I’ll be honest, this week my head has been all over the place, I’ve felt anxious, nervous and really unlike myself. On my laptop there is a list of ‘future blog post ideas’ that I have stored away which I’m really interested in and none of them were shouting out to me to be written this week. Then a post popped up in my Instagram reminding me that May is Mental Health Awareness month- it felt the most appropriate thing to write about given my current week.
Mental Health is becoming a topic we can more openly discuss with one another but it’s certainly one people still feel uncomfortable about when they’re surrounded by it. FULL DISCLAIMER: I used to really struggle to discuss mental health with people; I’m a hugely empathetic person and because I hadn’t gone through what a friend was going through, I couldn’t get my head around it – I didn’t understand how difficult their situation really was. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with depression that changed, and even then, the first couple of months I was so embarrassed I didn’t want anyone to know. I’m generally a loud, bubbly, friendly and outgoing person, how were people going to understand that inside I was a deeply sad person who didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning?
So firstly, I think this post should recognise that it is OK for someone to feel a little uncomfortable when discussing mental health. It does not mean your friend doesn’t care about you or doesn’t believe what you are saying. I’m sure they are trying to understand what you are experiencing through their own life perspective which can be difficult- try and be kind to them too. If you are someone who this resonates with and don’t know what to say or how to act around someone struggling with a mental health issue but you want to be there for them, my advice would be to simply sit and listen to them. This allows them to talk about the chatter which is circling around their brain and is usually all they are looking for in the first place.
We also need to remember that although no two people’s experiences are the same it’s great to open up with one another and share stories. Everyone suffers with poor mental health to some degree in their lifetime, so no doubt your story shares similarities with someone else’s and having an open and vulnerable conversation often makes you realise you’re not alone in this world and people understand to some degree what you are experiencing. This kind of conversation is what helps people recover and in some instances can save lives.
This final part i’ll discuss today touches on mental health recovery- something I am experiencing right now. I was on medication for depression for around six months and have come off them in the last two. Generally speaking everything has been fine since and I live a very normal and happy life. But, and there’s always a but, some weeks are much harder than others. This week in particular has been a real struggle, the nervousness, anxiety, and lack of self worth have all crept in and really got me down. However, this is to be expected and I need to remind myself that not every day will be plain sailing.
The best way I have found to describe my emotions is by using the image of the sea. Like the sea, my emotions are always drifting in and out and they’re usually very manageable and controlled, but sometimes something happens (and often I don’t even know what that something is) and it’s like a big rock has been dropped into the water creating a disruption in the waves. However, the sea will always return to normal once more – even stormy seas settle and become calm once more. You’ve just got to ride it out- and for me that involves some #boringselfcare but I’ll save that for another post.
This post feels all over the place but in all honestly I’ve just written from the heart. Mental Health doesn’t look perfect and much like this post it is very scattered and erratic. All I ask is this Mental Health Awareness month is that you are more open to discussing your own and others mental health issues with one another, learning something new, breaking the stigma, and promoting healthier communities and relationships with each other.
Until next time,