The myths and reality of mental health – The Newbie Takeover #2 Our Altered Life

The myths and reality of mental health – The Newbie Takeover #2 Our Altered Life

It is Wednesday so that means it is time for me to hand my blog over to a new blogger on the block for my next instalment of The Newbie Takeover. This week I have Charlie from Our Altered Life guest posting for me. This is a very important post about mental health and how the reality of living with a mental health condition can be completely different to the myths we are told. 

The myths and reality of mental health

Common mental health beliefs include that there is absolutely no need to become depressed if you notice the signs and do something proactive to help – exercise, socialise, laugh with friends! Anxiety is simply a state of mind and people can “shake it off” if they choose to – or wallow for the pity points. Antidepressants are for those who really haven’t got the mental strength to deal with their own crap.

These were my thoughts at one time in my life and I am ashamed now. Its just a shame that it took my own depression for me to realise just how unfair and judgmental I had been.

Let me take you back.

The symptoms of my anxiety presented themselves when my boys were around 6 years old but it all started with a shock announcement that the lives of me, my partner and our twins had been turned upside down in the time it had taken the registrar to pull my son Harry into a world that he changed forever. Despite a perfectly healthy and very happy pregnancy, he had been born with only a half a face. This was a lot for me to get my head around particularly after an emergency c-section too! A few years later, Harry was also diagnosed with autism as well.

Anyway, back to my gross misconceptions of mental health. I had noticed the signs but they were subtle at first and infrequent. Singing in the car one day, enjoying the sunshine or returning the smiles of passers by. Crying the next, aware of nothing but an ache like an elephant sitting on my chest. Unable to tolerate the sound of the music that less than 24 hours earlier I had been bouncing around to. Days when I got out of bed ready to face the day. Days when I could barely pull the duvet off my lead like body. Nights when I feared the next morning – unable to predict even my own mood. Yes I saw the signs, but at every point I thought it was a ‘phase’, ‘the blues’ something that I would shake myself out of. I didn’t have the energy to exercise, I didn’t enjoy my own company let alone the company of others and after a day of teaching where I was a performing seal in front of 30 children who deserved the best teacher, I would come home to feel a failure as a Mother to my own two boys who deserved so much more than the dregs of a weary actress.

Something had to change.

If I could have “shaken it off” believe me, I would have. But, like a storm that you feel has come from nowhere despite dark clouds and occasional drizzle, it gripped me before I knew it. I was contemplating whether I even wanted to be here anymore.

A confession to my mum and a trip to the doctors resulted in the antidepressants I had feared but in time they helped me massively. I had expected jazz hands, cartwheels, taking the breakfast orders in a musical styleee of prancing around the kitchen, feeling like life was an amazing experience. Of course, it wasn’t quite like that but I did slowly begin to feel like a version of myself again. Lighter. Calmer. I was able to predict a steady mood and didn’t go to bed in fear of my own self. I didn’t just find myself again, I found a better self. A more understanding self. A more tolerant and accepting self. One that I would never have become had I never experienced that darkness.

The light after the darkness.

Strange how things work out hey. My stereotypical beliefs about mental health were wrong and if you agreed with anything in my first three sentences, so are yours. I only hope that it doesn’t take a course of antidepressants for you to realise.

And if you’re struggling with the truth that you need some help then consider this. You wouldn’t think twice about a plaster cast on a broken leg or a plaster on a cut finger. Is just the same but its way more important. Be kind to yourself. Breathe and know that if this cynical, judgmental neghead can be reformed then there’s hope for us all.

Chat soon,

Charlie xxx

As a side note, life now actually is a wonderful experience (since I stopped looking at what was going wrong and focused on being grateful for all that’s going right) and you can find me most mornings performing my musical version of “honey or jam on toast?” in the kitchen with my boys.


A bit about Charlie:

Hi, I’m Charlie, mum to twins Oliver and Harry and I am blogging about life as a parent of a child with special needs at Our Altered Life. I chronicle the highs and lows of a life less ordinary and the challenges and adventures we all face. When I’m not writing or working you will find me drinking gin, eating my own body weight in cheese and laminating stuff (you can take the girl out of teaching but you cant take the teacher out of the girl!)
 If you enjoyed this then be sure to go check out Charlie’s blog, Our Altered Life and you can also find Charlie on

Thank you Charlie for this important and honest post. I have written a post about post natal depression recently and I agree with you, the common misconceptions of a mental health illness and what it is actually like living with one are completely different. I am so glad to hear you are doing better now.

If your blog is less than 12 months old and you would like to get involved in The Newbie Takeover, you can check out all the details in this post and send your submission to

new blogger guest post series
Have you ever suffered from a mental health condition? Can you relate to Charlie’s post? I would love to hear your thoughts.

You can find this post linked to some of these amazing blog link ups –

Maternity Mondays | Marvellous Mondays | Posts from the Heart | #MG | Big Pink Link | Twinkly Tuesday | Dream Team | Tried and Tested | Blogger Club UK | Best and Worst | Family Fun | Cool Mum Club | A Blogging Good Time | The List Linky | PoCoLo |For the Love of Blog | KCACOLS  …and of course #BlogCrush, the linky I co host every Friday.

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  1. June 14, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    I write about healing from PTSD on my blog – though I haven’t written enough as of late – but even through my healing I still suffer boughts of depression like this past winter. That was rough for me but I do always seem to pull myself out of it somehow. It’s no heroic feet as I don’t exactly know what pulls me out of it but I can absolutely relate to what Charlie is saying. We all think that we can control our emotions and our thoughts but the reality is that control only goes so far. I’ve definitely been swept up in the storm knowing the clouds were overhead. Even while I have strategies in place to help keep that storm at bay, sometimes it just happens. I love this post! So glad you shared it! #bloggerclubuk

  2. June 14, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Mental health is one of those misunderstood things isn’t it. What an honest post and thanks for sharing it with the #bestandworst please do stop by again!

  3. June 15, 2017 / 10:57 am

    Great post. Its so important that we talk about mental health and recognise the need for it to be addressed (as you say, we would think nothing of having a broken leg plastered). #BloggerClubUK
    Kate recently posted…Chocolate play doughMy Profile

  4. June 17, 2017 / 6:53 am

    There are so many misconceptions surrounding mental health and stigma attached to seeking out help. It’s something I don’t think you can fully appreciate until you go though it, but posts like this are doing an amazing job of raising awareness and changing those misconceptions, well done for seeking the help you needed, it can take a lot of courage. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better x
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Not So Grim – Why The North of England Is Fantastic!My Profile

  5. June 21, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    When my depression kicked in there were a few people who told me to cheer up, but luckliy I have a really supportive hubby who has helped me through things. I am slowly coming off the antidepressants now, they really helped me .
    Ali Duke recently posted…A Day In London and A Preview ScreeningMy Profile

  6. June 25, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    I think for me the problem with my PND was that I was petrified that Ben would get taken off of me. I didn’t and still haven’t opened up to a medical professional about my thoughts at my darkest hour and thats due to my Drs being utter shite. My six week check I wasn’t even touched, bearing in mind I had an episiotomy, Ben was in NICU for a week and I was already under consultation due to my history of Depression. The NHS needs to change to improve their mental health services but unfortunately the NHS is in such a poor state that I doubt it would even get considered!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.