Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: Reasons to Stay Alive

It’s coming to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week and I’ve had a great week. I intended to write a blog post every day this week covering topics such as therapy, loneliness, exercise and food. But the week has flown by and (despite the country being in lockdown) I just haven’t had time. I’ve been working 8-5 then riding my bike, calling friends, going to the beach etc. and yesterday my parents visited and we went for a socially distanced walk and picnic. There was a time when I would have felt incredibly guilty for not writing all the blog posts that I set out to do. But I don’t. There will be another time when I can write them and I’ve had a fantastic week in which I’ve put my mental health first and been kind to myself.

8 months ago I didn’t know if I’d see 2020. I didn’t know if I’d ever feel happy again. I didn’t know if I’d ever not be anxious to the point of vomiting after food and physically shaking. I didn’t know if I’d ever function normally without my mum to get me out of bed and force me to eat and get dressed. I was in hell and I saw no way through. I didn’t want to die but I also didn’t want to wake up the next morning and go through it all again. I kept going and somehow a few months later there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Now I feel happy and settled and am working as a doctor. Anything is possible.

Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig is one of my absolute favourite books. He writes beautifully – open, honest and also somehow a bit lighthearted without making light of what he’s been through. A true role model, especially for men who struggle to open up about their mental health. He talks about his suicidal ideation and depression and everything he’s glad he got to do. He’s realistic and knows that it’s not easy and there’s no quick fix.

There are always reasons to stay alive. From the small things to the big things, there will always be something to keep you on this earth.

My reasons to stay alive

My amazing supportive family and long hugs

Long summer days

Evenings on the beach

Laughing until I can’t breathe with my friends

The smell after it has just rained


Riding my bike – the wind in my face, the sense of achievement at the top of a big hill, finding new routes, riding with friends and cafe stops (when it’s allowed again), the freedom to explore at my own pace, the unique places you can see from a different perspective

My cats and the cute little headbutt they give you

Travelling the world – Morocco, New Zealand, The Maldives, Ecuador, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Sweden, Iceland, the Northern Lights, Everest Base Camp. There’s so much of this beautiful planet I’d still like to see.


Completing an Ironman

Cozy evenings by the fire

My career and the potential to make a difference to so many other’s lives and help those in distress

Sunrises and sunsets

That first coffee of the morning

Cold beers and BBQs

Feeling the wind and rain on your face

The future of possibility. I’d love to settle and have kids and bring them up in a countryside cottage doing wholesome outdoor activities together at the weekend.

Baking delicious things

There are more funny and enriching stories and experiences to be told and hear.

Getting to hug my friends and spend time together watching trashy TV and films.

Going back to Scotland (where my dad’s from) and exploring by bike.

Helping others when they’re struggling with their mental health (both in my personal life and career)

Sharing a lovely homecooked meal with friends and family

Hearing rain on the window panes

Waking up to birdsong

Meeting new people who you instantly get along with

Watching films you’ve been waiting to come out with a large tub of popcorn.

Learning new skills – I want to learn to ice climb, surf, sail and knit.

Waking up and knowing that it’s a new day and anything could happen.

If you’re struggling with hopelessness or suicideal ideation please please get help.

Call 999 immediately if you feel unsafe. Call 111 for advice if it is not an emergency

Samaritans: 116 123

Shout: text 85258

“Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better”

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