Mental illness affects different people in different ways, to different scales and at different times in their lifetime. Some people are lucky and will never suffer from depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue, but the number of those that experience it either themselves or through loved ones is exponential.

As part of the #TimeToTalk campaign which ran today, I wanted to share my experiences with mental health – both personally and by those around me.

I am fortunate enough to have never suffered to the degree that many others have. Personally, I have had a few panic attacks and bouts of anxiety that have thankfully only ever been relatively mild. Panic attacks are particularly scary though, as they seem to come out of nowhere. I have had them both privately and in public, and they have come about for a variety of reasons. I won’t divulge the exact causes, but I will say that they make a stressful situation much worse.

When I have had panic attacks, I find that breathing becomes difficult and that I have a strong urge to get as far away as possible from where I am. Everything feels much worse than it really is, and I feel like I’ve lost control over a situation, and that I’ll never regain it. I am blessed to have people in my life who have been able to bring me back (namely Liam who has been there for almost all of them), and that what I have been through is very minute in comparison to how others can feel.

Perhaps that’s a selfish outlook to be comparing myself to others, but I really do sympathise towards those that suffer much greater ordeals.

In terms of those around me, I am of course not going to share specific experiences out of respect towards their privacy. All I will say is that I have had people very close to me suffer from depression and I have been powerless to help them out of it. They are much better now, and I am so pleased to know this.

The purpose of this post and the campaign as a whole is to open up and talk about mental health to lift the stigma and discrimination that comes with it. I am so incredibly inspired by other bloggers out there who have shared their experiences so openly and honestly.

Find out more about Time To Change here.