& the sun rises; finding comfort in the chaos

Mental health is something that is never ending, and is something that intertwined with almost every move we make in life. It is like a dark storm, made up of thunder, lightning and even strong winds. Friendships, jobs, relationships, opportunities; all affected by the storm inside. Now I know this I realise how powerful the darkness can be, and how life changing the storm can be.

I feel the light some days, I’ll look around and feel the warmth surrounding me, touching my skin and realise how beautiful it really is, and in that moment I realise that the darkness is gone, if only for a moment. I think that is what makes the light so beautiful. It creeps up on you, like a sunrise and even though we don’t see it or feel it everyday, it still rises everyday in hopes we do catch a glimpse and see the beauty.

It is so easy to forget those moments, especially when the darkness comes flooding back in and it feels like reality hits us again. I hope in the future that the light outweighs the dark, that we see more sunrises and less dark stormy skies.

Mental Health Resources

Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition. Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm) Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder. Website: www.bipolaruk.org.uk

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight) Website: www.thecalmzone.net

Charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups. Website: www.depressionalliance.org

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email. Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. Website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm) Website: www.mind.org.uk

Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline. Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm) Website: www.nopanic.org.uk

Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources. Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5pm) Website: www.ocdaction.org.uk

A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments. Phone: 0845 120 3778 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm) Website: www.ocduk.org

Young suicide prevention society. Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri,10am to 5pm & 7 to 10pm. Weekends 2 to 5pm) Website: www.papyrus-uk.org

Rethink Mental Illness Support and advice for people living with mental illness. Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm) Website: www.rethink.org

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30 to 10.30pm) Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: http://www.sane.org.uk/textcare Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum Website: www.sane.org.uk/support

Writing ‘& the sun rises;’ I have shared the ugly parts and the bad parts and everything in between. No one wants to share the ugly parts of their lives, in fear of appearing vulnerable and weak. Over the last few weeks I have learnt that actually, by sharing those exact things it becomes the opposite. It feels like a weight has been lifted a little, my heart and head feel a little lighter, so I urge you all to speak out about your own experiences, stop hiding how you feel in fear of being outcast and alone.

Being vulnerable leads to great strength and courage. By opening ourselves up to others, you also open yourself up to joy, love, support and human connection. You open yourself up to light.

I urge you to find the courage to be brave, to ask for help. Remember that even though you may not recognise who you are right now, it is still your job to love yourself and fuel the fight, because no-one will do it for you.

During the inevitable ups and downs that life throws your way, you will find who you truly are. You will find where harmony lies and where chaos is no longer comfortable. Accept your life for what it has been and move forward knowing where you have come from. You cannot change what has happened. You can learn and you can grow.

I want to thank everyone who has read any post or part of this series. Any one who let me share a little piece of myself with them. I want to thank Kelly-Hope for pushing me to open up and not only be honest with you all, but really be honest with myself and for supporting all my thoughts and doubts and struggles.

I also want to thank everyone in my life who supports me, and offers kindness and love always.

I may not have fixed my self with this series, but I certainly found comfort in the chaos.

Lots of love, S x

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