- Mental Health
- My story
- Ways to look after your mental health
- Keep Going
This blog post will be vague, as I don’t think I’m at a place yet where I can share all of me. But, I wanted to write something close to my heart.
I’m going to share information about mental health, along with my story; however, you should seek advice from a professional.
Each year on October 10th, it is World Mental Health Day. In 2021, the theme of World Mental Health Day is mental health in an unequal world. The theme is established by the world federation for mental health.
Access to mental health services still remains unequal. A large percentage of people with a mental illness don’t receive the treatment they need, and many experience stigma and discrimination.
World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to share and build a dialogue relating to mental health in general. Sometimes talking about your struggles can help others feel less isolated.
‘When you are mentally healthy, it doesn’t just mean you don’t have a mental health problem.’ – Mental Health Foundation.
Your mental health includes your psychological, emotional and social wellbeing. Your mental health can influence how you feel, think and sometimes act.
Mental health problems present themselves in different ways, such as sleeping or eating too little or too much, feeling hopeless or helpless, low energy or no energy, severe mood swings, to name a few.
I don’t know what to write.
There is so much to say, so much I want to share, but I don’t have the courage to write. There are so many questions in my mind. How do I write something that supports others? How much of myself do I share? Will my words matter?
Do I matter?
For a while. I didn’t think I mattered. I still have moments where I still think I don’t matter. I thought I brought so little into the world…
Some days I couldn’t get out of bed.
Some days, I drifted through the day without taking note of my surroundings or what I was doing.
Then someday, I felt like I was on top of the world. That nothing could bring me down.
Then other days, it felt hard to cope, and I used unhealthy coping mechanisms to get by.
You can see how this blog post is a mess right, but sometimes you can get good things out of the mess; you just have to dig a little.
I don’t know what to say next.
For me, I didn’t think I had enough hardships or problems to be struggling with my mental health. I thought that’s what happens to people who truly suffer, but the truth is, it can happen to anyone.
The truth for me is, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I want to say, yep, that’s what it’s called for how I feel sometimes. But I haven’t built up the courage to speak to anyone about it.
My family doesn’t really talk about mental health or emotions in general, if I am honest. We’ve always had a grin and bear it approach. Even when physically ill, we were encouraged to get on with it, and going to the doctors was a last resort.
People always seem shocked when I say that, and it wasn’t my parents being mean. It was because they couldn’t afford to let us stay home. For example, my dad worked long hours, so he would only be at home while we slept, while my mum worked throughout the day while we were at school. We couldn’t stay home because they couldn’t afford to take time off. If we were seriously ill, mum would stay home, obviously, but by the time we were older, it felt like we still had to grin and bear it.
It still feels like I have to put on a fake smile and make jokes when I visit my parent.
Take the last time I went back, it was lovely to see my parents again, but it was just so emotionally draining that when I returned to my partner, I cried a little.
Why am I sharing this, you might ask? Because this isn’t the mindset to have. We should be talking about mental health just as much as we talk about physical health. Well, in my family’s case, we should talk about both.
That conversation might be hard to have with my family, but I know I can have it with my friends and partner. It is your choice who you put your trust in, but talking to others can help.
Ways to look after your mental health
Again, I want to reiterate that you should seek advice from a professional, but I want to share how I attempt to look after my mental health.
Connecting with others and having an open dialogue is a great way to cope. I kept my feelings bottled up inside me for so long, as I thought I had no right to complain. The truth is, everyone is going through something, which is why it is important to be kind.
Blogging, weirdly enough, has helped me talk about my feelings. Even for the posts, I haven’t published yet, it feels good to write down my feelings. When I do share blog posts about how I am feeling, like feeling lost at 24, it helped me feel less alone when others shared their stories.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with talking about your feelings, and however, you are feeling is valid.
The little things can all add up, which is why I like to write down small things that make me happy. Sometimes I write down the little things that made me smile each day. Other times I write down my weekly accomplishments.
Kind words can go a long way. Use kind words when talking to yourself, and offer kindness to others. We can help each other when we can.
Looking after your physical wellbeing is a great way to care for your mental health. This includes good sleep, exercising, eating well and drinking sensibly.
This is the hardest part for me, as it is always the last priority on my list. It might not sound like much, but I am trying to be active for at least 30 minutes each day. Sleeping is another obstacle for me, as I tend to stay up later as I feel like I need to make the most of my day, but I sacrifice the energy for tomorrow.
Take a break
Even a five-minute break can help ease the burden you are facing and can assist you when de-stressing.
Never feel guilty about taking a break, as it can help more than pushing through.
Doing something you love and are good at, such as a hobby, can help. For me, I lose myself in blogging and crafting. It genuinely helps me boost my self-esteem, especially when I can connect with like-minded people.
I also like to cross-stitch, and more recently, I’ve started making jewellery as gifts for family and friends. These hobbies allow me to concentrate on something and can ease my worries.
I still struggle sometimes to get out of bed. Some days, showering is the best achievement I have. But, those days are just as important as the days I go see friends or write a new blog post.
Your mental health is important and is worth making time for, so be sure to take care of yourself and others. Take care of your mental health and talk to a professional when needed. You should not experience this alone.
I’m adding some text here to say I scheduled this blog post for 9am, October 10th 2021. I chickened out and moved it back to my drafts folder on WordPress. I got inside my head and said that other people have it worse than you; why are you sharing this?!
You are reading this, so I obviously changed my mindset because that voice is actually why I should share this blog post. Your story matters. It’s not about comparing your story to what other people are going through and scoring them. It’s about building awareness and speaking out because your story matters too.
You don’t have to suffer in silence. I’m nowhere near an expert and can’t offer professional advice by any means, but feel free to pop up for a chat on Twitter or in the comments below. I overthink my responses for way too long, and I’m slightly awkward, but I am here.
Mind – Support
Samaritans – Support
Mental Health Foundation – Your mental Health