.

This series has been all the things I have implemented in my own life for the better, and I am doing well. Most importantly, I've come up with my own personal plan to keep myself living the most balanced life I can and I've taken control of all that I can control. I hope you have found some of my tools for coping with mental illness helpful, and if not - I hope it has at least been valuable in inspiring you to consider your own mental wellbeing.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 6


Diminishing Fears and Realising Goals

I've spoken about little steps to take to improve your mental wellbeing and change your life, modelled on how I took control of my own life - but the most difficult aspect of that, is finding the motivation to make those little steps. I've spoken about small ways to motivate yourself and to get rid of some negativity, but the power of taking control of your mind - I've found - is curating the ability to diminish your fears and realise your goals. I don't think I have a foolproof method to share about doing this, so I'm going to discuss my thought process on my own personal journey of identifying a few of my fears and tackling them, and realising my goals and heading towards them.

My friends joke about my fear of commitment a lot, and it's a very recent negative aspect that has been added onto my personality through the trauma of having an investment in something fall through. I have a fear of permanence, more intricately, a fear of making the wrong decision and it having lasting effects. It scares me career-wise, in my personal life and in almost every decision I make that I know will last a week or more. How I managed to tackle this? I dared to take a risk with things, made drastic changes to my life and I mentally de-pegged my reservations about commitment. I had to experience things to teach myself to think differently. If you are like me and you struggle emotionally when it comes to commitment and decision making, remember this - nothing is permanent. If you make the wrong decision - with most things - there is a way to undo it, rectify it or compensate it. Sure, there are the really serious things you may think you can never come back from, but that is rare. In almost all things that affect you, you will still have some method of control - and you always reserve the ability to try.

I have a fear of not being forgiven. I worry a lot that there are things I can't mend with people and that makes me sick, I learned that opening up and pouring out all my feelings and just generally being honest with people - did me the world of good. Even if they can't forgive me at the end, it feels good to know that I've done all I can. These little fears, I realise, can all be silenced.

I inevitably, have a fear of failure. I remember in June I had a final 'bad day', where one of my fears were confirmed. I had a lot of anxiety about something that I didn't want to happen - and then, it happened. The worst happened. I'm sure we've all had situations similar to that where we worry about something horrible happening, then it happens. Almost like you have thought the worst into existence, of which I will touch upon in the next post. However, when that horrible thing happened - I looked at my life and thought wow, it's time for things to get better.

In that moment of desperation where my last fear was confirmed and I faced failure head on, rock bottom was the solid foundation for my life. I had no money, I had no prospects, I lost friends, I lost a relationship, I suffered trauma and I was just generally lost. Then I realised - if I lose it all, then my biggest fear of all - loss - will never be realised again. How can you possibly be scared of losing things when you've already lost all the things you feel are important to you? I proceeded to rebuild my life, I had no real motivation to - but I had faith in myself. There were no overwhelming reasons for me to continue, but I chose to continue because I believed somewhere inside myself that things weren't over for me, and things had to get better.

I re-evaluated my goals. For a while I coasted through my life and never really voiced my goals, I guess the idea would be finishing University with an excellent grade, finding an excellent job, being in love with the best partner and living a bougie lifestyle with all the money I had. Aren't those goals really what we all want, at least on the surface? I reconsidered those goals. I stopped putting pressure on myself and subsidising my quality of life for University. I thought up my dream job and I decided 'I'm going to do this, here are the steps I need to get there' and I started climbing. I realised I didn't need a man for my happiness, and that a partner is an accessory to my happiness - not the reason. I put myself out there, I pushed myself and pushed myself until I had a buzzing social life I was happy with. 'Don't you get lonely without a partner?', never. I don't have the time to feel lonely, nor do I have that space in my life that's unsatisfied - because I pushed myself to realise my own potential. If you're lonely, surround yourself with people. If you're bored, do something. I whipped myself into shape because I refused to let my fate be failure. My goals now? I am not concerned about things like money and popularity. I want to keep flourishing professionally, and keep the smile on my face - that is my goal. I want to keep waking up excited for my day, because for too long I would wake up in the morning sad because I couldn't just die in my sleep.

I feared failure more than I feared my own death. When my fears came true, I had nothing more to be scared of. I might've had to have hit my lowest point to re-evaluate things for myself, but I am writing to you because you don't need to have that trouble if you try and take on small nuggets of my advice. If you are an over-thinker, visualise those fears at night. Then once you visualise those, visualise the ways in which you can change your fate. Make those visualisations of your comeback so strong that it is in the forefront of your mind whenever those fears creep in. Plan your success in your mind and visualise it as much as you can, it's completely make believe, but it will silence your anxieties. My fears made me realise my goals and pushed me towards them. Write down your goals for your life, even if they're unattainable. Visualise them, and visualise them often. Soon your mind will be so accustomed to the idea of your own dream that you will feel less afraid to approach your goal, and once you make that first step - keep going.

Overthinking would be my downfall, but now it's my best tool. Push yourself to visualise those things often, and keep going. It isn't as black and white as 'ah yes, my life faltered so I got on with it'. I didn't wake up the day after my worst day and change, I had to see doctors about medication, I read a lot and got therapy - then I proceeded towards those goals, and I progressed to make those changes in my life because what was there to lose? Ask yourself that, if your life feels so empty - what is there to lose in taking one little step that could maybe change your life? If you feel so bad, what is there to risk in taking a chance at potentially improving your situation?

In your wildest dreams, visualise what you would truly want in your life if you could have anything. Visualise yourself eradicating everything you're scared of. Visualise it so often it motivates you to make that first step. The first step could just be seeing a doctor about issues you have, or waking up early. But if you need a motivation to start to change your own life, look inside yourself - because you deserve better from life, and you should not accept anything less.

Eventually, that's what I learned. I promise you every day, I am grateful for my decision to stay.


-
As you all know I had to take a short break from this series and work commitments. I'd like to thank everyone's kind and thoughtful messages through what has been a difficult time, my family and I very much appreciate it. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers - Mimi

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 5


Companionship

I've learned the hard way that distancing yourself from others will be your downfall. When I am of ill mental health, the support of others goes a long way. You have got to figure out who is a benefit to you and who you should keep around. For a long time I felt embarrassed that I had to rely on others for emotional support, but it's better to perhaps put that little bit of pride aside for your sake of mental wellbeing. I am a person who has always been there to support others, so the few times I have sought it out - I suppose it's only fair, as it's a mutual support situation. You will find, if you have the right people around you - they will be more than happy to be there for you when you need them.

For support, I have quite a small circle. Recently I have made a lot of friends: in the past few months I've met a bunch of new people and gotten to know them better, however I do view them in more of a manner where I'd invite them out but not necessarily call them late at night to vent. I approach my closest friend a lot, because I've known her for 10 years and she has always been available for me - and she also is very intelligent, so I value her opinions and feedback when I vent my frustrations. When I need a lift up, I have several friends who are there to pick me up and make me feel good or just make me laugh. I don't think I'd be in this good place mentally now if it weren't for my friends who stuck by me through the bad.

I have a healthy love life. Although it's one thing I vow never to disclose fully anymore on social medias or anything. However, where my downfall is - I don't let people really in anymore and I recognise that's something I need to work on. When you have someone betray you in a relationship, it starts you off on peculiar footing when it comes to your romantic life afterwards, but I am okay with this at the moment. It's nice to have others take interest and know that you will not be left lonely. As a person, I'm someone who is very intimate and emotional so even though I do not need the companionship romantically or crave it, my personality flourishes when I have somebody to bounce off of. I recognise that achieving positive mental health is not bringing your damaged side to your romantic life, and I'm almost there, but in the same vein - being able to allow someone to see you for all you are and all you feel, is a special thing. Having a romantic companion can really help, but don't tell yourself it's necessary because it isn't. I have such a positive relationship with myself, and I wouldn't seek a relationship with another if it jeopardised that. I had rejected a lot of men out of fear because I felt so bereft from my last relationship, but I'm at a place now where I have so much more confidence in myself and I feel less vulnerable with men, so I've allowed myself to feel less fearful of some investment.

You choose your friends and you choose your partner, but what you can't choose is your family. Some people do pull the short straw, you might not have a wildly supportive family who care about you intimately and emotionally. I've been lucky in that I do have a really lovely, healthy family dynamic and I've never been scared to discuss things like my mental health. However, I do encourage everyone to try and speak to family members about things like this. You won't know their reaction until you just discuss it, they may be more supportive than you think. If you have a family who are vastly unsupportive, I appreciate you may feel you want to distance yourself from sharing with them - which is okay too. I've seen people in situations with their families where the best option is to move further from them, and although it's not ideal, it's about what is best for your health.

So I've described all the ways I have a good support system and companionship, however, I never really went into how I achieved this. I know a lot of you reading may feel you would benefit from this companionship but don't know how to achieve it. Go out and talk to people is my best advice. Aim to make several conversations with people everyday, I always make friends when I'm out in the evening, and it really makes my confidence flourish too knowing that I can socialise really well and that I am likeable. If you're too anxious to be so heads on, try following people you think are interesting online and interacting with a few of their posts, keep it casual - it could work! Also, if you are in a really desperate place - normally there are support groups available where you can meet others with similar mental health issues as yourself and it gives you a place to discuss it and even just meet others who know how it feels to not feel great. To find these support groups perhaps speak to your doctor, or approach local mental health charities - which you can find from a google search of your country and 'mental health charity'.

Don't make yourself lonely, it will really not make you feel great. When I surrounded myself with people who loved me, it made my life better. I also discussed cutting people off before, and thats the people who are really detrimental to your mental wellbeing, don't just cut off everyone - that's isolating yourself without good reason. Don't cancel the people who are rooting for you.