Given today is World Mental Health Day, it only seemed fit that I share this story today.
At the weekend I visited Brighton to attend Mammothfest, one of the best Underground Metal Music festivals in the country to date. Headliners this year included ROTTING CHRIST and FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE. The atmosphere was extremely welcoming, it was very well organised and the bands were mind-blowing. ROTTING CHRIST being my personal favourite of the weekend.
This was an eagerly awaited trip yet at the same time it was quite a dread.
I attended the same festival two years ago and while everything was still the same as it was this time round (welcoming atmosphere and great bands etc.) there was one key thing that was different. My mindset.
My mental health was rock bottom and the festival happened days after I realised I was having a complete mental breakdown.
Even to this day it’s extremely painful to think about and talk about with my family and friends. Days before the festival, I had finally opened up about having frightening thoughts I had been having. These included thoughts of hurting people I care about, taking my own life and others that were extremely terrifying. During the festival two years ago, I felt alone despite being surrounded by friendly metalheads. I was always seeking gratification and acceptance, even though people told me how great I was. It was incredibly isolating and looking back now makes me realise how you can become so overwhelmed with negative thoughts to the point it makes you feel alone and isolated.
This time round, I didn’t feel like I needed to seek attention or acceptance, I was happy with how I came across. I also didn’t feel alone despite spending time by myself times before the start of the festival, visiting the Sealife Center or eating a fish and chip supper on Brighton Pier. After months of therapy and practicing the art of liking oneself, I mentally felt better and I feel great that I was able to enjoy Mammothfest with a better mindset. I am now a lot more confident and a lot happier.
I understand that there are others who continue to struggle and feel they can’t reach out, the most common reason being the fear of feeling like a burden or a bother for a loved one. That’s how I felt for years.
A message to those of you struggling with a mental illness: you are not alone, you do matter and your feelings are valid. Today I wear my Mind badge with pride and support for Mental Health awareness and breaking the stigma.
Here are some useful numbers and links if you are struggling with a mental illness:
Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/
Phone: 116 123
Post: RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA
MIND – https://www.mind.org.uk/
Phone: 02085 192122
PAPYRUS – https://www.papyrus-uk.org
HOPELineUK Phone Number: 0800 068 41 41
SMS: 07786 209697