I know how anxiety, panic attacks and depression can make you feel so isolated; the irrational side of your brain convinces you you’re the only person in the world to be experiencing these thoughts and feelings.
The more I read memoirs, watch interviews, listen to podcasts and talk to people about mental health, the more apparent it becomes that so many of us, at times, find our brains bloody hard to manage. Although I wouldn’t wish something like anxiety or depression on anyone, it does reassure me to know that other people have been through similar experiences.
In a book I read recently, Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig writes “Sometimes just looking at names of people who have suffered depression – or are still suffering depression – but clearly have (or had) other things that are great going on in their lives, gives a kind of comfort.” He follows this with a long list of such people, from Isaac Newton and Mozart to Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie and Ben Stiller: people who perhaps appear to be perfectly fine from the outside. Even as I am writing this post, an advert has just popped up on the TV for a new BBC series following celebrities with mental health conditions. It just goes to show these things are more common than we think and can happen to anybody.
A couple of months ago, I ran for Mind UK – a mental health charity founded by Stephen Fry. I found channeling my anxious energy into helping others had a really positive impact on my own mental health. Teaching yoga has a similar effect; I have met so many people who come to yoga in the hope of relaxing the mind and finding relief from stress, anxiety or depression. Knowing that my classes have the potential to help with this is one of the main reasons I love teaching…it fills me with so much happiness and contributes to my own personal wellbeing.
As well as talking and listening to those around you, there are also a number of helplines and services out there who provide support if you feel like you need something a bit more…
Time to Change: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Realising that you’re not alone won’t be a magic cure for everything, but I guarantee it provide you with some source of comfort and help you feel that little bit better.