15th – 21st May 2023 is mental health awareness week. The theme of this year is anxiety, and this post will break down how you can get involved and support the week.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
Welcome to the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023. This is my 5th year covering the event, and this week we are looking at the theme of anxiety. Over the course of the week, I’ll be sharing my own experiences with anxiety and a roundup of what’s been happening.
Anxiety. It’s something we’ve all felt. Be it worry before exams or an interview to worries about money, life, the universe and everything in between.
Truth is, there’s so much out there that’s worth worrying about. There is what we are directly affected by, like our finances, family and health, to global issues like the war in Ukraine. But as well as these worries for the present, there are also concerns for the future. Affording a mortgage and progressing in work or life can all weigh heavily on the day-to-day.
We all have some anxiety. But this week, we’re talking about anxiety that goes beyond simple worries and becomes something more. Something debilitating.
As well as a racing mind, anxiety can manifest into physical symptoms of a body under stress. This can go beyond a feeling in the stomach to headaches, a fast heartbeat and nausea and many others. Today’s post is not about reeling off this list of symptoms but highlighting how restrictive anxiety can become.
When my anxiety was bad, I overthought everything. I had to have a plan for every day to know what exactly I had to do in order to get through it. I was worried about going out, being around people and attempting to limit my interaction to the bare minimum.
I got through it by learning more about myself, By taking the time to think about how I thought about things and what was logical. By reframing my thoughts in a way I could better understand them, I was slowly able to get on with my life. To do what I wanted to.
Way more than the above was a recovery process I had to go through. Part of that was understanding myself, but also the importance of having a support network around me (something I had previously disregarded) and taking time for self-care.
Previously these were things I didn’t care about at all. I thought I could just get on with it and manage by myself. I was anxious about involving other people and was very particular about that what I chose to share.
But I learned that recovery can’t be done alone. As I have talked about on my blog, a lot of the support I received came from those around me. Being accepted and valued for being myself was one of the most important steps I overcame on my recovery journey.
So where does Mental Health Awareness Week fit into all of this? We all have an understanding of anxiety from our own experiences with it. Anxiety can be severe and sometimes a daily struggle. But, like most things, talking can make a difference.
Talking about our mental health is always the first step in making it better. Whether we’re reaching out to people we trust around us to share our worries or talking to a professional, we need the help of others and in turn, our own strength to get better.
Having conversations about mental health creates a more open space where everyone feels able to speak up. We can all be part of that space by checking in with those around us to ask if they are ok giving them an opportunity to share any anxieties they may have.
Being able to have those conversations and being comfortable to speak up about the anxieties we all face creates a more inclusive space and one where we can start tackling anxiety together.
And while my posts may end with the same message every year, being a person to talk to, and working on ways to speak up for yourself, are actions we can all take this mental health awareness week.
By Jake Symons
Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others through his blog and YouTube channel.