Is It OK Not To Be OK?


Sometimes life isn’t easy, sometimes we feel broken and find it hard to make sense of our own thoughts.

We are human. We are not perfect.

Everyone has their own insecurities, their own demons lurking behind closed doors waiting to attack. We all have down days, where we want to shut the world out, lord knows I’ve had mine.

In my last two posts Where’s My Crowning Glory and Hairloss, Heartache and Headaches I have mentioned that I suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is a common mental health problem, but is unique to everyone.

Last year mine came to a head, putting it lightly. I had one of the worst panic attacks I have ever experienced. It lasted hours. I woke up in bed, like every other morning and suddenly I was in the midst of a panic attack, that got so bad it left me wanting and asking to be hospitalised.

I felt like I had lost my mind, like I was crazy. Something just went in my brain and I couldn’t make sense of anything. The panic attack, at this point I would rather refer to it as a breakdown because I think it is a better representation of what it was, this lasted all day.

Initially it took nearly three hours to calm me down and get me in a state to where I was making sense, or able to hold a conversation. Throughout the day I would go from being relatively calm, more like numb, to crying and panicking all over again.

Even writing this even makes me anxious. I’m not an open person and so far on this blog I have shared things that very few people would know about. I may write a full post on this experience in future.

To this day that horrible experience still haunts me, but thankfully it has never reached that extreme since. I have never needed help from the HSE or government funded mental health organisations, but that was the closest I have come to calling on them to help me, or fix me.

The Irish media has been rife with tragic stories of people suffering from mental health problems who have been let down by the government. Caoilte O’Broin is a particular case that stood out to me. Back in January, Joe.ie ran a letter Caoilte’s sister wrote to them desperate for help and sadly they reported very soon after of his passing. This case struck a nerve with me and will stay with me because of the torment his family went through, the torment Caoilte went through, but mainly because of the lack of help this very ill man failed to receive. You can read Caoilte’s full story on Joe.ie.

I have seen many friends come out on social media to share their own mental health struggles. So many have shared their outrage at the government’s decision to cut €12million from the allocated €35million mental health fund by asking people to donate or show their support at mental health charity events. I couldn’t commend them more.

I am happy to see the progress we, as Irish people have made to be a more open and accepting society in regards to Mental Health issues. I wouldn’t be able to write about my own anxiety otherwise, I would still be struggling quietly and alone, but I’m not because of this. Thank you.

Of course we should be angry, appalled and feel let down by the government. They have let us down! They are sending the message, it’s OK not to be OK, but don’t come looking to us for help.

Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Health, said on the cuts “they are necessary as the funding could be better used elsewhere”. This is singularly one of the most infuriating statements I have ever read and it is completely astonishing that this is coming from the Minister for Health. It not only makes me angry, it makes me sad.

Mental health is precious and delicate. We need to take care and protect it.

The government cuts are not OK.

It is OK not to be OK.

It is OK to ask for help.

AJ x

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