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Demetria Ayako: Mental Health, Support Networks & University - The Triangle of Zen

"...I know I’m guilty of that, and I am mentally ill. The only way to fight this is to talk about it."

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Being given the opportunity to write about mental health is always exciting, especially when it will reach audiences that you’ve never approached before. I myself have suffered with mental health issues since the age of 10 and I’ve grown up alongside the changing tides of the stigma surrounding it mental illnesses. I don’t want to write an article full of statistics, because we’ve been reduced to statistics for far too long. I’ve been running a blog that talks about the side of mental illnesses that the media won’t cover for 3 years because I believe that i’s important to talk about, if not for yourself then for others. With that being said, let’s get into some real talk.

 

Anyone who has had mental health issues can tell you about the social pressure not to talk about mental illnesses. Anything other than depression or anxiety is viewed as being too “scary” to talk about in the mainstream media. The only eating disorders that ever get mentioned are anorexia and bulimia, and we’re rarely shown the awful consequences of them because they’re too “shocking”. These are realities that people live with every single day, and they’re hidden. The truth is that unless you live with it or do your own research, we know nothing about mental illnesses or how to treat the people who have them. I know I’m guilty of that, and I am mentally ill. The only way to fight this is to talk about it. As previously mentioned, I run a blog that talks about the “scary” side of Bipolar Disorder that gets buried under the carpet. Many people are documenting their illnesses online and allow for people to truly see what it’s like for that individual. It’s time to bring that into reality. Too many people live in fear of discrimination, and we can’t let that continue. We shouldn’t live in fear just because we have a mental illness that we didn’t sign up for. Instead of falling victim to the stigma, I challenge you to be open and honest. If you’re feeling a certain way, tell somebody. If your anxiety is through the roof over something, talk about it. It’s not as scary as it seems, and the reception you get will surprise you because you’ll soon find that so many people are in the same boat as you - especially at university.

 

The academic year has officially started, so it’s time to get down to business. But don’t forget that your mental health is still important. Don’t let things get on top of you, it’s not worth feeling awful over. And don’t forget to talk to people, I promise you that it won’t be half as bad as it sounds!

 

Keep your head up, sunshine.

Demetria Ayako

BSc (Hons) Computer Gaming Technology


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University is strange for anyone, but having a mental illness can really pile on the pressure. Luckily for us, there are vast support networks to be found at Anglia Ruskin, and it’s time to take advantage of them. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your fellow students or friends, then there’s a vast array of student support services available to support you through whatever is happening in your life, including trained councillors. And of course, there are doctors available in the on-campus medical centre to refer you to Cambridge’s mental health services if necessary. If you need medical attention out of hours, you can call 111. If you need urgent medical attention for a life-threatening issue, always call 999. This includes feeling suicidal or the urge to self-harm.

 

Other points of contact include:

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you've been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

Phone: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)

Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.

Website: www.thecalmzone.net

No Panic

Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.

Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)

Website: www.nopanic.org.uk

PAPYRUS

Young suicide prevention society.

Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri,10am-5pm & 7-10pm. Weekends 2-5pm)

Website: www.papyrus-uk.org

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

Helplines for addictions, victim support and more:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/mental-health-helplines.aspx


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