OPINION: I was too afraid of judgement to ask for help

THERE'S no weakness in mental illness.

It's taken me far too long to understand this and feel comfortable admitting I have struggled with my mental health.

Despite feeling physically ill and mentally overwhelmed for years, especially during school and university, I didn't want to ask for help if it meant acknowledging my worries had a deeper cause.

When a room of 90 teens was yesterday asked by Keppel MP Brittany Lauga if mental health was a concern for them, it was shocking to see almost every hand raised.

Maybe, if I'd been in a room like that when I was a teenager I would have felt more comfortable talking to someone sooner.

Speaking out, especially when you're in a position of privilege in the media or as a celebrity, is an essential part of ending the stigma around mental illness.

Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell has spoken out about her battle with mental illness and says she has no time for stigma around mental health.
Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell has spoken out about her battle with mental illness and says she has no time for stigma around mental health.

That's why I was also pleased and comforted to see Kristen Bell, who portrays my favourite sassy private investigator Veronica Mars, talk openly about anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is so much more than just feeling a little worried.

For me, it was thoughts that wouldn't stop, a constant niggling doubt about every aspect of my life, and a sickness so intrusive I felt a little monster had crawled inside my stomach to wreak havoc.

Medication changed my life.

But I felt that by taking it, I was somehow being judged, wasn't trying hard enough to get hold of my thoughts or was somehow a failure.

Now I see this was as ridiculous as telling a diabetic they should just try harder to produce insulin before taking medication.

No one should be judged for any medical condition, but that's sometimes easily forgotten when an illness isn't physical.

Talking about mental health is the first step to breaking the taboo.

Listening to people without judgement is next.

No one should feel shame about their mental health in 2016.



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