A note on my Mental Health #OkToSay

A week ago, I never ever expected I’d write something like this and last night, I found it difficult to even put words together but I want to share something with you. I want to let you in, on my current thoughts.

It’s after midnight on a Wednesday morning and I’m at work broadcasting to thousands of people on nine radio stations – a dream to some people.

I’ve also just posted on Instagram about an award I’ve recently received – those who follow my social media must think I have such a wonderful and happy life.

I too, wish that was the case. I’m currently suffering from bad mental health – something that’s taken me a long time, a number of years, to accept. Buried beneath the awards, holidays, traveling, meetings, and life looking good, I’m not well and now I feel it’s okay to share this with you.

Depression and anxiety worry me almost all the time – some days I’m okay and happy and feel like I’m doing well. Other days, like today, I’ve crashed – everything feels like it’s just come down upon me at once. Hot and cold flushes, not thinking straight, wanting it all to disappear and not wanting others to know are just some of the things I feel.

I’m high functioning and powerful in the day job but in my job of keeping my mental health well, I’m powerless. Months will go by in between seeing friends, days will go by in between having proper conversations with my family and I rarely see more than my core two friends – I’ve lost people but gained people on the way.

Something I rarely share is that I grew up in and out of care and faced many difficulties, I feel as if my past is haunting me – I’ve made mistakes and I’ve accepted them and moved on. Sometimes though, they come back and then throw into the mix, other people’s problems that I thrust myself into – I want to help but if I’m not helping myself first, I can’t properly help others.

And it’s because of that difficult upbringing that I’ve been so good in bottling up my thoughts and feelings over the years and now, that bottle’s full and the lid has popped off.

We mustn’t underestimate the things that make us suffer – social media affects me hugely – why am I not that 20-year-old who’s always out with their friends having an amazing time? Have I done a good job today? Why am I not that person with a brand new car? Why am I feeling undervalued? Even though I work hard and put my all into things, I feel inadequate.

But one thing I’ve learned is that you must talk. It’s so important to talk. And more importantly, it’s OK to talk. Something must change and I’m taking steps to change, I’m about to talk more openly, I’m having conversations and most importantly, I’m trying.

As I finish writing this, the day after I started, I’ve already talked to some wonderful friends, had a flurry of people asking if I’m okay and wonderful offerings of support.

This is the beginning of a new chapter, a more open Saeed, a more confident Saeed and a more health-focused Saeed.

And if I’ve learned at least one thing from this experience, is that it’s OK to talk and can’t thank those who are helping me talk, enough.

Love, always.