Last week was World Mental Health Day. It’s genuinely not something I knew existed until people started posting about it on Instagram. Seeing people sharing quotes (I love me a good quote), pictures and inspirational stories made me feel happy that actually, people are talking about mental health now more than ever before. It’s important.
I guess I wanted to write this for a couple of reasons. For a long time I thought I was alone, and I didn’t feel normal. Then more and more people started speaking up – even celebrities. So I thought, why shouldn’t I? What am I actually afraid of?
I won’t launch into my story – because it’s something I’m still living. It’s personal to me, and I want to be brave enough to share it, but I think for now, I’ll just be brave enough to do this. *Baby steps*
So I thought this week I would offer little snippets here and there of what helps me. No mental health illness is easy, and I actually think it’s made ten times harder because of the stigma attached to it – but like I said, it’s getting talked about more now, and there IS help out there. My v wise baby sister said to me a couple of months ago; “life is like a bear hunt, you know the book? You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it; you have to go through it“. She’s sixteen. I love her.
Surround yourself with good people
It’s crucial. Having a good support network means you’re not going to be alone. Whether it’s a partner, a friend or a brother. It means you’re not fighting it on your own. & for every person who can’t understand what you’re going through, there will be someone who does. I am SUPER lucky to have the people I do around me.
More than that, talking really does help. I was dubious, but there is something in that ol’ saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” – confiding in someone lightens the load.
Mind are brilliant. I can’t recommend them enough. Their website alone offers so much; whether it’s emotional support for you, a carer or loved ones, financial advice, employment help, or general information on how to look after yourself, the list goes on.
Crucially for me, they offer counselling. My therapist is genuinely one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life, and going through Mind has been one of the best decisions I could have made for myself.
If like me you’re a bit of an exercise phobe, and if it was a toss up between pooper scooping badger poo or running three laps of a mahoosive track (badger poo everyday) then the idea of exercise is all kinds of no.
HOWEVER, I used to go running. I also used to dance in my room to Steps on the regs (it counts, ok?) and I used to pop a spot o’ pilates in here and there.
Then I stopped.
Luckily for me I have a v fitness-minded bf who is always telling me to keep moving. Initially I’m reluctant, but I see what a difference it makes to him after he’s been to the gym – he’s lighter/happier/more relaxed – and then I’m like…well if it makes him feel better, it might make me feel better. Plus Google tells me your body releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel good. Google knows all. So I’m working on getting my hiney back into gear. Honest.
I mean it goes without saying you need to eat. (She says at three o’clock in the day and body is running on an apple…). But SRSLY, it’s kinda necessary. Healthy body/healthy mind. You might not be cured by eating a ham sandwich, but you’ll have more energy. Energy > positive. It’s a foundation.
I genuinely forget to eat sometimes – and when I do I eat the wrong stuff. So I’ve found when I do eat the right stuff, I feel a difference. I’ve been LOVING apples and satsumas recently – and rice cakes. Oh and the four pack of Wispa bars hidden in the wookie cookie jar are good too. TREATS ARE ALLOWED OK.
*I would heartily recommend Chamomile and Honey tea – if you need help winding down, somehow that magic teabag helps. Plus it’s tasty.
I should have mentioned exercise is also a pretty good distraction. Distractions are healthy – if your brain is constantly on a loop of negativity, it can be so good to find something that gives your mind a rest for a while. I started drawing again recently – I also started this blog because I always loved writing. But it can be anything – whether it’s a mindfulness app, a colouring book, painting, sport, reading, baking or playing guitar. It’ll be a release. & if it’s something creative, I’ve found you can channel emotions through it.
It’s also such a big deal to try and get out of the house. Breathe in the fresh air. I love a good walk in the woods – I love nature. There’s something so pure about it. I also believe animals provide the best therapy. Anyone who knows me, will know that my cat Sammie is my baby. I swear, he can just look at me and I feel better. Plus he’s the best cuddle buddy ever.
It’s ok not to be ok.
Accepting that there will be days when you feel like absolute arse and nothing will make you feel better, is okay.You’re not being defeatist. It’s ok not to be ok. Sometimes I feel guilty if I haven’t managed something; whether it’s leaving the house/cooking dinner/handing in an essay late. But it’s ok. Because I’m only human, we all are & beating ourselves up over everything will only make us feel worse.
What I’ve learnt in the last few months is to take it easy on myself. I do what I can, I take baby steps and I don’t try to explain myself to anyone. I’m taking care of me, and that’s all that matters for now.
I’ve only really had experience with Mind – however there’s this great organisation called The Blurt Foundation – not only do they offer what they call a ‘buddy box’ – a monthly subscription box full of goodies designed to make you feel better – but they also send the most uplifting and lovely emails. I think I get mine every Saturday. Occasionally, they’ve been so well timed that I wonder if they’re telepathically in tune with my mind. Check them out. 🙂
I’ll also pop some hyperlinks below for some other helpful people out there. Thanks for sticking with me if you’ve read this far. I promise I did not nearly poop myself publishing this. Much.