Sunday, 9 April 2017


It's been a while since I posted but the reason for my absence is quite simple really; I haven't been in the best of mindsets and I needed to take a step back from everything, so something had to quit for a while. 

Thankfully, I'm in a strong enough place now where I feel like I can open up about my struggles with mental health. It's been a heck of a journey getting to this place in the first place but it's a weight off my shoulders to finally be able to speak out and admit that I struggle sometimes. 

I've spoken out about my struggles with anxiety before on here and despite how nervous I was before hitting the 'Publish' button, it really was the greatest feeling to read through the (mainly) positive responses I received. And as for the not so positive ones, what an incentive they've served to keep pushing me to do what I'm doing! There's clearly still an antiquated stigma around mental health and I'm determined to help break that down and encourage others who are suffering too, to speak out and get the help that is waiting for them. So what a huge middle finger that will be to those who weren't so positive about my decision to speak out, through one of the only mediums I know how to; writing and rambling on!

My most recent dip in my mental health isn't characterised by anything extraordinary. In fact, it's a combination of the most extremely ordinary things in everyday life, such as exam stress and minor issues in my personal life, which have pushed me to breaking point in my mind. I tend to bottle everything up and it ends up having a really negative and unhealthy impact on my body and my state of mind, so it's really vital that I do speak out about them. 

I've never really had severe sleep deprivation due to stress before but in the past couple of weeks, it's definitely been a recurring element of my anxiety and stress. In the same way, I've had some really low days too where I've felt really shit and insecure about everything, which is far from my normal optimistic attitude. The point I'm trying to make here is that your mental health is certainly not a sure thing. There are so many posts about mental health I've read which can seem really patronising by over-simplifying how 'easy' it is to deal with mental health issues when they arise. The simple answer is it's not easy at all. But dips in your mental health can be really unpredictable and out of character, so it's so important to open up to your loved ones if and when you feel changes in your mind set and mood. 

My latest saviour for when I'm feeling stressed are Kalms herbal remedy tablets, which I take if and when I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack or when my stress levels are extremely high. I've also experimented with some lavender calming balms, which seem to be working really well for me too. But these are kind of reliefs which I probably wouldn't have searched for, if it hadn't been for an extremely open and honest conversation I had with my Mum which encouraged me to do something about it. 

The next couple of months will be an understandably stressful time for all students alike. Exams are far from fun and they're obvious triggers for dips in mental health. I wish I had the breakthrough formula for how to deal with exam stress but I don't. Taking breaks, drinking lots of water and eating the right types of food aren't going to hurt but they're not going to dispel the fears and self-doubts many of us experience during this time either. 

I'm really trying to 'stay calm' and put things into perspective when it comes to exams, but they really can feel a lot more serious and life changing than they probably are. I'm going to follow my own advice by opening up about my struggles with mental health, if and when I'm struggling to those around me. It's so important to offload certain emotions you experience to family and friends around you, if you're beginning to feel like you're carrying too much weight. And talking really can help how you feel or approach different situations. If you're doubting your ability, it's so important to remember that you are where you are through your ongoing hard work and you wouldn't be in the position you're in if you weren't capable of doing the work in the first place. 

I'm really happy with myself that I'm becoming far more open about my struggles with mental health, because admitting that you need help and support isn't a crime. Having said that, I know it's far easier said than done (admitting I needed help to my family certainly made me feel a bit 'abnormal' to begin with). But the reality is, opening up about your worries encourages others to do the same too and then your battles really don't seem altogether that 'abnormal' at all. Everybody will struggle with mental health at some point. A lot of my friends (particularly my male friends, contrary to the ridiculous assumptions of men as emotion-less beings who never struggle with their mental health) have opened up to me about their anxieties and it's a step forward in the right direction when this happens. 

I'm in a better and more optimistic place than I was, but that mindset certainly isn't set in stone. I will always be open about my experiences of declining mental health (no matter how long a break from blogging I need to take before I get to that point) because when it comes to mental health, we should all be in this together. 

Antonia x 



  1. Really? Bloody herbal remedies?? Have fun with your bloody placebo.
    If you were legitimately mentally ill you would know that wouldn't work. Why is it now the trend to be mentally ill? Bloody discredits real mental illness.

    1. It doesn't discredit real mental illness whatsoever; herbal remedies can be very effective preemptive strikes against more serious and worrying dips in mental health actually, without depending on prescribed medication.

      It's people like you are who are constantly on the attack and putting others down who are open enough to admit that they're struggling, with accusations that I'm 'buying into a trend'? I don't think so. I'm just admitting I need help and trying different routes that MY DOCTOR suggested I give a try, before immediately prescribing medication.

      But have a lovely day.

    2. I freely admit I came on far too horrifically strongly there and for that i can only apologise.
      I simply worried that the act of advocating a placebo could cause others to fail to see the reality of their issues and not seek proper help. Obviously with the addition of alcohol and anonymity this caused complete lashing out at you for no good reason.

      TL;DR Hands up, i was horrible. I apologise profusely.

  2. You shouldn't be putting people down who suffer from mental illness, it's hard for people to be completely open and honest when it comes to something like this. If anything you should be crediting Antonia for being honest about the ways in which she deals with it and how she tries to treat it and if herbal remedies work then who are you to say she's not 'legitimately mentally ill'.


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