Something I've been really pleased to see a lot of at the moment is people using their blogs to open up about their experiences of mental health conditions, and anxiety is a particularly common one. With World Mental Health Day happening this week (it was on Friday 10th October), there have been so many people writing and talking about their experiences and this can only be a good thing. Mental health is one of the areas of medicine that I am particularly interested in, despite the fact it can often be rather overlooked. The ability to speak more openly about mental health conditions is helping to break down a lot of the stigma and the mysteriousness around them, leading to more people seeking help and finding the support they need.
For all the people out there writing about their own experiences of anxiety and depression (alongside other conditions), there are still many more who aren't ready to share- and that's fine. It's a very personal thing to write about your own health. But knowing there are lots of people writing and reading about mental health in the blogging world, I thought I would share with you all a website I came across - Anxiety United.
As I've mentioned, mental health is an area I'm very interested in supporting and I discovered Anxiety United on Twitter. I was instantly impressed with what they were doing- offering a website for people dealing with anxiety to come together and support one another. Psychiatric services (the branch of healthcare that deals with mental health) are under huge strain right now, so these additional things can often be of huge importance in helping people with the day to day things.
Anxiety United now have over 1,000 members- entirely built up by the hard work put in by its creators. That's a lot of experience to draw on to advise and help each other. These members are people at all different stages- from those not yet diagnosed with anxiety disorders, to those receiving help and to those who are at a stage of recovery. Despite its ever growing size, the team behind it are still very much a part of the community and are genuinely supportive of anyone in need of help or encouragement.
There are forums where people can ask questions or simply write about how they're feeling, and plenty of replies from other members offering kind words, advice and support. The sense of community on the website is one of the strongest things about it. There is an incredible level of understanding among the members, and a real feeling of positivity and belief that anxiety does not need to rule your life.
There is also a 'Get Social' section, a social networking type site where people can post updates and chat to one another- either on or off the topic of anxiety. They have hepfully provided resources to help cope with anxiety- podcasts, meditation videos, recommendations of books and articles and links to other websites that are helpful.
On top of all of these things, there are blogs written by members on all aspects of their stories and how they manage their conditions. Dealing with a mental health condition can often make people feel very alone, and these blogs are an excellent reminder of the fact that other people out there are going through the same ups and downs.
The work being done by Billy and Alex is truly amazing, totally inspiring and altogether quite literally a lifesaver for some people.
If you're experiencing anxiety- diagnosed or not- and want to be part of a supportive network of people looking out for each other, then I cannot recommend this website enough.
If you're in the UK and are experiencing any problems with feeling anxious, low, unwanted thoughts or any other difficulties, you can seek help from your GP, counselling services, websites such as www.mind.org.uk and the Samaritans (08457 90 90 90).