> Let's Talk - Mental Health - Its All Zara

Let's Talk - Mental Health

April 22, 2017

Hello and welcome to my first Let's Talk segment! This week I am focusing on Mental Health and I have 3 amazing guest writers:

So without any delay here is my second segment and our thoughts on Mental Health - *TRIGGER WARNING; DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, VIOLENCE, EATING DISORDERS*

@whatchloewrote - Twitter
Chloe's thoughts: "Mental health is a big part of my life. I live with an anxiety disorder, depression, autism and body dysmorphia (I used to also be borderline anorexic). Life can be struggle for me sometimes especially on my bad days. Some days I wake up, happy, smiling and motivated but then I can be opposite. I won’t move from my bed, emotionless and sometimes I don’t even get changed from my pyjamas. I feel like most people still look down on those who suffer from mental health conditions. I have mainly had problems with those of the older generation. When I was officially signed off work due to a breakdown, people looked down on me and treated me differently. Even the younger generation have problems with putting themselves into others shoes. Telling someone with anxiety ‘stop worrying’ or ‘Don’t worry about it’ won’t help. I think mental health education in schools would help so much. People are usually ignorant because they don’t understand something fully. By teaching about the different types of mental health it could reduce the stigma and help people out! When it comes to the media I feel like they are trying to help to reduce the stigma. For example the latest Netflix show 13 Reasons Why is raw and tells it as it is but then some media texts use those with mental health conditions as villains like Norman Bates in Psycho. With more positive exposure in the media instead of singling out those with mental illness this could have a huge impact on how people treat those who do suffer from mental illness."

@xleahprescottx - Twitter
Leah's thoughts: "I have anxiety,depression and BPD. I’ve struggled with all three for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until I fell pregnant and my MH declined rapidly that people started to pay attention. I was diagnosed with both prenatal and postnatal depression and after my daughter was born,I was diagnosed with BPD. I spent all of high school struggling with eating disorders,self harming etc and once I turned 16,I worked towards recovery. As I got bigger with my pregnant belly though,the bizarre eating habits slowly creeped back up and I shamefully started self harming again. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the support of my friends and family during this time. I’ve personally never had a good experience with MH services and most recently I got discharged for being “too complex” luckily I’m at a place where I don’t need them anymore. I have all the support and love I need from my loved ones.

@jennymarston_xo - Twitter
Jenny's thoughts; "Up until the age of 19, I had no experience with mental health disorders. In fact, I was incredibly naïve and ill-informed because I remember a girl in my sixth form suffered from really bad panic attacks and I had absolutely no idea what a panic attack was and why she was acting how she was and why she was on the floor and couldn’t breathe. Looking back, I really want to slap myself for being like that but when I think about it, no-one anywhere, taught me anything about mental health disorders.

 So unless I was suffering from them myself, how would I have known what they were and what to look out for? I developed anxiety in 2011 and I think it affected me as much as it did because of the fact I had no idea what was going on and I had no idea what “anxiety” really and truly was - other that the normal bouts of nerves we all get when taking an exam or having a job interview or visiting the doctor. I couldn’t leave the house most days, I became terrified of everything - life was difficult. 

Although I’m a lot better now, I still feel anxious, I still get bouts of anxiety and I still get very anxious days but I know when to recognise it and I no longer see it as an enemy. It’s taken a lot of years and hard work to get to where I am now.  In terms of mental illness as a whole, I still don't think it’s spoken about enough or taught enough or portrayed in the right ways on TV. I can’t speak for other illnesses but I can speak for anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder is something you do not hear about. Ever. And why? It’s debilitating and annoying and quite frankly, sucks to go through each and every day feeling anxious about everything and nothing all at once. The longer I’ve been blogging though, the more I’ve seen people speak about mental health and the longer we keep the conversation going, the better."

Itsallzara - Twitter
My thoughts: This is something I have a fair bit to speak about, I am currently undergoing counselling and am about halfway through my sessions. Since starting counselling I have addressed several issues I have been used to carrying around with me that I don't usually talk about.

First off is the constant nervous and anxious state I live in when in social settings, am I saying the right things? Have I annoyed someone just by being there? Am I good enough to be with other people? - These are all thought's I have had when I'm at college or out with friends, and I am forever trying to convince myself I deserve to be in these places. I'm getting better at feeling welcome in places but its still a struggle especially when I first join or meet a group of people.

Second is my issues with relationships, and I don't just mean romantic ones I mean friendships, my family and even myself. I currently have no father in my life which some would see as a blessing after years of being exposed to violence, bullying and abuse from him, but it is hard for me to adjust to knowing I have another parent out there who just isn't interested in me anymore. I left his home in 2015 when he lashed out at me one time too many, crying and in pain I went to my mothers where I live now and every day is a test of courage to get up and put that behind me. My dad is a massive issue I'm getting help with but it isn't just his violence I'm trying to forget, he was obsessed with my looks and was forever trying to put me on a crazy diet and tell me how to look. This led to me developing and battling bulimia and body image dysmorphia, to this day I am very paranoid about how many calories I eat, how often I work out, what I wear and how I look.

I'm also getting help to recover from past experiences of sexual assault and r*pe, that were inflicted by a past boyfriend and by a man I hung out with on a night out once. One of the scenes in the new 13 Reasons Why shows a girl being assaulted while she is passed out drunk, I have been that girl more than once and it was hard to watch that scene without getting upset. I have needed a lot of time to consider relationships again as when I was first mistreated I was only 17, four years later I am still scarred. Anxiety plays a huge part in my love life and I still get nervous about intimacy despite having had a partner in my life for 2 and a half years.

Lastly, I have needed help from my counselor in proving to myself that I deserve the life I was given, I have on many occasion been so down and felt so low that I felt suicide was my only option. This was obviously a worrying thing for my mum to witness and she is relieved I am getting help in this area but to this day I still struggle some days when I just can't find an inch of positivity. It feels like my depression is grabbing me by the throat and holding me still while I struggle to feel somewhat normal in today's world.

All of these issues have led to me needing the help I get on a weekly basis, and while I'm nowhere near ready to tackle things alone I am better than I was. My message to sufferers of mental health issues, PTSD, trauma and body issues is simple - You're not alone in your suffering I promise you, and while I know that is NO consolation for your issues and your struggle I want people to be aware of just how many people can and are exposed to the effects of mental health disorders. Reaching out for help was one of the best decisions I ever made and while I know it's not that easy for everyone I do recommend looking into what help you are entitled to because you deserve the peace of mind others can take for granted.

Thank you for reading and please don't hesitate to contact me if you need someone to talk to;
My twitter: @itsallzara
My snapchat: @itsallzaraa
My instagram: @itsallzara
My email: zaraanne@hotmail.co.uk


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  1. This is a great idea for a post, so great to read your stories, your all inspirational to others suffering from mental health xxx

  2. I must admit I am not familiar to the topic. First coz I don't suffer from any of these conditions and second because I don't anybody who (openly) does. But this is really informative and I shall remember everything! xx corinne

    1. I'm glad you found it informative! xx

  3. It was really nice to read everyones experiences! I definitely think more people should talk about mental health to hopefully get rid of the stigma there still seems to be! I suffer with anxiety and reading this has made me feel like I'm not alone x

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post sweetie, I'm also glad you feel comforted by it xx

  4. This is a really amazing post, and I think you're really brave for sharing it, and it's a great way to spread awareness by involving other bloggers. I'm glad you're getting help, and that it's benefitting you :) <3
    Hels xx

  5. It's so good that all of you are speaking out and being so open about your mental health and personal experiences. You're all brilliant!

    Louisa | www.loubeeloublogs.blogspot.co.uk

  6. Another great post! I always love gaining insight on peoples' personal experiences, especially with a subject as sensitive as mental health. Thanks for sharing this; and all the bloggers who collaborated onto this and shared their thoughts, I commend you!

    1. Thank you Chelsea that's so sweet! xx

  7. This is so interesting and informative to read, thank you for all sharing your stories. I'm definitely going to share this around my friends so we can all be a bit more aware and informed. I definitely think mental health is something that needs to be addressed more in school.

    Kirsty | The Monday Project | themondayproject.co.uk

    1. I'm really glad you liked the post Kirsty! xx