Two Zero Four

Today was another day of not accomplishing much. I hate it. Have a real problem with non-productivity! I did clean my room though and that was super satisfying.

A few years ago I did a course on mental health and we talked about the five core needs that people have – belonging, significance, security, purpose, progress. Maybe room cleaning is so satisfying because it’s an easy progress tick. Needs met!

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Twenty Nine

I posted this on my Instagram today:

For a long time, I took pride in being someone who was independent and strong, someone who had their shit together. But in the last several months, I’ve experienced again the wounds that pain and loneliness leave, had my emotions betray me and slip through the grasp of my control. I’ve cried in cafes, on public transport, at work. 

There were days where being ‘normal’ was exhausting and I was constantly running on empty, rolling through the motions of life but never feeling like I was actually living them. Not everyday was like this but when I wasn’t living in this bleakness, I was terrified and in anticipation of when it would hit again. For the first time in my life, I lost my appetite. I had no interest in food and felt nauseas constantly. 

I guess my experience goes to show that even if you’re not someone who identifies as having anxiety or depression, you can still feel anxious and depressed. No one is above mental health.

Today is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week but I hope that our awareness extends beyond seven days in a year. We are all on our own mental health journey and we need to support each other in this. I can’t stress enough how important good communities are. Mine has helped me see that the future can be my friend again, that one day I will feel safe enough to go back to being recklessly optimistic and hopeful. They have made all the difference. We all have the ability to be that difference in our communities. Let’s be people who walk with each other and carry each other through everything that life throws at us.

Before pressing the “Post” button, I went back and forth, back and forth in my head about whether or not to go ahead with it. On the one hand, I wanted to normalise talking about mental health and open up that conversation but at the same time, I was scared of what people would think when they saw what I had written. Would they think I was just being a drama queen? Would they worry about my mental state and change the way they interact with me? I’ve never made myself so publicly vulnerable before.

In the end, I decided to post it because dialogue is so tantamount to a mentally healthier future. If we want to see our country’s suicide rates come down, and for society to be a safer place for people to open up about mental health, then we need to cultivate that now, in our own communities.

I’m not the poster girl for overcoming mental health issues, even though I talk about it in the past tense in my post. I’m not sure I’ll ever overcome mental health issues, or if it’s even possible for anyone to do that. I’m starting to see and understand mental health as a tunnel – sometimes you’re closer to the light and other times you’re in the pitch black. We’re all together, though, somewhere in the tunnel. That’s why we need to join forces, so that those of us closer to the light can lead the ones in the dark, out of it. And just because you might be in the dark, it doesn’t mean that the light has gone. It’s still there, it will always be there, waiting for you.

Twenty Eight

It’s mental health awareness week this week and far out, having good community around you means all the difference doesn’t it?

I think of the last four months and how there have been some good times but mostly it’s just been fucking shit. I honestly don’t know where I would be without my friends and family. They ground me and help me to hope again for the future. We need each other.

Six

One of the worst things after a break up is having to tell people about it. After J and I broke up, I sent out texts to my closest friends – just copied and pasted into different conversations. I wanted to rip that bandaid off in one go. But there are still conversations you have to have face to face and each time I tell the story of us, I’m pounded again by the reality of those words.

I felt this today at my counselling session. We talked about the breakup and effective strategies to move out of this hole I feel I’m in.

At the moment, I’m skeptical that I’ll find someone like him again, someone that I’ll connect with so instantly and deeply. My counsellor suggested swapping out definitive terms to more time restricted words. So instead of “I’ll never connect with someone else like that again”, to change to “Right now, I feel like I’ll never connect with someone else like that again”.

A couple of years ago, I did a mental health course and they talked about cognitive theories and how you had to train your brain to go down certain thought paths – that our brains were like rivers and the more you carved out the same thought patterns, the easier it was for your brain to think those thoughts. I like that.

I’ve been feeling so disempowered the last few months, have resigned myself to these feelings. It’s nice to think that I can take back some control, that bit by bit, I can train my thoughts to become more hopeful for the future again.

Five

It’s 10pm and I’m sitting in bed, typing this out and thinking about my counselling session tomorrow. It’s my first session with this counsellor and it feels daunting, thinking about all the ground we have to cover to catch them up on my life.

I want to be honest but am scared to be vulnerable with a stranger, want to be able to say the right words for them to feel what I feel, but don’t want to expose my weakness. Even with someone who has probably seen the worst of worsts, who is trained to be empathetic and understanding, I still somehow feel like I have to prove something? Still somehow feel like I need to downplay my pain even though the fact that I’ve made an appointment is admission that I’m not okay.

In the last few months, I’ve had to learn again that it’s okay to not be okay, but more than that – it’s okay to be sad, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we’re so used to being comfortable and hearing good stories, we forget that life isn’t always easy. Life is ugly sometimes – it’s crying in the bathroom at work, it’s running until your lungs burst because you need to feel something else hurt that wasn’t your heart. It’s sitting in the uncomfortable with friends who are hurting and not trying to fix them, just sitting.