A woman who turned to exercise to help improve her mental health is encouraging others to find the strength within themselves to make the first move to getting help.
Laura Moses was diagnosed with bipolar disorder four years ago after years of battling with what doctors, at first, thought was depression.
It wasn’t until she continued to suffer, even turning to self-harm, that medics finally referred her to a psychiatrist.
The 25-year-old said: “It has been hard, the doctors always said it was depression when I was younger, but I knew deep down it was more than that. But because I was quite young they thought it was just my hormones.
“I was doing everything they were telling me to but nothing seemed to work. It was like I wasn’t being listened too. When I was finally referred to a psychiatrist, it was like a huge relief was lifted, that I was finally being listened to.
“Getting the diagnosis, at least I knew it wasn’t just me, that there was something which was making me feel the way I did.
“Over the years, I did try and take my own life, a number of times. But now looking back I’m so glad it never worked as I have so much to look forward to now.”
Following her diagnosis, Laura turned to exercise and has improved not only her mental health but also her physical fitness, so much so she will be taking part in the London Marathon next year for Mind - after the charity stepped in to offer support and a place where she can go to talk through her feelings.
“The diagnosis of bipolar was hard to accept at first. As I know I am going to be on medication for the rest of my life, and that is hard, but I didn’t chose to have bipolar, it chose me and I accept that’s just the way things are.
“It is scary as I have had to change my life and I have come up against a lot of barriers because of it, including my degree. I had to ask for extensions but I finally passed my degree.
“Exercise, going out running and writing has been my saviour - these are some of the things that make me feel better.
“Having a mental health illness, is hard, but you can get through it. There might be days when you feel like it’s the end of the world but you can do it.”
Laura has since been discharged from her mental health team and is using her experiences to help others who find themselves struggling with life through an online blog mosesmumbles.wordpress.com
Research has found those who do regular exercise have a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
It can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep, quality and energy as well as reducing the risk of stress and depression.
It can also help people with anxiety and depression. Activities can include: gardening and walking; exercise, such as cycling, swimming or working out; sports, such as playing football, golf, or netball; or join a gym or exercise class.
Mind advises where possible to try and exercise outdoors to increase the amount of sunlight you get as lack of natural sunlight can lead to tiredness and feeling under the weather.
For health department guidelines on how much exercising you should be doing see http://wellbeinginfo.org/self-help/health/
Our series of articles in the run-up to Christmas, supported by Washington Mind, aims to encourage people to reach out to others and let those struggling know support is available.
Today, people are asked to buddy up and exercise with a friend. That way you get the benefit.
Laura is currently in training to take part in the London Marathon next year for mental health charity Mind.
To sponsor Laura visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/lauramoses
Where to get help.
Washington MIND: Visit www.washingtonmind.org
Call: 417 8043 or Text: 07507 330 995
Drop in: The Life House, Grasmere Terrace, Columbia, Washington.
n The Samaritans:
Call: 116 123