Mental health problems are so difficult to understand. It is easy to see it as something that only happens to other people and other people’s friends and family. We form a stereotype of what people with mental health problems are like. By providing a snapshot of people’s lives, #adayinthelifemh helps to show how normal the lives are of people with mental health problems are, as well as how challenging and the whole range of experiences. The hope is that this range will go on to inform future service design.

#adayingthelifemh is a project to capture the lives of people struggling with mental illness on 4 set dates – November 2014, February 2015, May 2015 and finally August 2015. I have depression and anxiety which was diagnosed in 2008 after workplace bullying. I have been involved in every #adayingthelifemh to date. I have enjoyed being able to write a snapshot of a day in my life. It has also been fascinating to read other peoples posts to see how a handful of diagnoses can affect people in a variety of ways.

The last year has been a really difficult one for me. In July last year I was signed off with burnout and fatigue. After 9 weeks off I managed to return to work. However I became progressively more and more depressed, until after 12 weeks back I ended off signed off sick again in December. I haven’t been to work yet this year and in July I left my job. Being part of #adayinthelifemh has meant that throughout this episode of depression, I have snapshots of how I have been doing. My post in November 2014 shows how normal life can be with depression. The only hint to depression was getting up late, but there could be any number of other reasons for that. Writing in February showed me how ill I had become. I struggle to choose clothes, to cook, to concentrate on watching TV. In May I was a bit better, but I talk about the stresses of going to church and worrying about employment and benefits. It has been a great project to be involved with and I encourage you to either contribute a post on August 26th 2015 or check on the website at www.dayinthelifemh.org.uk  and read some of the stories. The deadline for posting is September 1st 2015 at 2359.

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