Wouldn’t it just be perfect if we could go back in time and relive the best days. I had a best friend who lived by this and so lived his life as if we were all in 2008. It was brilliant, for a while, but then real life happened. In 2015 I lost this friend, Gregsie Stiff. The life and the soul of the party had vanished. Going to a rave seemed unfathomable without him. The reason I am talking about him is that we were very similar when it came to mental health, and being mental health week I can’t think about anything else. He didn’t talk about his problems to many people, a lot of people didn’t really know this side. Which in a way is perfect because everyone remembers him as he beautiful partier who always made sure everyone else was happy before himself. He really was fantastic but he was troubled. He urged me to speak to a doctor about my problems because he had done. Of course I ignored it because I didn’t need to at that moment in time. He showed me how to use music as an anti-depressant and it worked for a while. For until I stopped being a raver and it creeped back up on me. His death is the reason why I started my mental health column and blog www.ichosetobee.wordpress.com

Nearly everything I know about mental health, I learned from Greg. He made me as a person, I wish I could tell him that everything would have been okay if he was still with us, We were all family at the end of the day. I have him to thank for a lot of things. He had an ear for everyones problems.. I want to thank you Gregsie for helping me so much and allowing me to voice out loud in public why everyone needs to talk about mental health.

It was definitely a taboo back then and still is now. It is unacceptable in his day and age that mental health is still not considered a serious illness. Fighting with your own brain everyday and staying alive whilst doing it is an incredible and courageous thing. Greg masked his problems with brilliance and dignity, but you still have dignity if you talk about things. What happened with Greg was an accident but as he was an advocate for helping others I will continue to do this for him and his family. All of his close friends will always wonder “Is there anything I could have done?” As you come to terms with these events instead of thinking that, think how you “take a sad song and make it better” Being there for each other is the most important thing.  

I was alone and just moved to Llanelli when Greg died, I was okay and “strong” for a while, but when I came back from seeing his ashes fly up in a firework (coolest and most appropriate thing) I had a meltdown when I was by myself afterwards; so  making sure that you have support is the key. People don’t know you are suffering unless you talk about it. I had go to the doctors and after finding the right medication for me. I wish I had done it 10 years ago. It’s difficult when you’re young because you don’t know whether is just hormones or actual mental health issues, but whatever reason it is you are getting stressed, it will not go away if you ignore it, it will only make it worse.

TALK ABOUT IT

Stop holding back. If you are lonely or have little support from your friends/family, speak to your doctor. Here are plenty of support groups. I have to personally recommend Mind. I completed the training to be a volunteer as a “friend” there and the people were lovely and welcoming and understanding. Most of the volunteers have experience with personal mental health problems so if you sign up to get a “friend” know the person will be selected for you because you both can help each other. It is for people who need someone to talk to and just enjoy the company of someone who will have understanding of whatever mental health problem you have and hear what you are saying. You can sign up to volunteer or receive help on www.mind.org.uk

Speaking for females here, if you are suffering from mental health issues when you are due on or are on contraceptives, start taking evening primrose oil. You can purchase it almost anywhere and it has worked wonders for me, is harmless so give it a go, if it doesn’t work at least you have tried. Be careful taking other herbal mood enhancers like St John’s Wort if you are taking other medication, it can have bad side effects always check with your doctor first

21.06.2015 R.I.P Gregsie

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