Taking part in a program that helps to break down stigma and show others that we can speak about mental illness, is incredibly important to me. Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be part of Channel 5’s episode of Me & My Mental Illness.
“1 in 4 people in the UK live with mental disorders. Opening up about their personal struggles are comedian Iain Lee, who has had depression for some years, talk show queen Trisha, whose anxiety drove her to attempt suicide, and actor Adam Deacon, whose weed habit brought about psychosis.”
During Mental Health Awareness Week, the Channel 5 program ‘Me & My Mental Illness’ featured people living with various mental health issues like schizo-affective disorder, bipolar, crippling depression and borderline personality disorder. Including TV presenter Iain Lee, who spoke about his depression and talk show host Trisha Goddard, whose anxiety led to suicidal thoughts. Model Lily Bailey, spoke about her OCD and intrusive thoughts. And actor Adam Deacon, who was sectioned after a psychotic episode, was also on the programme.
I was so pleased to talk alongside those who know what it’s like to suffer from what some may call an ‘invisible’ illness. I hope that by lifting the lid on experiences like ours, others suffering may feel like they aren’t alone, that they can talk about their mental health and reach out for help. The other side is that such a candid and honest program is a way to minimise the gap between physical and mental health. After all, most of us who spoke described debilitating physical symptoms as well as our mental ones. They are often one and the same.
I spoke about how my depression began postnatally and has seen me hospitalised. The overwhelming spiral of negative thoughts I would experience at night, was one of the reasons that I couldn’t function during the day. I was very unwell for the best part of 2 years. It was emotional to remember how my life during that time severely impacted my family. Especially as a mother. This is something many women struggle with and they must know that they aren’t alone. That they are unwell and that they can recover.
Programs like ‘Me and My Mental Illness’ are really essential for others to understand what suffering from a mental illness is actually like. That we can’t ‘just look on the bright side’ and that managing our symptoms can be a long and painful road. But, critically, it does get better.
If you have been affected by, or would like to know more about any of the issues highlighted in the programme, please see this list of relevant help sites.