Stacey Barber is 24 and has OCD and PTSD. She lives in the UK with her husband and two children. Her blog www.fixmeinfortyfive.com talks about mental health and what life is like when you suffer. Her aim is to provide information, advice and stories to help educate and inspire people. Here she talks about how the practice of mindfulness forms part of her everyday life and how it can help men’s mental health.
Anxiety and Depression, both grab hold of you from the inside and make you see and feel the world in a dangerous way.
Not only do you feel low, worthless and down, but ashamed, less of someone. The truth is suffering from any mental illness is not something you should be ashamed of.
When I was just 18 I spiralled downhill. My childhood was full of abuse and I was left with major depression, PTSD and OCD. I was put on medication after speaking to my GP and sent for CBT. When I started my treatment I didn’t realise what mindfulness was and had never meditated, but it became a big part of my treatment.
In a controlled environment I learnt how to breathe in a new way that could help me to relax. I was taught that thoughts will always enter your mind but you can just let them pass. I learnt grounding techniques, whereby I would bring myself into the now, the exact minute and let the past drift away. Anything that was worrying me or causing me distress would disappear (with practice).
I have become so much more aware of my body and breathing and can relax myself when I feel anxious and I can find something good when I’m depressed. It’s helped me see that the world is a big place compared to my problems.
Practicing Mindfulness is really is a lifestyle change, it helps you to start seeing the good in everything and learn to live in the moment and it’s amazing! I’m not saying it’s perfect and you do need to keep practicing, but it’s a simple thing that can be done every day.
There is so much evidence for mindfulness in mental health and the fact it’s used by the NHS everyday reiterates this.
I’m a 24 year old woman and today I want to talk to you guys out there…
There is a stigma with men talking about their mental health, but why?
I sometimes think it’s because men aren’t the best at talking about problems or because they feel embarrassed. I have seen that a lot of men just bury their heads and this needs to change.
The truth is there is no shame when it comes to mental health and it’s not as scary as you think. Sometimes a big fear with talking is worrying about what will people think. My answer to that it’s up to people to try and understand and if they don’t it says way more about them than it does you. Mental health isn’t sexed, it is indiscriminate and affects men and women equally. Mental health disorders affect each of us differently because we are different as humans.
Just because you’re a man doesn’t make it more stigmatised or less important.
Having a mental illness doesn’t define you nor does it mean you are less of a person.
Become open to the idea of mindfulness and you will be grateful you did. Practising mindfulness isn’t something that you need professional help with, you can get books, apps and CD’s.
It’s a way of life and it’s for the better – trust me, I was so sceptical at the start! The more you talk and the more open you are, the better you will feel.
If you are suffering talk, be open and don’t worry about it. The thought is always worse than the reality.
Always be open and don’t ever worry about what others will think of you – you deserve the help and having a mental illness doesn’t make you less of a man, honestly.
You can follow Stacey on Twitter @staceylou_blog and on Instagram @STACEYBARBER_X