A lot of people find it hard to talk about their mental health. How can you explain it to someone, when you don’t really understand it yourself? My advice is to start writing it all down. Your symptoms, how you’re feeling, how it’s impacting your life.

Write a daily journal, track your moods and symptoms, log food and drink, monitor sleep patterns, add everything that you think relates to your mental health. Start to build a picture of what is going on and how it is affecting your life. Look for patterns and behaviours that are either doing you good or are maybe destructive.

Once you’ve got a page or two you need to find a great doctor. I’m so lucky to have an awesome GP. She listens to me, she’s fought in my corner, she makes sure my levels are checked when they need to be, she calls to check how I’m doing, she offers a holistic approach to my recovery and she keeps me on track. She’s awesome and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her. I must send her a thank you present.

I met with a few of the GP’s in my local surgery. You need to find one that suits you. Someone that you can open up to. They must understand mental health issues. They must spend some time understanding what’s going on with you. Give them as much information as you can.

I also managed to get in front of a great psychiatrist after my second referral. I wrote a long piece about my illness and he actually thanked me for it. He also listened to me. The previous quack I’d seen didn’t listen and pushed me into a misdiagnosis and medication that I knew was wrong.

You have to get in front of the right people for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Trust yourself and keep pushing. Ask your support network to help, if you’re struggling with understanding what’s happening to you, maybe they could help you write down what’s going on.

It is in no way easy to get a diagnosis in the UK. Our mental health provision is massively underfunded and understaffed. Especially for people who aren’t unwell enough to be hospitalised. Keep trying, you will get in front of the right person soon.

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