Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, and seeing this pop up on my social media as a hash tag made me want to share part of my story.
After a traumatic accident at work, I was left with horrific flashbacks, panic attacks, and my anxiety was suffocating me. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep and I cried continuously.
I knew I couldn't go on like this, and I desperately wanted to 'get better' for the sake of my family, and all of the friends who were supporting me. Did I want to get better for myself? I suppose I did. But more than anything I wanted to escape from the living hell I was trapped inside.
I remember my first appointment with a counsellor vividly...
Tears were stotting down my cheeks. I know this because I remember the look the receptionist gave me. I'd probably cried the whole way there in the car, but I'd stopped noticing the tears a long time ago.
The double doors at the end of the corridor had a large sign above them which simply said:
Two words that nearly stopped me from going any further. Two words that, in my head, meant I was failing. I was a mother, a wife, a teacher. I was a strong woman, a modern woman, a woman who was in control. But I couldn't be any of those things if I walked through those doors. Strong women don't need help with their mental health. We look after ourselves. We take smear tests. We check our breasts. We are in control.
My identity was crumbling around me.
It's been two years since I found the courage to step through those doors, and it changed my life so much for the better. One of the most important things I learned was that talking about mental health is vital.
It took me a long time, but I now see that facing up to my anxiety and depression was the bravest thing I could ever do. Getting help was, in fact, the very opposite of failing.
Emma Mooney is a writer of Scottish contemporary fiction and is the author of A Beautiful Game. and Wings to Fly.