Huntingdon woman’s open letter on mental health struggles is read by thousands
- Credit: Archant
A Huntingdon woman who struggles with complex mental health issues has published an emotional open letter to her family and friends in the hope that more people will gain an insight and understanding into mental illness.
Laura Humphreys posted the letter entitled To Those I Love: A Letter to be Shared on her blog three weeks ago and it has already been read by 4,700 people.
The 25-year-old, who lives in East Street with her fiance Chris de Stefano, has struggled with mental health problems since the age of seven and currently has episodes where she self-harms and has panic attacks and suicidal thoughts for which she takes regular medication. She also experiences anxiety and agoraphobia, social anxiety and emetophobia – the fear of nausea and vomiting.
“I have written a lot of words on the blog but this is the single most important thing I have written and it has turned into something far bigger than anything I anticipated,” she said.
“The letter explains in plain and simple terms that if I am struggling, people shouldn’t blame themselves. Sometimes I have to walk away from people and situations or perhaps not visit family and friends in order to hold myself together.”
Laura, who works from home as assistant editor of Guinea Pig Magazine and is studying for a psychology degree with the Open University, started her blog called Believe two years ago as a way of sharing her experiences with others, and to date it has been read by almost 20,000 people.
“I wanted to share my experiences because it has helped me in learning to live with and recover from all of these difficulties and to bring more understanding to several poorly understood conditions. If any of the writings on the blog help just one person either understand their own condition or that of a family member, friend, colleague or patient, then I have achieved what I set out to do. The emetophobia, in particular, is something I wish to raise awareness of as it impacts so heavily on all areas of life and can interlink with other mental health problems, yet it is so rarely spoken of, and can be so awkward to treat,” added Laura.
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Laura began to experience symptoms of mental illness at primary school and says several GPs wrote her off as an “attention seeker” before she was finally diagnosed at the age of 14.
“Things have improved, in terms of getting help, but there is still a long way to go,” she explained.
“GPs and health professionals need to take a more holistic approach and look at all the different therapies and counselling that is available. The most important thing is having someone listen and someone who understands that you want to have some input in your treatment and care.”
If you want to read Laura’s blog or the open letter, go to believementalhealth.wordpress.com.