10 Important Quotes From Young British Women With Mental Health Issues
Anxiety, stress and depression affect many people in the UK. A report released in August 2016 by the Department for Education found that more than a third of teenage girls in England suffer depression and anxiety. For poor mental health sufferers to begin to manage these issues and undo the negative effects of their symptoms, it’s imperative to speak about it. Here are nine young British women who’ve opted to speak about the mental health issues they have faced in their own lives, and some particularly poignant things worth remembering.
When the beauty blogger had 6.1 million subscribers (she now has 11 million) she went public with her experience of anxiety. At the time, she said: “I know just how isolating it can feel to experience severe anxiety. However, the overwhelming response I’ve received every time I’ve spoken out online, shows just how many young people confront it every day. I am passionate about the need for everyone to feel ok to speak out, to talk to friends and family about what they’re going through, to ask for help.” Zoella now works with charity MIND as digital ambassador.
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The author of “Anxiety for Beginners: A Personal Investigation” explains: “shyness is to social anxiety what a Dairylea Triangle is to a box of Vacherin cheese. The texture might be similar, but they are definitely not the same thing.”
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Esperanzate, who won a Prince’s Trust award for turning her life around, said: “A lot of young people find it embarrassing to talk about their mental health. But you should not be afraid to do it. If you have a broken leg you go to the doctor, it’s the same thing. Attitudes towards mental health are changing because young people are realising it’s not something to hide. People are getting rewarded for what they have overcome.”
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Joey Rayner and Persia Lawson, co-authors of “The Inner Fix”, formed Addictive Daughter, a life coaching partnership. They have spoken out about their battles with various addictions and say: “One of the most painful yet life-changing lessons we’ve learned over recent years is that we are all powerless over pretty much everyone and everything, except ourselves.”
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The singer credits Beyoncé with getting her through her anxiety: “I'm scared of audiences," she said. "One show in Amsterdam I was so nervous, I escaped out the fire exit. I've thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don't like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot…I was about to meet Beyoncé and I had a full-blown anxiety attack. Then she popped in looking gorgeous, and said, 'You're amazing! When I listen to you I feel like I'm listening to God.'” After Adele found herself crying on a balcony, she asked herself “What would [Beyoncé’s alter-ego] Sasha Fierce do?” and now looks to that mantra when she’s feeling anxious.
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The Great British Bake Off winner and writer of cookery books “Crumb” and “Eat What You Want”, has spoken about her eating disorder. Writing in Elle in 2015, “My own epiphany came when I calculated that the number of minutes I’d spent counting calories that day was greater than the number of calories eaten. I stopped returning my [modelling] agency’s calls and enjoyed a valedictory ice cream, though not without making a mental note to run off those 15 grams of fat later at the gym. In spite of my best efforts, I fell steadily under food’s spell once more.”
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The singer has undergone Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to deal with mental illness: “I was skeptical at first because I’d never had therapy, but not being able to leave the house was so debilitating. And this was when my career was really taking off.
“My surroundings would trigger a panic attack, so I couldn’t go to the studio unless I was lying down in the car with a pillow over my face. I used to beat myself up about it…I think my body has become quite good at controlling anxiety.”
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The journalist has written an autobiographical book, “Mad Girl”, and set up a peer-support group where people with mental health problems can get together and exercise. Gordon told Huffington Post that anxiety “is like something telling me I’m the worst human being in the world: that I may have poured bleach in my daughter’s drink or have done something awful to her in the middle of the night and blocked it out. It’s not just the trivial things that everyone makes it out to be.”
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Music journalist and author Jude Rogers wrote in Vice in 2015 about how relatively lucky she was to have the resources to combat post-natal depression: “I am white, middle-class, gobby, a first-time mum to a healthy baby boy, and someone who lives in an area rated 1 – the top rating – on the UK Specialist Community Perinatal Mental Health provision map. I am also someone who nevertheless had to use all her resources, repeatedly, to get help with post-natal depression, as if it was an unknown, relatively easy condition. But it isn’t.”
The trans activist and writer wrote of her experience of coming to terms with her gender identity and impact of that process on her mental health: “It didn't happen often, but if people called me ‘tranny’ in the street I blamed myself and locked myself in my bedsit for weeks at a time. A prison sentence was better [Lees used to work as a sex worker] because you at least had an end date. I broke down. It's such a disappointing transgender cliche, but here it is – I was suicidal.” After hormone therapy and antidepressants, as well as CBT, “it encouraged me to leave the house more and meet people again.”
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