How the internet helped heal my mental illness

How the internet helped heal my mental illness

Hi everyone,

In this week’s post, I will be talking about my journey with Silvercloud.

If anyone is unsure about what Silvercloud is, it’s an online platform which helps its users cope with stress, anxiety and depression. It consists of an 8-week course that is designed to be taken in your own time and at your own pace. Which means no travelling out for therapy sessions either on your own or in groups, it can be done from the comfort of your own home. The site uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to try and help its users change the way they think and feel about things.

You get your own personal therapist who will contact you each week, leaving feedback on what you have written or helpful tips about your progress with the modules you have completed. The site has its own online journal which you can use to document your journey through the process about what you are feeling and how are applying the teachings to your day to day life.

Silvercloud features activities, quizzes, audio guides, meditation sessions and videos which all contribute to helping you deal with difficult thoughts and feelings.

Throughout my life, I have had troubled times, which all contributed towards my mental health suffering. A few years ago, I was officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety when visiting a health professional. At first, I felt like everything had stood still for a moment. I felt relieved. I know you may think that it’s crazy to feel that way, but I had finally found out what was wrong with me. Why I seemed to struggle things other people did with ease. It was the realisation of I’m not okay but I will be. I’m not going to lie when I was first told a tear did run down my face. The shock was something I just wasn’t prepared for but once I had time to process it I started to feel better.

My journey with Silvercloud took a while for me. At first, I just didn’t want to do it. The thought of getting involved with it and accepting that I needed help was just too much. I knew I was ill, but knowing that made me feel defeated. I didn’t want want to be ill and anyway I could find to avoid admitting it, I took. As my mental health started to decline further last August when starting out with my teacher training course, I decided that I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I had to get help. I wanted to succeed in my course which was suffering due to my confidence levels being low and my motivation non-existent. I feared failure and for once that fear was higher than the fear of admitting I needed help.

Just after December 2019 I visited my doctor and got referred to Silvercloud. I couldn’t be more proud of myself that I made that decision, even though it was hard and I cried a lot, I knew I had to do it.

My first thought when starting the course was that I just didn’t think it would work. I just couldn’t understand how I would get better by doing something through a computer screen and not seeing someone in real life.

I took the first few weeks slow, completing each module, taking the quizzes and reading other people’s opinions about how it helped them. My embarrassment with admitting that I was ill started to fall away. There were others like me. I’m not on my own. I knew that there are many people across the world that suffer from mental illnesses but in my head, I must have thought I was the only one who felt so awful and sad all the time. I felt lonely. I just couldn’t understand why I had to be chosen to feel like this as it was horrible, but reading about how other people felt made me feel part of a community you might say. People out there, many people are just like me. They are struggling. They are hurting. Then those words came back to me: I will be okay.

Throughout my journey with Silvercloud I have learnt:

  • How to deal with worries and how to reduce them.
  • How to process my thoughts.
  • I found the answers to questions like: Why am I feeling like this? How do I cope with this?
  • I learnt about coping mechanisms and how even though I swore I didn’t have any, I did. It taught me how to recognise them and how to get rid of them.
  • To understand my mind and body. I listen to it now.
  • The IMPORTANCE of meditation! Honestly give it a go. I didn’t get how it worked the first time but when I continued it I saw a difference. I found it useful when in high-pressure situations as a way of centring myself and calming the f down.

The use of Silvercloud in my life has changed the way I view my illness. I am not broken or useless, I am just ill. Even though you may beat yourself up about it, try not to. We can’t help how we feel sometimes and for those of you who do have mental illnesses, take your time. The famous saying of Rome wasn’t built in a day, well depression and anxiety won’t be fixed in a day either. it may not be fixed in a month, a few months or even a year but it will be easier. I will be honest with you; I’m not fixed yet. I still have a long journey of taking what I learnt from Silvercloud and applying it to my day to day life. But you know what I can say; I am finally starting to feel the happiness. Every day that sadness bubble which has bee hanging out above my head for a while now looks smaller and less scary to me. I feel stronger, braver and my mind is clearer than ever.

Love, Shannon Leigh xx

If you are interested in giving Silvercloud a go visit your local GP as to have access to the program, you need to be referred by a doctor. Good luck and stay safe xx

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Feature image by Anthony Tran on Unsplash


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