As part of mental health awareness week, we are delighted to feature a guest post from writer and mental health activist Harriet Williamson.
How technology supports my mental wellbeing
My name is Harriet Williamson and I’m a writer and mental health activist. I live with three long-term mental health conditions; depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
The coronavirus crisis has been very hard on people with pre-existing mental health conditions, and according to research from the charity Rethink Mental Illness, 80% of people living with serious mental illness including Borderline Personality Disorder and psychoses thought that their mental health was worse due to the impact of coronavirus. Another 28% described their symptoms as ‘much worse’.
For me personally, I’ve struggled with loneliness and the disruption to my daily routine caused by lock down measures. Recently, I’ve been dealing with intrusive thoughts, anxious feelings and depressive moments where I’ve found it hard to care for myself. However, I’m coping by painting, writing and making cards to lift the spirits of friends and family members.
Technology plays a big part in supporting my mental well being. I’ve completed a course of dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) on the NHS and I now use the DBT Coach app on my phone to remind myself to practice the skills I’ve learned and recognise patterns in my thoughts and feelings. I would highly recommend the DBT approach and the DBT Coach app to anyone struggling with borderline personality disorder or overwhelming emotions.
I’ve physically recovered from a nine year eating disorder, but I still struggle with eating disordered thoughts. Using the one-to-one live chat and online support groups on the Beat website really help me manage ED impulses in my more vulnerable moments.
Under lockdown, technology has become ever more important in allowing people to stay connected to one another. To maintain my mental wellbeing, I use a support network of friends and family, none of whom I can currently see face-to-face. However, Zoom and FaceTime calls help me to feel cared for and in the presence of others. I feel very fortunate to have so many tech options at my disposal when it comes to managing my mental health.
There is no health without mental health.
United and connected we can change mental health.