National Stress Awareness Day
You are probably wondering why I Am Not A Brand is blogging about National Stress Awareness Day.
There are so many reasons.
Like most families, mine has been affected by mental health issues to varying degrees so I understand how a lack of information and awareness negatively effects not only those who have a mental illness but the whole family.
One in four people will be affected by a mental illness in any given year and I don’t believe there is enough provision made through the NHS and private care is unaffordable for many people.
I spent a year volunteering for a local charity helping to run a weekly drop in centre for people with eating disorders.
How can I help?
The training and practical experience I received during my time volunteering means that I have done lots of research that really helped the service users. So I would like to pass some of that information on.
What is Stress?
Your first port of call for information about any health issue should be your GP and go to your doctor armed with as information as possible. The NHS online has lots of valuable advice and information.
According to the NHS stress is a feeling of being under pressure and finding it difficult to cope.
Feeling stressed can affect everything you do, impeding decisions about the problems that are causing stress.
Common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating.
Feeling anxious, irritable or low in self esteem, racing thoughts, worry, short temper are all signs of stress. Physical signs can be headaches, muscle tension or pain, or dizziness.
Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body which can be beneficial but consistent, long term stress hormones can lead to more serious mental health conditions.
How To Deal With Stress?
I found that the charity Mind lists several steps you can take to deal with pressure that results in stressful feelings such as:
- Identifying your triggers
- Organising your time
- Address some of the causes
- Accepting things you can’t change
When I was volunteering for an eating disorder charity I realised that most people with stress related mental health issues were dealing with more than one illness. Often a physical disability can lead to stress.
One of the most stressful activities you can face is applying for PIP or Personal Independence Payment.
When filling in the forms it is important to look at the advice available online. Don’t be put off if you are refused your PIP the first time as there is an appeal process and about half of all refused appeals are overturned.
Sadly there must be vast numbers of claimants who don’t appeal because they either don’t know they can or are too stressed and ill to face the process.
It is an overly complex and difficult process but try not to take it personally. Again the more information you have the better.
These are a few statistics I found out from a quick search.
“Government figures reveal 1,196 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims were given a decision in July this year (the most recently published monthly data).” Birmingham Mail
“More than four in 10 disability benefit claims across Bristol are being rejected, as people struggle to navigate a process campaigners called “deliberately complicated and difficult”.” Bristol Post
Headline: £87m hole as almost a third of DLA claimants refused PIP. BBC
I found the following websites incredibly useful when I helped a service user fill in a PIP form.
Whatever is causing you stress it is always better to talk about your problems with someone you trust. If you would rather speak to someone anonimously call the Samaritans on 116 123 in the UK or visit the website.