Dear hearter,

if you're a follower you might already know what my articles are about. Lifestyle, fashion, poetry... that kinda stuff. But now I want to start something new. The 'talking about it' -series. In this series I will write about difficult topics or just anything that is important to me to start the conversation or to share my experiences.
I would love to get feedback, so don't hesitate to contact me.

Today's topic

So what do I want to talk about today? I chose something that is very dear to me and it is talking about mental health. For this I'd like to start the hashtag #mymentalhealth where everyone can share their stories, ask for help or just write carelessly about what's going on inside their heads. DISCLAIMER: I am by no means a therapist or an expert when it comes to mental health. I am just sharing my experiences and tips. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, please talk to someone you can trust. If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or if you know someone who does, please contact an expert (http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html).

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My story

So now I'd like to share with you my story about #mymentalhealth. As far as I can remember I am quite an overthinker. I constantly worry about stuff when I don't stop overthinking. Especially when it came to my friends being angry with me. But I thought that was just what I was like, so I never really thought about it that much. That was until one year ago. I was in a weird state where I felt like I needed to change, where I needed to free myself from people who dragged me down so I decided to cut those people out of my life. During that time it was extremely hard for me, because of course you hold on to those people, they were once very important to you. So that's when my panic attacks started to tune in, I would have 3 or 4 in a week. They were so scary, I felt like I was dying, but I didn't want to.
That went on for like 2 or 3 weeks until I got to know new people. I was struggling with self doubts because I thought that I wasn't worthy of anything, because I would get panicky or anxious. But those new friends accepted me for who I was, so I started to think maybe there is something wrong in my head, but it just doesn't define me. I went out more. I said yes to new adventures more. And I cared about myself more.

So today I can say that my last panic attack I had in September 2017 due to a lack of sleep. Ever since then I've been awesome. Of course there are some days where I just want to crawl up in my bed and hide. I know that I still keep on overthinking everything or that I can get panicky under pressure or stress. But that's just what I am like. I've talked to my friends about it, and they still accept me for who I am. In the end it wasn't such big of a deal.But it did teach me a lot of things. And this leads me to my next aspect.

My tips

Drink tea
Tea has many ingredients that calm you down. The teas I like to drink are peppermint, green tea and fruit tea.

Get enough sleep
Like I said, I once had a panic attack because I hadn't slept enough, so get enough sleep. Your body will thank you. And to have a healthy mind, your body has to be healthy, too.

Breathe
If you do get a panic attack, there's plenty of tricks to do to get out of it. Like focussing on 5 things you can touch, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell and 2 things you can taste. Doing that your attention will be drawn away from the panic.
Most importantly, try to breath long breaths (inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth). This will calm your heartbeat and eventually your mind as well.

Talk to somebody
This is so important! If you're feeling down, talk to a dear friend or a family member who you can trust and who you know won't judge you. If you're afraid of that, I can recommend the 7 cups app, where you are a anonymous talker who gets a listener who can maybe help you and give you tips.

When it comes to overthinking
...just ask yourself 'Is this helpful?'. Because asking that puts you in the drivers' seat of your mind, so you can control your thoughts again. And remember: The world doesn't end.

Be forgiving
With yourself. With everyone. You are allowed to feel down.
And even if you're not the someone who's struggling, please be understanding with them. Everyone is fighting their own little battles in their heads. Accept that. Tolerate that. Don't point it out. Don't force them to do something. Be calm and just listen and be there for them.

Care about yourself
You are the most important person in your life. At the end of the day, you're the only one who's left with yourself. So be selfish sometimes. If you think someone is dragging you down or stopping your development, cut them out of your life. It is okay to do that. And also: pampering!. Do yourself a favour and maybe just take a bath or go for a run. Do something that you love to reward yourself for being brave and strong. You are a fighter.

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Why #mymentalhealth?

I wanted to start this hashtag so that other people would start talking about their experiences as well. I know it is a sensitive topic and I don't want to force anyone to share something so private, but I wanted to create a space where everyone can share their thoughts and can ask questions without being judged. A space where hearters help hearters. There is nothing wrong with any one of us. It is okay to struggle with your mental health. But it is also so important to talk about it. Because this is common. There are so many who need help, who want to talk to someone. Feel whatever you want to feel. This is so important for boys as well, because of gender roles they are 'supposed to not be sensitive'. Total BS if you ask me.

Thank you for reading this article. It was very important to me to start this hashtag. If you want to, please go ahead and write an article about your experiences or your tips, too and then use the hashtag #mymentalhealth. I would love to read your articles. And as always, don't hesitate to contact me, I love making new friends!

So, keep going. You are strong. You are worthy. You are capable. It will get better. I promise.

Love,
Laura

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