Girl, Interrupted

©JODIE GOODACRE

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In Your Corner

April 4, 2017

 

*NOTE DUE TO RECENT LAYOUT CHANGE THE FORMAT HAS CHANGED, I WILL FIX THIS ASAP* 

Mental Health Problems are challenging, and can feel incredibly scary but having that person (or people) in your corner can provide comfort and in many cases also strengthens the relationship. It is not about having a person to 'fix' you, it is about having someone that provides support, no matter on what scale, whether it be sending a text without expecting a response or taking them for a spa weekend. It does not have to be a huge gesture, small things make a huge difference so grab a stool and get in your mates corner!

 

58 wonderful individuals have shared with me about how much of an impact having someone in their corner has had on them. I hope that this highlights how a seemingly small gesture can make such an incredibly huge difference. 

 

For more information on this wonderful campaign see Time to Change for videos, resources and more! 

 

 

P.S I Love You, The Friend Edition

 

"When I was 16 years old I was headed towards a month's hospital stay, terrified of what was around the corner. I knew that the coming weeks would be day in day out full of psychological intervention. Along with the fear of being 160 miles away from home I knew that the emotions I'd been pushing to the surface were bound to rise. I was not ready, I was understandably apprehensive and wondered how I could get myself out of going to hospital. Day 1 came around, isolated from my friends who were all living their lives as normal back home I didn't feel connected. That was until I was left a note on my pillow, one for every single morning that I was inpatient for. My friend, Paige had written a motivational, uplifting and personal handwritten letter to be left on my pillow each morning. She was 160 miles away and yet she made me feel so much less isolated, it gave me a reason to fight another day, I was excited to see what the next letter had written on it. I've often been told that it is quite literally the friendship version of 'P.S I Love You'. This was an act of kindness that I will never forget and it made an incredibly difficult time just a little bit easier" - Jodie Goodacre

 

 

I felt less isolated

 

"Being a male affected by mental health is difficult. Ive found the thing that helps with my mental health struggle the most is talking, and guess what? Guys don't seem to talk much...especially about our thoughts and feelings. I am very lucky to have two male friends that are in my corner, who have suffered from their own mental health challenges. The occasional man date has made the world of difference to me. Its helped with making me feel less alone and given me an opportunity to talk to someone about my struggle. 

Many of my friends and most of my support network is online, so having one or two people I can talk to 'in real life' has helped me to feel less isolated. Thanks for being in my corner guys!" - Mike Douglas 

 

To see more from Mike please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @Mike_Douglas_

 

 

A stronger version 

 

"Speaking out when you have anxiety is a crippling process. Anxiety has this incredible power to stunt your ability to deploy common sense in situations where common sense is the answer. For me, I learned that speaking to people was my way of assuring myself that my clouded vision wasn't forcing me to make rash or wrong decisions. I'm thankful and lucky enough to have had a support system of people, just like me, who understood, didn't judge my journey and, ultimately, helped create a stronger willed version of myself. The version of me which had been blanketed with fears, doubts which funded my self-sabotage for so long. Without speaking out to people that I trust, or even to people who reached out to me, I wouldn't be where I am today. It's one of the key pillars on which you build your foundation of self-care on. I implore you to speak when you feel lost. Even if it scares you: just do it. I understand it's hard, trust me, I've been there but, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, it's worth every moment of pain for the chance of a better life. If you ever feel alone or feel as if you just need advice on coping with a new and difficult situation, feel free to tweet me" - Ryan Ritchie 

 

To see more from Ryan please follow him on twitter @NoMoreGremlins

 

 

Don't Man Up

 

"My Fiancée has been there for me in my darkest times and I couldn't of asked for more just a cuddle or a cuppa tea helps out massively, the stigma behind mental health makes it hard for us guys to speak out so #DontManUp and #OpenUp"- Oli Regan
 

To see more from Oli please follow him on twitter @OliRegan

 

 

 

 

Strength to fight another day

 

"When I’m unwell, it isn’t just my symptoms that are hard. I can’t work properly, I struggle with my finances, my relationships suffer and it can feel like my whole world is falling apart. My friends reaching out and sending me a message, tagging me in a meme, or coming to visit me makes such a difference. My partner putting the duvet on me on the sofa and popping a film on, calling the doctors for me when I can’t face it or taking me for an ice cream. My parents telling me they love me, that they’re there for me. Having people in my corner hasn’t cured my Bipolar, but it’s given me the strength to fight another day, to get back up and keep trying. It doesn’t take something big to be in someone’s corner, I’ve had a text that has saved my life, a hug that has got me up and to my appointments. Having a Mental Health problem is scary, it’s hard and it’s lonely. It’s even worse if people aren’t on your side. Be in someone’s corner and let them know they’re not alone, they're loved, and hope and happiness is possible. Your support can give them the strength to live another day and to face their Mental Health problem head on, not a bad result for a cup of tea or a text." - Katie 'Tiger' Bambury 

 

To see more from Katie please follow her on twitter @katie_bamburs

 

 

I was lost, I have now been found

 

"When I experienced my lowest low last August/September I felt lost. No person alive seemed to understand what I was going through or didn’t want to understand. It felt like I was falling in a big black hole. But then I took part in a mental health twitter chat: #TalkMH. Through that chat I got a lot of support and I met new people. People who felt the same or went through what I was going through at one point. Male and female friends supported me. They would let me know how much worth I was and still am. They made me feel appreciated, loved and cared for. Those friends have made my life so much better and more complete. I once was lost and now I’m found. It’s often said that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it. Well I had no idea where I was in the darkness, but meeting all those lovely people changed that. They took my hand and together we are on the path to the light. They are in my corner." - Marc Lamberts

 

To see more from Marc please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @lambertsmarc

 

 

Be the difference to their fight 

 

"Suffering from mental health problems can be one of the most isolating, scary and lonely times in a persons life. If you can be in that persons corner, that will make a huge difference to their fight." - James Woods

 

 

To see more from James please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @jamesofthinking

 

 

My goals stayed in sight

 

"I had two friends who I felt were in my corner. When I was first diagnosed, I remember feeling so different and just craved normality. These two friends treated me with kindness! They checked in on how I was feeling and they encouraged me when I was struggling. More importantly they treated me like nothing had changed, that I was still the same Luke to them! Having the support of those close to me, helped me come to terms with my mental health. It helped me realise that I shouldn't be encumbered by my mental health and should still continue towards my goals. Always try and reach out to your friends, you never know which one of them is the most in need. A simple “How are you doing really?” can be a real difference." - Luke Watkin

 

 

She was my rock

 

"When I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression during my final year of university, I struggled to come to terms with what was happening. I was extremely unwell and ultimately unable to continue my final year. It was an incredibly isolating and scary time in my life. However, throughout, my Mum was there for me. She was my rock. I was at university in Nottingham but my parents lived in Manchester. She was up and down the motorway regularly because I needed her support so much. Sometimes I could barely get out of bed, but she'd encourage me to do some of the most simple things, like eat lunch. I'm not sure if she hadn't been there, I would have summoned the strength to get out of bed at all. I felt like I could tell her all of my deepest and darkest fears without judgement. It must have been very difficult to hear her own daughter going through such a cycle of self-loathing. She never ever gave up on me and showed me the true meaning of unconditional love. No matter how bad some of my days were, I knew she was always there and ready to listen. One of the most difficult parts of having a mental health issue, is the feeling of loneliness and isolation. You could be surrounded by a large group of people and feel like you're completely alone. Having someone close to you, to talk to and listen without fear of judgement or ridicule is so important. It can make that feeling of isolation just a little more bearable. Having someone in your corner to offer unconditional support can mean the world." - Lauren Quig

 

To see more from Lauren please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @laurenquig90

 

 

Life doesn't feel as hard to face

 

 "Time To Change have launched the campaign, 'In Your Corner' to highlight again how important it is to be there for your mates and loved ones when they need you the most but feel like they can't necessarily ask for help. For me, the person I would like to highlight is Rachel Ellis. Although she has her own problems to deal with, she is always there for me, day or night (we're both night owls even though we often wish we could sleep 'normally' lol) and I don't know what I would do without her.

The good thing about Rachel (or 'Kel' as I affectionately call her) is that she doesn't pander to my self-pity and stops me wallowing in sadness. Rach is proactive and offers sound, practical and honest advice, forcing me to challenge my thoughts and realise that I'll be okay. She's there at the end of a WhatsApp message, a phone call if either of us feel desperate and we frequently have full blown audio message conversations. I've been able to get through job applications, reply to backlogs of emails and tackle life-changing worries and decisions because Rach has been there for me, virtually held my hand through it all and reminded me that it'll all be okay.

It makes a big difference knowing someone is there for you because in those moments where you feel so low and like the world is against you (even your own brain!), it's comforting you're never actually alone. Someone has always got your back, no matter how tough ahead the road looks. That's what it's like being friends with Rachel. I know we'd support each other through anything. So my advice to you, reading this right now? Yes, you. Talk to your friends and loved ones. Whether you need support or you've noticed that they may be going through a difficult time, let them know you're there. It can be as big as going for lunch and a day out to as small as a text at 3 am telling them you love 'em and you care. Do the little things so the big things in life don't seem as hard to face." - Richard Taylor

 

To see more from Richard please check out his blog here ,his youtube here and follow him on twitter @RichBiscuit21

 

 

A simple coffee date

 

 

"Last summer my mental health deteriorated and I needed to see my GP about it but I was too scared! My best friend Katie, who I've known since I was born came with me to the doctors multiple times and supported me through it all. She made my summer much more enjoyable and made sure I got out of the house and I don't know what I'd do without her! Without her I would've spent the summer indoors alone with nothing too keep my mind occupied!
Then later last year I met Rich through a mental health group chat on Twitter. 6 months later and we're in a very happy relationship. He supports me through everything and gives me a reason to push on everyday! He makes the future look much more positive and I love him so much! We support each other and help each other fight our mental illnesses, like we're a team pushing on together and getting better by the day!

Supporting someone who is struggling with their mental health is so important. A simple coffee date, phone call or day out can do the world of good! Having that support there can make fighting your mental illness a lot easier. You feel less alone and isolated even when you feel like your mind is screaming and crying out for help.
If you think a loved one is struggling with their mental health, drop them a message, invite them out for a catch up, believe me it helps." - Sophie Edwards

 

To see more from Sophie please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @PetalsOfPerfect, instagram @petalsofperfection and check out her you tube channel here

 

 

Support and no judgement

 

"Since leaving school around 8 years ago, I lost contact with previous friends and struggled to make any new ones as I isolated myself further because of a variety of reasons, which lead to me never having an outlet to talk about my mental health. Until I entered counselling a few years ago, I didn’t really discuss my mental health and even then it was small steps for me as I could go months without seeing my counsellor if I wanted too. A year and a half ago, however, I began a postgraduate course at university and decided to take it upon myself to try and make connections with people on my course and at the very least have some people to socialise with, which I managed to do and in particular one person I met on my course was someone who I felt I could talk too and get on with both at and outside of university.

While I haven’t been explicit in all my mental health problems that I face with this friend, I have talked about having depression and regular bouts of anxiety with them, and what they have done hasn’t been anything huge, but instead they have just listened to me when I’ve had problems, been there to support me and just been a friend when that’s what I needed. Without their support I think I definitely would have struggled more at university and struggled more to take up opportunities like being a Young Champion for Time to Change. Just having someone there who you can meet up with and who you know will listen to you without judging you is a great thing." - Peter Shaw

 

To see more from Peter please follow him on twitter @pjshaw192

 

 

She understands me

 

 "The friend who would walk around the city with me on my lunch break until I’d gotten my anxiety and thoughts back under control. No questions asked. The friend who gave me their book on CBT and I realised that I wasn’t the only person dealing with this. I read the book, it didn’t help – but I understood things a bit better. My wife, who wouldn't say she understands anxiety, but she does understand me, when it is likely to happen and why I go quiet and disengage sometimes. The manager who recognised what I was going through and arranged for me to see someone they trusted. I have never looked back from this moment. The friends and family who would come round when things really got on top of me. At times I don’t think they knew what to do, but they were there and that was really all that mattered." - Richard Morely

 

To see more from Richard please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @rjsm82

 

 

Aided my recovery

 

"Before coming to Uni, I attended a support group ran by the mental health provider Sussex Oakleaf and this aided my recovery with Depression and Anxiety since I was able to meet likeminded people experiencing the same or similar difficulties as myself. I'm grateful to each and every member of the group and really enjoyed the time we went bowling!" - Anonymous 

 

 

A man to man chat helped 

 

"My brother-In-Law has been in my corner as he himself suffered anxiety so knew what I was going through. Even if he dragged me down the local for a quick pint and a manly chat it always helped take my mind off things. He has lived in Singapore for the last 4 years now but they are coming back in April so I cant wait for that. My little niece and nephews are my world and I miss them loads. A simple text now and again is all it takes. When you suffer MH you feel so alone and isolated. Over the years I have lost touch with all my friends as they just didn't understand. The odd text from my Sister or Brother-in-Law really cheer me up and I cant wait to see them. If you know someone out there who is suffering with MH pick up the phone, pick them up and take them the pub whatever small gesture it is and let them know its OK to not be OK." - Richard

 

To see more from Richard please follow him on twitter @MyJourneyBrez

 

 

They don't need to be experts

 

"My parents have been amazing at being in my corner throughout my struggles with my mental health. They're always there with a supportive text, a cute picture, for their hug of the day or an hour long phone call when I need them and I cant them enough for it as thats all it takes! They're not mental health experts and they don't need to be, they're just there in my corner to help me stay strong and see the positives in every day." - Casie Mills

 

 

Patience and Understanding

 

"Are you there? It’s a text that I’ve sent Jack so many times when I’ve been overwhelmed, when the world has felt too terrifying to face, when I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep coping with daily life, and I’ve yet to not receive a reply. Over the whole of our friendship, no matter how ill I was, no matter how little sense I made, he has faced every conversation we’ve had with more caring, patience and understanding than I could ever have hoped for. Having that space free of judgement, along with the puns and funny pictures he sent, the “I hope you’re okay” texts, the visits when I was in hospital, the knowledge that he was proud of me just for existing, made life seem, even just a little bit, more bearable. No matter what he did or said, I was still going to have mental health problems, but what he did, and said, along with many other wonderful friends, made sure I knew I didn’t have to face them by myself. Regardless of how awful life felt, I knew when Jack said “I’m here if you need”, he really was, as a safety net, as a constant when it felt like everything was changing, as someone who I’m so grateful to call my friend. Mental health problems can make a person feel incredibly alone and isolated, but that doesn’t mean they should have to be. Even the smallest acts, a text, a funny picture, a conversation without judgement, can have a massive impact." - Daniela Beck

 

To see more from Daniela please follow her on twitter @DanielaBeck_

 

 

He helped me feel safe

 

"Whilst my bipolar undoubtedly has a significant and near constant impact on my life, it’s one that I’ve spent more than ten years learning to manage. Over the years I’ve struggled in different ways, against various different symptoms of my illness, and I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences. I’m fortunate now that I can talk openly but it wasn’t always the case, and when I was first diagnosed with depression ten years ago I didn’t feel I knew how to talk about it. And it’s not always the talking, sometimes it’s small actions that let you know people are there. I’ll never forget being agoraphobic and unable to leave house, gradually working my way up to travelling between safe spaces and often retreating into the safety of my bed because the world can just be a bit too daunting. One friend in particular didn’t really get my depression, I mean I didn’t really either, but he used to come round all the same. He would play games with me for hours when I didn’t want to go anywhere, and when I did he would walk to my house, meet me, and walk with me to wherever we might be going. Even if that was all the way back to his house. Over time my agoraphobia lifted, and maybe I could’ve done it without him, but he accelerated the process and he helped me feel safe. So if people want to talk, let them talk, be engaged and ask questions. But if they don’t, let them be, but do something with them. Let them know that they are still the person you want in your life, even if they don’t feel like that person at the moment. And be practical, because often it’s the practical things that are the hardest when you’re in that pit of despair." - Ross Nation

 

 

My mother helped me find peace

 

"My mother has been there for me more than anyone else. She has supported me through every diagnosis, through every meeting and through every dark moment. She has has always been there in a way I have struggled to find in others. Her constant support and understanding has allowed me to finally reach a peace with my mental health. " - Chris

 

 

He was so caring

 

"I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by people to support me with my mental health, but not everybody is as fortunate. Mental health is still seen as a taboo subject, one people are too afraid to talk about or approach, often leaving people with nobody to go to. Looking back at those who have supported me I am reminded of all the times I truly needed someone, the times when I dread to think what could have happened without them there. I remember my first panic attack but at the time I didn’t know it was a panic attack, I didn’t know what was happening. My arms and hands completely tingling, my chest so tight I felt as though each breath would be my last, I know that sounds a little dramatic but it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I was with my dad, he was driving us both home. Looking back, I am surprised at how he responded. He was very calm and told me to take deep breaths. He asked if I wanted to stop but I shook my head as I just wanted to get home, I could tell that he did to. Once we were home he didn’t leave me until I had calmed my breathing down, even then he asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. He was so caring and it was very reassuring to know he was there for me and that I was not alone. After I had settled my dad continued to talk about it. Together we tried to figure out why it happened and spoke about what I could do if it happened again. My dad has been in my corner ever since, we are able to talk openly about mental health and I always know he is there for me." - Nicole Williams 

 

To see more from Nicole please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @_nicolesjourney

 

 

My biggest supporter

 

"One person that has always been there for me is my dad. He has always been my biggest supporter, he came to all my appointments, visited me in hospital every day, and has always always always done his best for me and my sisters. He used to pop down to the shops when I was having a bad day and buy me a ready meal diet coke and chocolate, he used to drive me up to London when I was sad so that I could see the night lights, and he would let me listen to my favourite music in the car. It was huge for me to have my dad there all the time, because without him advocating for me, I wouldn't have got the help I needed and I don't know if i would till be here. Without him I wouldn't have been able to keep up with school, I wouldn't have any independence, I wouldn't be where i am. My advice is that even though its hard, try and talk to your parents, they might be more supportive than you think. You don't have to go through this alone." - Nikki Mattocks

 

To see more from Nikki please follow her on twitter @ducksdietcoke

 

 

I felt supported

 

"In 2016 I lost my baby sister, my two year old sister has cancer, I bought a house with my girlfriend but she left me and I suffered from sciatica. So it was a tough. This then impacted my mental health which had negative impacts on my work. Thankfully my work colleagues have been brilliant, offering me support when I needed it the most. They gave me time off, they said I can step outside whenever I needed it and they always offered to talk through my problems. They were so kind and weren’t judgmental in the slightest. For months I kept everything to myself which made me feel claustrophobic. This caused me to have a total meltdown. Having people there allows me to unload all my thoughts and feelings, like letting the beast out of the cage. I feel supported and happy knowing I have people looking out for me. Without their support I would have lost my job, I would have been in a darker place. I have spent most of my life being there for others, whether that’s family, friends or through my blog. I am always looking out for other people, one person I didn’t look out for was me. It’s tough and takes a lot of courage but you need to talk to someone you can trust, you need someone to help keep you focused. In an Ed Sheeran song he says “So before I save someone else, I've got to save myself”. Speak out, let someone in. I want to thank Jodie for giving me this opportunity, she is truly amazing." - Josh

 

To see more from Josh please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @UnitedAs1Voice

 

 

 A peer support group gave me confidence

 

"After I was diagnosed many of my friends treated me very differently. Only after going to a peer support group did I  find people who really understood what I was going through. Through the help of all of them and one member in particular I have managed to regain the confidence that was lost. Luke has stuck by me through thick and thin, guiding me through my journey of mental health. Whether it be dragging me out swimming or going for a coffee he has always made himself my friend. His constant optimism and understanding have helped me through!" - Jason

 

 

I felt supported

 

"My most recent battle with mental illness has seen me introduce a new tactic - telling people about it. Scary as that sounds it is one of the best tactics I could ever have employed, as contrary to how it feels when things are bad, I'm not alone; I really do have friends who are in my corner. Difficult as the fight can be, this 'team Barry ' is what I think will swing the my way. My friends at work have enabled to carry on with my normal life instead of being beaten down in the corner. One of the first I told was Zoe - she was there to me at the start when I was unable to reply 'I'm ok' with any believable conviction to her everyday enquiry 'how are you today?' when I fell I'll again. Her patience, understanding, compassion and support during that first conversation was what persuaded me to tell others. She didn't try to solve the situation, because she knew not to underestimate it and gloss over it, but she did make it clear that I would get through it, and that she'd be there all the way. She proved this a few months in, when I was going down hill, and the psychiatric crisis team wanted me at the hospital for assessment. It was a simple case of her being there as I prepared to head off, and saying 'how about I come with you?' Of chatting to me about what she would usually chat to me about while we were on the train. Of holding me and letting me cry when I came out, then taking me for a milkshake after. All my friends at work have stayed my friend through all this. Some, like my friend Beth, are ready to spot when things go wobbly, and offer support before it's asked for, to talk me through what I have achieved so far, to remind me that a bad period is temporary lapse, and won't last because I am a stronger person who is further along the road to winning than I was when it all started. Then she will take the micky out of me, and bring the real Barry out. And that's what my friends who have been in my corner have really done - they've not just stayed my normal friends, they've kept me - their normal friend, the real Barry - in existence." - Barry Charleton

 

To see more from Barry please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @bazcharleton

 

 

A friendship that diluted the darkness

 

"Depression and anxiety are isolating illnesses; they make you feel lonely and underserving of love. For me, I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems or, as stupid as it may sound, to infect their lives with my presence; my two best friends helped me feel worthwhile and that I was a positive influence in their lives. We met in halls during the first year of university; there were 18 of us all living in the same flat and, it most definitely wasn’t as bad as it sounds, we all got along (99% of the time) and we were close. Come second year, we split off into 3 houses but remained equally close but as I became ill, I became distant and lost more and more contact with the group. A random Wednesday in third year, they asked if anyone fancied going out for a meal. I decided to go, it ended up just being the 3 of us and I confessed all – it was the first time I had voluntarily told anyone about my illness. I had previously been to ashamed to tell anyone that I didn’t have to, I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak or less capable. I don’t regret telling them, it was the best decision I had made. I found people who I could be imperfect with, be sad with, be happy with, ultimately I had found a friendship that involved no judgment and as we like to joke we can be messes together. I often found nighttime to be the most difficult and they were always there, offering me a place to stay if I didn’t want to be alone, random texts and probably the time I am must grateful for is randomly calling me at a time, unbeknownst to them, I was extremely suicidal. After becoming extremely ill, I had to take a month off university so graduated in the winter ceremony rather than summer ceremony; I didn’t want to go, I didn’t think I deserved to go or that I had achieved anything, I had to take a month off of doing the work I love and I couldn’t forgive myself for this but they encouraged me to go and ensured I had a fabulous day. It helped me come to terms with what had happened and to accept that it didn’t affect my intelligence. They made the whole day about me and made me feel like a badass Queen (tiara included). Ultimately, they didn’t give up and so neither did I. It may be difficult and exhausting but if you love someone don’t give up on them. Having someone in your corner gives you someone to battle the demons with and whilst it doesn’t make anything better, it does make it more bearable. And when everything seems unachievable and dark, little moments of happiness and friendship dilute the darkness and make all the difference." - Anonymous 

 

 

He stayed by my side

 

"Sometimes we all need to feel there is someone there to support us in a time of vulnerability without fear of judgement or stigma. Having the confidence of knowing that someone will be there will help someone more than you can ever imagine. I relied heavily on my husband in the past. He stuck with me at the early stages of our relationship when I had a psychotic episode. I expected him to run for the hills – but he stayed by my side with huge love and respect. This helped in my recovery so I completely understand how it feels to have someone in your corner." - Tina McGuff

 

To see more from Tina please check out her book here and follow her on twitter @TinaMcGuff

 

 

It gave me the confidence I needed to grow

 

"I have experienced anxiety and OCD for over 20 years, so lots of people have been there for me with my mental health struggles. I have had great support from my family, partner, and clinical professionals, but the biggest and most surprising change came about with support from a new boss. A few years ago I was really struggling in many aspects of my life, and I knew I needed to change. For me that change meant a new job in central London. Even the idea of an interview magnified my travel anxiety, and I actually ended up walking 5 miles just to get there. Eventually, I was offered the job, but I thought I would have to turn it down. The thought of the commute, the change, and the new responsibilities had me in a state of panic. It was then I decided I simply had to be honest with my new boss. They couldn’t have been more supportive. They were open to flexible hours, they reassured me about the role. After taking the job, they were always in my corner. They would discreetly excuse me from things I would find difficult, gently push me towards things to challenge me, and be a constant and open ear for support. Having them there gave me the confidence I needed to grow and overcome some of my fears, and I’ll always be thankful for it." - Peter Wright

 

To see more from Peter please check out his website here and follow him on twitter @utopastac

 

 

Sometimes you need an extra hand

 

"When I was going through depression at the beginning of my teens I was relying on social media. I made some strong connections with people who I could trust, because I know my secrets were safe with them. These friends provided support at any time of the day, they encouraged me to get help, when I was self harming and thought I had an infection they'd make me show them. They gave me advice, they helped me at my lowest point. Having someone around had made a massive difference to my depression. I felt less alone, I felt as if someone truly cared when I felt like nobody did and it showed me that I have something to fight for. Without their support I don't think I would be alive today, and that's honest, to this day I still class those friends that I once made on twitter my best friends because they've done so much for me and I am forever grateful. I came out as transgender in 2013 and I don't think I would of been able to do that without their positive comments and lastly I don't think I would have sought help if they did encourage me. It is so important to be in someone's corner when they are experiencing mental health issues because it shows them that they're not alone, sometimes all we need is someone to rant with, or a shoulder to cry on. When you're alone and suffering with a mental health issue it can cause your illness to slowly kill you from the inside out and nobody deserves that. Having a mental health issue is just like breaking an arm, you sometimes need an extra hand until you're well enough to support yourself." - Alex Jones

 

To see more from Alex please follow him on twitter @Self_made_AJ_

 

 

There was no pressure 

 

"At the start of my volunteering activism, I became part of two very special youth projects (for me anyway) that became vital in the opportunities I got involved with later. Linda (not her real name) was the youth worker who oversaw these projects. While I would generally feel happy to be part of the group meetings and getting on with the work to complete, I would occasionally feel anxious or stressed about issues with my situation at college or anything that might be happening from home. Although I was checked to make sure I was okay, there was no pressure to reveal anything that was going on and to take my own time. I would also occasionally get things wrong, like being too blunt in how I might speak to people sometimes, and Linda would challenge me on these points that could cause problems later on. Though at the time it could feel awkward, I appreciate honest feedback from people that allow me to learn from that later. As a professional relationship, as any for youth workers and young people should be, I am very grateful to her for being in my corner at that time in my life." - Jack Welch

 

To see more from Jack please follow him on twitter @MrJW18

 

 

She helped me to seek help

 

"There's one person who has been there for me all the way through my battle with mental health and still is. She is my closest friend I have.  She has been there for me as a person to speak to, a shoulder to cry on, someone to make me feel comfortable when I'm out in public or going to the doctors. It's made such a difference for me to have someone like her, if I didn't then honestly I probably wouldn't be here. If she wasn't there for me, I probably wouldn't of built up the courage to actually seek help for my mental health, and I probably wouldn't be in the middle of CBT." - Liam Stephen

 

To see more from Liam please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @liamstephen_

 

 

He inspires me

 

"Josh has been in my corner since he knew about my panic disorder. He has always been there for me when I needed him, and he never thought any different of me if he saw me having a panic attack. He knows when I'm feeling anxious and knows what to do. He inspires me to keep going and is so understanding. It's made a huge difference in my mental illness knowing I can talk to him whenever and he's there if I'm panicking. I couldn't get through some nights without having him. Sometimes, I might have a panic attack when I'm with him, he will immediately start making me laugh. He will help me with my breathing and calm me down. And what makes it all okay is we still love each other through it its so important to be there for someone you love, whether its your partner or your best friend, your son or your sister. It can change their life, just like Josh changed mine." - Heidi Williams

 

 

Blanket Forts

 

"My own struggles with Mental Health have slowly mounted up since graduating from university five years ago and since then, I feel as though I’ve regressed in terms of my confidence levels and self-esteem - while things like volunteering for the Youth Hostelling Association have helped in the interim with some ‘feel good moments’, one person that has always been there for me is my best friend Allie who, despite living miles away from me and only being able to physically see each other once or twice a year due to conflicting work schedules, she has, for the last five years has always been contactable by phone, text or Tweet if I’m having a low day and never fails to be in my corner. She’s always been on hand with great company, a blanket fort, ice-cream, a stack of retro games and Disney animated films for when I don’t feel like I can face the outside world - and is always there to help me rationalise what is making me feel anxious and slowly put me back together against feeling strong enough to take on what the world has to throw at me. Without my best friend in my corner, I don’t think I’d have ever built up the courage to discuss how I’ve been feeling with my family - who are my more immediate support network for other unrelated health issues - so, for that, I’m truly grateful to her. Having someone #InYourCorner, in my experience, is highly valuable because - when Mental Health issues can leave you feel alone, isolated and in dark places with a distorted view of the outside world - it’s such a wonderful thing to have a ‘sounding board’ for you to bounce your worries off and allow people who care about you and have your best interests to help you untangle the mess that you can wrap yourself up in unintentionally; leaving you clear minded once more to go out and face what the world has to offer you." - Laurence Perks 

 

To see more from Laurence please follow him on twitter @Kneecapsruler

 

 

Constant support and reassurance

 

"Though I’m seriously lucky in that I have a lot of people in my corner (special shout out in particular to Rich, Maddy, Rach, Jess, Hanna and Siân for their support at the moment), I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents. It’s been a complicated “journey” and an especially difficult few years, and I’m so unbelievably grateful that I’m able to talk about mental illness with my mum and dad. I’ve been dealing with mental illness for as long as I can remember and my parents were there supporting me long before my diagnosis, and long before any of us knew what was “going on with me”. It’s impossible to sum up the ways in which my parents have supported me, but they were in my corner even through years and years of horrible mood swings, where the anger and sadness I experienced so often was (mis)directed at them. They were in my corner through all the awful bullying; no matter how bad it got, I knew I could go home to a safe and supportive home at the end of the school day. They were in my corner as I struggled through the first few years of university, missing seminars because I couldn’t get out of bed or face going in. They were in my corner even when my anxious brain told me I was letting them down. Dropping out of university in my final semester was a stressful, scary and mentally exhausting experience and I truly couldn’t have done it without their constant support and reassurance. They’ve been in my corner throughout the past few difficult years, and continue to be in my corner while I figure out how to move forward in terms of my career and my health. I owe my parents so much and I am endlessly grateful for their love even when things are difficult. If you’re struggling with mental illness and find yourself feeling isolated, my advice to you is this: you are never truly alone. There will always be someone who is willing to listen, to learn and to try to understand, even if that person is a “stranger” on the internet. Never underestimate the power of having someone in your corner, and never be afraid to track that person down; there is no shame in seeking support online if you don’t have friends or family to turn to or feel you can’t talk to those you have. If fear or feelings of shame or embarrassment are stopping you talking to the people you love, remember how many people are affected and trust that those who care about you will be there for you even if they don’t necessarily understand. Sometimes all it takes is admitting out loud that you’re struggling. There are people ready to be in your corner, known to you or not. You are not alone." - Rachel Ellis

 

To see more from Rachel please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter and instagram @rachelkellis

 

 

I am worthy of help

 

"The person who has been there for me the most is my wife. For the past 12 years of close friendship, she has been supportive, patient and kind. She understood my slow to change nature, as well as my various mental illnesses stemming from trauma. My wife always patiently encouraged me to talk with her about my life. She has also nudged me to go back to therapy after my psychiatrist had retired, once it was clear that I hadn’t healed enough from my trauma. It’s thanks to her that I started personal research and later to express myself through my blog, and more openly to friends as well as strangers. Lastly, she was there for our trips, and helped me through panic attacks. If it hadn’t been for my wife, I would’ve frankly ended my life, years ago. I was suffering from severe depression brought on by my trauma and despair was growing so much! Her patience and kindness have been instrumental in my ongoing processes and research which lead to going online, finding information and further support from other MH bloggers – and creating new friendships, both off &online. I wouldn’t have been able to go to Paris alone, twice last summer! I had panic attacks there, but she helped me through all. I wouldn’t even imagine a change in my condition. She initiated almost every single positive change in the past decade or so, and thanks to her persistent kindness, I’m not dead, or alive but recluse in my cave. I go out more often, including to the cinemas, parks, a few trips, developing friendships. It’s important to reach out, and believe that we are worthy of help. There are really kind people who will help us if we dare to ask, taking the courage to admit our momentary needs and fragility can lead to life changing – even saving and prolonging one’s life- beyond any previous expectations." - Lulu Blue

 

To see more from Lulu Blue please follow on them on twitter @LuluDigitale

 

 

A simple action can be lifesaving 

 

"My best friend has been a key part of helping me along my mental health journey. She is always there when I need to vent or let something go. She doesn't ask me questions unless I feel confident in answering. She would take the time out when I was in some of my worst times to just come and see me and give me a hug. I love her for all that she has done for me. Without her support I probably wouldn't be here and be having the aspiration to go off to university and do something I dream of. She kept me fighting and I cannot thank her enough for that. It's so important that when your friend is going through a tough time that you are there for them. The simplest of actions can sometimes be the most lifesaving and thoughtful to someone in a crisis. Be in your friends corner when they need you; you never know how much difference it can make." - Leah Barfield

 

To see more from Leah please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @leahbarfield

 

 

My best friend built my confidence 

 

"When people ask, who has been there throughout the years, always by my side, I often can easily recall my best friend being there for me through so many different times and never leaving. This is because she was also going through her own struggles but always found the time for me like I did her. Being in someone’s corner does not mean extravagant actions, more often than not, small acts make the largest differences, for us, it would be bringing each other chocolate and letting each other vent our frustrations, actively listening and wanting to understand. My best friend would often invite me out to help me build my confidence and grow friendships so I could then have a larger support network of amazing people; larger actions have occurred which involved her helping me through episodes.

The impact of all of this over the years has meant my life was literally saved, I learned to not be ashamed and stand up for myself when others wanted to shame and humiliate me, I built my confidence and can stand strong, those venting sessions meant I could learn to talk and express myself properly instead of repressing everything and making myself more ill. Without her, I could not be here today, I would not have such amazing friendships that I have built, I would not be so actively wanting to campaign and ensure others (who will be affected my mental illness at some point) have a positive experience and recovery.

If you know someone who is struggling, please do not think ignorance is bliss, all it takes is no more than two questions, “how are you?”, if they say fine ask, “really?” and from there you will find you may just save their life also. We just need people to want to understand and be willing to listen, from there you will find that small acts that increase their positivity will go an immense way and they will be thankful that someone cares. Having a mental illness can feel so isolating, we just need someone else around to feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel." - Leanne Smith

 

To see more from Leanne please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @woahitslea

 

 

Sometimes I just needed company 

 

"When I was going through the worst time at school my teacher Mr A (Alan) was always in my corner. This man always made time for me, even when he was at his busiest. No matter what he had going on he was always there for me. He knew what to say, even if that meant admitting that he didn't know what to say ! He would listen to me, even if I wasn't making any sense. Sometimes all I needed was a listening ear or someone who would reassure me that it was all going to be okay. I know I didn't give him the easiest of times, but I'm glad he never gave up on me and I'm super grateful for everything he ever did. The best thing is that even though I've left school and I'm much better than I was, I know that he'd still be there for me now and is still #inmycorner and I'm in his! Thank you Alan!

My best friend Nicole has also been my support for the last few years. In my darkest times she knew that just being there was helping me. Sometimes I didn't want to talk and all I needed was her company. She has taken me to doctors appointments and spoken for me if I couldn't bring myself to speak to them. She would help me speak to teachers about things. She would always be in my corner when things got tough. She still is all these things even though I'm not in such a bad place. I know that if I ever felt that way again she'd be there for me. She makes me realise that I am never alone in this. Thank you Nicole, I'll always be #inyourcorner " - Abbie Brewer

 

To see more from Abbie please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @AbbieVolunteers

 

 

Please be thoughtful

 

"The main person who comes to mind straight away when I think of who is in my corner the most, is my mum. If not for her love and support, while I was suffering with my eating disorder for two years, I wouldn't be here today. She gave me strength, when I emotionally and physically didn't have it. Everyday was a real battle to recover, each meal was a mental struggle, but she believed in me - when I believed all was lost. Having my mum beside me, when no one else understood what I was going through, is why I am able to tell you this right now. So please, be thoughtful and be active in other people's corners." - Abbey Swan

 

 

My support network was very important

 

"When i was poorly with OCD it was very important that I had a good support network , via Gp. and Psychiatrist. Including in that was wife , as was obtaining good knowledge about the Disorder and have encouragement with and during the CBT process." - Ash Curry

 

To see more from Ash please check out his blog here and follow him on twitter @AshleyCurryOCD

 

 

 

My supportive circle

 

"I’ve been so lucky to have such a supportive circle of close friends. When I was experiencing my most difficult mental health challenges, I was a university student living in a shared student house. Living in such close proximity to my housemates meant that I couldn’t exactly hide my mental health struggles, and I found that being open and honest was the best way to be moving forward. At first, just holding me whilst I sobbed uncontrollably in my darkest, depressed days seemed like the only thing they could do. But then something strange happened. The more open and honest we were about this taboo subject, the more humour we were able to incorporate into our discussions. Albeit very dark humour at times, my friends found that normalising concepts such as ‘suicide watch’ and ‘feeling dead behind the eyes’ made them less frightening, and therefore having less power over me. After I had been catatonic and in bed for days, it takes a true friend to say ‘you stink – go and wash’, and sometimes this brutal honesty can make you crack a smile when your face feels frozen in an expression of despair. I’m aware this approach to talking about mental health is an acquired taste, but the phrase ‘if you don’t laugh – you’ll cry’ never rings truer than when you live with a mental illness." - Hannah Lewis

 

To see more from Hannah follow her on twitter @hannahloo1234

 

 

My partner researched my illness

 

"For me my partner has been incredible, a person who has taken the time to find out about my illness bi-polar and made a great effort to understand how it functions. She is always open and easy to talk to and without her shoulder at times especially in the last few years I would have struggled further. A lot of this is down to me to manage but you cannot fathom the impact of having someone who can listen and understand by your side" - Lee House

 

To see more from Lee please check out his facebook here and follow him on twitter @hummingbirdy_

 

 

We talk everyday

 

"I’m thankful for my friend Josh, who I met through one of the various mental health chats on Twitter. He was and still is a very selfless person, who always lets people know they can message him if they need his help. One particular evening, I was feeling really low so reached out to him for support. He was very helpful and since then we’ve become the best of friends. We talk every day and are always there to support each other through anything that comes our way. He has supported me in so many ways, he dedicates a lot of time to helping me with the anxious thoughts that pop into my head or trying to lift me up on a day where I’m depressed. It feels so nice knowing that I can talk to Josh about anything and everything; I know I can rely on him. Without Josh, I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten the kick up the backside I needed to get on with uni work and overcoming anxious thoughts as quickly. Having a friend who is always there for you makes you feel less alone and more able to tackle everything. My advice to others reading this would be to try and be as supportive as you can when someone opens up to you about their mental health. It is possible that the person may have toyed with the idea for quite some time, and was nervous about your response to them opening up, so if possible offer to be there for them and listen to them. One of the biggest misconceptions is that if you don’t understand mental illness then you can’t be there for them but that isn’t the case. A little research on the illness or simply asking the person questions is an indication to that person that you really care!" - Laura Davis

 

To see more from Laura please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @lauradavis_96

 

 

A friend continued to show me love

 

"I feel that my friends were an important part in my recovery, I found that just having a friend that listened and didn’t judge me was the most helpful thing. A friend who just continued to show me they loved me meant a lot, a friend that still wanted to go out for coffee and encouraged me to go to the cinema with them. I believe that this was a crucial element of my recovery and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get through it without them. Without their positivity and encouragement, I don’t think i’d be where I am now or doing any of the exciting things i’m doing at the moment, so doing small things and showing care does go a really long way." - Bryony Hacker

 

 

The little things helped

 

"The person that helped me the most when I was struggling with my mental health was my mother. Although for a long time she did not understand what was wrong with me, she tried in her own way to make me feel better, even when she was struggling herself. Last year I had the worst year of my life. I would Skype her, crying about yet another thing that I thought I had failed or did wrong, and she did not tell me to stop crying, she would say 'cry it out, and then make a list of things you could do to fix it. What can be your next move?' I always struggled with that bit but she always made me think about my issue as a bump in the road rather than the end of a road. Having somebody there for me meant that I was able to cope with my anxiety and depression without doing anything harmful to myself, which I definitely would have done if nobody was around. She also helped me with things like eating regularly and getting enough sleep, as she would speak to me in the morning, forcing me to wake up early and to get enough sleep so that I was actually able to speak to her properly. My mother would always ask me what I had eaten, and this made me think about what I was putting into my body. These little things helped me get out of a bad situation. They encouraged me to fight the disorders and push through when it got too hard. If I didn't have someone there for me, I don't know where I would have been right now. This is why it is important to always be there for your friends, family and people that you know who are struggling. They might not say it but every time you call or text just to see how they are, you are improving their day. When it gets hard, don't leave them behind, encourage them to seek help or simply be the friend they need. Be their person so that they can be yours." - Mary Afanaswa

 

To see more from Mary please check out her blog here 

 

 

I had an amazing discussion about OCD

 

"2016 was the year I realised how important it is to be open about mental health. I began to discuss my personal struggles on my blog, and finally opened up to friends and family. The hardest step was opening up at work. I'd started a new job and didn't want to make a bad first impression. I had no choice but to tell my boss that I have weekly counselling sessions. He could not have been more supportive. A few weeks later I published a post about my experience with OCD. I was particularly proud of it so I decided to share it with my colleagues. What followed was an amazing discussion about OCD; they were kind, supportive, asked me questions and one colleague even confided that he has had similar experiences. In that moment I felt amazing. No-one was judging me, and I left work that day feeling understood and supported." - Mel

 

To see more from Mel please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @geekmagnifique

 

 

Determination to keep going

 

"One of the people who has been firmly in my corner throughout my battle with mental health issues, is my Mum. She has shown me unconditional love, and unwavering support every step of the way, and she continues to do so every day. She has helped me with basic things like cooking when it feels like too much. She's been there for me when I've sobbed on the way to hospital appointments and when life has felt overwhelming and unbearable. Knowing that she's got my back no matter what, has given me strength and determination to keep going. Even during times that I've been difficult to be around, she's never stopped supporting me - whether that means hugging me tightly or dragging me outside for a dog walk to clear my head. My Mum has been my rock. Without her support I genuinely don't think I would be here today, and I am so thankful to her for that. My Mum has been my biggest source of support for my when I've been mentally unwell, but I'm also very lucky to have some wonderful friends. I cannot stress enough how important it is to support your friends or loved ones when they face mental health issues. Knowing that you're not alone can make all the difference in the world. Reach out, ask how they are doing, and how you can help them - it doesn't take much but it can mean the world to someone who is struggling." - Liv

 

To see more from Liv please follow her on twitter @lr_242

 

 

You don't have to be a counsellor to support someone

 

"The person who has always been in my corner through my struggles with mental illness is my tutor at college. He was the first person outside my family/ blogging community I told about my battle with OCD, depression and anxiety. Ever since that day he's been there for me. He's never judged me, told me to just get on with it or made me feel inadequate. Very much the opposite. My tutor listened to me when I was struggling, scared and lost hope. He does whatever he can to help, he arranged catch ups every Friday with him so I don't feel alone or isolated. He's comforted me when I've been in floods of tears. He's laughed and joked with me on good days and supported me in getting the help I needed when I was going through my deepest of lows. Without him, I wouldn't of got the support I do from all my teachers, my parents would never of found out that I was struggling so much and I wouldn't of started the very long road to recovery. I owe him so much. I really do. It's made a massive difference to my mental health. Knowing that someone cares and is willing to take time out of their day to listen and talk to you, means the absolute world. My tutor isn't a counsellor or had years of experience in mental health. You don't have to be, to support someone. You just need to be there for them. A shoulder to cry on, a pair of open ears and a smile to comfort them. The simplest of things can make the world of difference to someone battling with mental illness, even if you don't know it." - Nicole Woodward

 

To see more from Nicole please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @beaut1fulchaos_

 

 

Keep talking, I urge you

 

"Sure, your family & friends may well be. Though, there are others, a whole group even that you may not have considered - the MH Community. It is growing, that much is true and I can think of no better inspiring force to really encourage others to speak out and just as crucially, support one another. No two people’s journeys are exactly the same, though we all have experience, guts, strength and determination that is all our own. Keep talking, I urge you." - Scott W

 

To see more from Scott please follow him on twitter @ScottMHC14

 

 

She is my number one fan 

 

"I have been fortunate enough to have quite a few people in my corner during my battle with my mental illness. However, recently my mum has been amazing. Whenever I need to talk she is there, she comes to visit with pretty flowers, my favourite chocolates and makes me laugh. If I want to talk about it I know I can but equally there is no pressure to. Having my mum around has really helped as it makes me feel less alone. I now know that it is silence that makes my illness thrive so as long as I keep talking then everything will be ok. Without this support I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today. My mum has always encouraged me to talk about my mental health and has always been by my side when it comes to me being a mental health blogger. She is my number one fan who continues to remind me of my strength especially on the days I doubt it. It is so important to be in someone’s corner when they are facing mental illness as facing the battle alone is so much harder than having someone by your side to carry you when your legs get tired." - The Mental Health Blogger

 

To see more from The Mental Health Blogger please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @mblog101

 

 

They thought alongside me

 

"My two best friends have been there through my entire journey of an eating disorder. They knew who I was before my mental health issues, the person my eating disorder made me into and the person who has learnt how to manage life after being in the grips of anorexia. When people turned their back on me, afraid of who anorexia turned me into, these girls stood by my side and made life for me as normal as possible. They did not treat me in any different, they didn’t gasp when my weight dropped off or whispered about my appearance behind my back, they did not feel frustrated at me on those days that I simply could not eat, or walk away when anorexia did what it could to push them as far away as possible. They stayed, and they fought alongside me. They were there for me on the days when I could only face eating fruit, and on the days when I was ready to eat pizza for the first time again. During recovery or tricky days when I needed to walk to decrease my anxiety if I felt too full, instead of telling me not to go or letting me go alone, they come with me and we would walk together. When my eating disorder lied to everyone else, pushed everyone else away and disappointed everybody around me these two stayed by my side and held me up. They believed and trusted me that I had enough strength to make it through- and I did. Without their support over the last 7 years, I couldn’t imagine facing and beating those demons alone. If you know have a friend that has a mental health illness all you need to do is be there and be you- this will be enough to give them some light in a very dark time." - Jade Peters

 

To see more from Jade please follow her on twitter @JadeP31

 

 

I felt less alone

 

"My boyfriend matt has been in my corner with my anxiety/social anxiety as he helps to forward plan things which we might do and helps change the plan depending on how anxious I feel on the day. He reassures me when I have an anxiety attack and have a head full of worries and is there for me through the ups and downs and everything in between in life. It can be hard for us both at times but he keeps me going. It's so important to be in someone else's corner as it helps them feel less alone in their journey." - Rosie

 

To see more from Rosie please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @marvelousmollie

 

 

Nothing but empathy and support 

 

"When I was at college, I was an absence away from being kicked out. Because of my declining mental health I struggled to get out of bed, let alone deal with the pressures of people and coursework. I didn't tell anyone because I was scared of being judged and ignored. I was used to being told to stop using it as an excuse and to just 'get on with it.' But when I finally revealed all to my tutor, she gave me nothing but empathy and support. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have got to the end of my exams and I wouldn't have learnt how to speak out when I'm struggling. Never let someone with a mental illness feel alone. Let them know what they are loved and supported and they ARE worth it. If someone you care about is suffering, patient and unwavering support and love is so important." - Meg Burchell

 

To see more from Meg please check out her blog here and follow her on twitter @Meg_BKind2YMind

 

 

 

Don't underestimate the power of being in someones corner

 

"It's hard for me to pick out one particular person as I'm blessed to have a LOT of supportive family and friends through my recovery from depression. My immediate family (parents, sister and brother-in-law) and my three best friends were and still are incredible. They were there for me in the best way possible; just physically being there for me in whatever way I needed; whether it was a self-care trip out, letting me cry and talk things out or just relaxing in their company. Without them, I wouldn't be here, simple as that. Have them just "there" made an incredible difference. They encouraged me every day, reassured me how much I was loved, that I was worth being here. Depression has this habit of pulling you back into your negative thoughts so having them there to keep me out of my head was amazing. Don't underestimate the power of you being in your friend's corner when they're struggling. They might find it difficult to express their gratefulness to you but be assured that you spending time with them and being there for them is so worth it. It's so important to support your friends who are struggling with mental health. It could be the difference in them opening up and asking for help or staying silent and struggling on their own." - Laura Cloughley

 

To see more from Laura please check out her blog here

 

 

My turning point

 

"It sounds strange but adopting my cat was a major turning point in my recovery. Taking care of her needs meant that I had an incentive to look after my own; I had recently left a five-month long hospital admission, the possibility of a life worth living felt a long way off. Knowing she was around meant that home began to feel safer- she would jump onto my lap and demand a cuddle at exactly the right times. She has sat through so many bad nights of flashbacks with me, waited patiently for me to resist doing my compulsions and leave the house in the mornings. No matter how anxious and ashamed I felt, I knew she couldn’t judge me and this was comforting. I began to properly engage with mental health services- before I got her, I couldn’t see the point. Last year I had a part time job which involved using my experiences to train CAMHS clinicians and have since moved to a different city to start university and begin a new job. I have been through a lot but, I honestly do believe that having people (and a cat) around me have grown my confidence and reduced the guilt I have about being ill." - Marianna Karavidas

 

 

I am much more confident 

 

"One of my work colleagues is always there for me. She always asks how I am, how work is going and I can talk to her about anything. She never judges me, just listens. I always feel like I can be myself and I do not have to hide how I am feeling. My work colleague always helps me to find the positives in every situation. Having someone in my corner has made a huge difference. I am a lot more confident and I believe in myself more than I used to. I do not feel so alone anymore. It is so important to be in someones corner who is struggling with their mental health. People often feel alone and even just listening to how someone feels can often change that. Being in someones corner could help them see the light and save their life." - Becca

 

 

I feel more open

 

"I have this friend and she has been a massive help to me. She's one of few people who can see behind the mask I put up and can tell what's actually going on. Luckily she is a qualified counsellor, but not only that, I see her as one of the true people that I can really trust and confide in. When you do day-to-day life within a church environment , it's hard to speak open about mental health and your emotions especially when you have this concept that you need to have everything together. She has constantly reassured me that it is perfectly normal to have off days and times when you don't want to face the world. This has made such a massive difference to my perspective of how I feel and how I deal with emotions. Normally I would just go through the day and mask my emotions and cover up everything that's going on. People usually ask me how I'm doing and I would respond 'yeah I'm really good thanks' but actually I'm having a really bad day.She taught me how to be more confident in being honest with myself.  This has benefited my relationships with my family and my friends. I now feel more open to discussing my emotions. I truly am blessed that I have someone like this in my corner, someone who continues to encourage me and is understanding no matter what." - Anonymous 

 

 

Sometimes we just want to be with someone

 

"Two friends of mine (and their children where appropriate) have been there for me throughout the last few years, with all the ups and downs a long the way, they distracted me and cheered me up, they've cried with me, been there into the early hours in hospital, talked me down from suicide, been to appointments, called for help, listened, brushed and washed my hair when it's matted, helped me tidy my flat, helped me find somewhere to live when I was homeless, and never once judged, belittle or put me down. Without them, to put it simply, I wouldn't be alive, but I also wouldn't have been able to go for help in the first place, or get help when I needed it, or stand up for my rights. It's so important to be there for a friend who is struggling, to not judge, to do what is needed or encourage them to be able to make those steps with your support, to enjoy the good times as well as being there in the hard times. Learn what you can about what they're going through, take an interest, find out what's what and don't be afraid to ask them if your unsure, they won't mind. Often it's the small things that make the biggest difference, the meeting for a coffee once a week, the invite for them to spend the afternoon with you, even if your just doing "normal life" stuff, sometimes we just want to be with someone." - Anonymous 

 

 

Mental illness is a battle we fight together

 

"Through teaching music, I’ve been working with individuals of all different ages, races and backgrounds. Over time, through conversation, many of them began to open up to tell me about their difficulties with mental health. I began to understand that this is a hard thing to do as the stigma is still apparent. I decided that I wanted to help those who want help through the only thing I know – music. From then, I put out an advert to organise a music video to raise awareness for mental health and raise money for West Norfolk Mind mental health charity. To create even more awareness, I decided I needed to challenge myself too. I asked a friend who suffers greatly with depression what she thought would be suitable in order to get people to talk. She came up with the random idea of climbing the world’s tallest freestanding mountain Kilimanjaro. To coincide with the music video, I arranged the song Africa by Toto. The recording took place and over 50 people helped with playing instruments and sing on the record. The people involved (and more) have become a community called Mindaid in which we raise money and awareness for mental health in many ways including an event later this summer. The people involved are some service users, people who know of others affected by mental health or just want to support. To have the Mindaid allows us all to know we are not alone, especially when we feel like we are. We want to make sure know one feels like this. It’s a battle we fight together and encourage anyone to help us destroy the stigma." - Lee Bigland 

I hope these wonderful #InYourCorner stories inspire you to be in your loved ones corner. Thank you to all of the amazing people who have contributed to this post, it has honestly been so overwhelming to see how your loved ones have supported you and the positive impact this has had! Keep shining like the stars you are! 

 

I would love to hear how people have been in your corner and how you have been in a loved ones corner! 

 

Sending positive vibes, 

 

Jodie 

 

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