So today is world mental health day and I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
I’ve been on a bit of a journey the past 2 years now dealing with fixing? making better? working on I don’t really know the best way to describe it but essentially getting my mental health back to a better state as I was suffering from anxiety and depression.
I thought that it would be a quick fix and didn’t quite realise the journey I was about to embark on to get things back on a bit more of an even keel. Oddly enough I was told by a colleague that these things don’t fix themselves overnight and to give myself time to recover. Which I was a bit yeah OK am sure everyone says that, but it can’t really be that way can it and well yes, they were right.
After about 6 months I was making progress and finding different ways to help me cope with my situation. Then boom lockdown happened. This basically inspired me to start blogging about my journey. I’d heard so many folks say oh I’ll go crazy at home etc and for me it was OK, but you maybe don’t understand how having bad mental health can be for you. Its not something you want to have to deal with. However, being at home was a struggle for a lot of us and I shared my own journey to let people know it’s OK to not be OK all the time. I guess part of me before that really didn’t want people outside of my family, close friends and only the people at work who had to know like about 2 or 3 folk), knowing that I was suffering and dealing with this. By telling my story it felt better and made me realise that I was worried about what people would think of me since there can be still a stigma to having problems with your mental health which I needn’t have worried about as I got so much support from those around me it made me realise that it is something that you shouldn’t be ashamed of, and you should talk to people. Lockdown and working from home was difficult for sure, not having that proper routine of being out amongst people and being in front of a class for so long was tough. In a way I at least went into lockdown with strategies in place already to help me whereas I’d say that for those who were affected by it maybe had a more difficult time as it was a lot harder to get help. Through a mix of everything though I made sure I kept up with the strategies – my favourite being a mindfulness meditation that my super amazing colleague did via teams she was a literal godsend and also using the senses technique where if you are feeling panicked/anxious then you use your senses to find things around you to help ground you. This is useful if you are out and about anywhere and need to try bring yourself round from a panic attack.
Sadly at the start of this year I lost one of my daughters most unexpectedly and that has been life changing and traumatic. So my mental health has taken a knockback but I’m so much more aware of all the signs granted it does not make it easier like I can’t just pick up the strategies and go. I want to do the meditation again but when I did it first time round it was actually such an emotional experience that I can’t even begin to think about that just now. I go on one day at a time just now while realising that I have to keep up my awareness of changes to my mental health be it good or bad and know when to ask for help. I also know that actually just talking helps and I have so many folk who are there to talk to be it for support, rationalising things, crap talk, banter or even the stupid dad jokes aye you know who you are worst jokes ever but don’t change.
So as this World Mental Health day draws to a close I’ll leave you with this we all have mental health but what state its in well that’s for you to learn. You need to know the signs are you happy are you sad. Are you withdrawing from friends and doing things. Have you lost the passion for thigs (eg I lost my love of lego for a long while). Even more basic proper self care? Or on the flip side has your friend been different recently. Just a wee check in goes a long way but don’t just ask the once ask again and be sure that they are OK.
Do you have a trusted friend/family member/colleague? I am lucky that I have family friends and colleagues who all look out for me. But remember you need to talk to even just one person do not carry this on your own we all need to look out for each other you never know what folk are going through.
World mental health day can’t just end after today – we need to be aware constantly similar to the #bekind yeah we do have to but we need to #bekind 24/7 52 weeks a year forever. Not just because it’s the latest hashtag to trend or it’s a day or week of awareness. Damn right we need the awareness we need to feel like we can talk about these things without being ridiculed or made to feel like it’s a hassle (not in the job I’m in but I have had this in a previous job – my current job I have the absolute best of the best). We all have mental health and yeah each persons is in a different shape so lets keep talking and end the stigma.