Sunday, 21 March 2021

My own mental health experience

Hand-holding-note-saying-phone-a-friend
Photo cred Dustin Belt unsplash

Well it's been a while. I'll be honest I started writing this at the end of 2020 and wasn't even sure if I was going to press publish... and here I am now.

Mental health.. something we've heard a lot about in the past year and as I'm writing this I'm ever so conscious of how I talk about and address this topic.

This is something I've really struggled with in the past year - more than most people will be aware of. It isn't something I've openly spoken about and not doing so has been my downfall. 2020 looks to have changed most people's thoughts and ideas on mental health and personally you never really know the importance of your mental health until it gets completely broken down - as I found out.

I can't begin to explain what it feels like when you feel yourself spiraling down a hole - it's honestly the hardest thing to see an end to any kind of anxiety-like feelings. I can only describe it as one thought triggers another which trigger another and the downward spiral begins and continues. But it isn't something you should shy away from, don't 'feel ashamed' to be feeling down or not in a 'right form of mind.' If something feels wrong - acknowledge it, listen to it, tell someone, write down your feelings - just please don't ignore it. (something I'm still very much learning to do myself!)

I thought I had my mental health in control until a few days when I felt myself feeling incredibly anxious, overwhelmed and just not myself. There were multiple moments when I was sat in a room and was physically there but mentally was so zoned out.

I've found out that sometimes mental health isn't something that can sorted in an hour, a week or even a month, it can be a very gradial process but having reflected on what I've felt the past few days I've come to realise that acknowledging it at the first moment, knowing the trigger(s) is incredibly important. Like I've said this is something I'm still learning to do. But it's the first step.

Something else I'm learning is that you can only control what you can control and remembering that when you feel low can also be so useful. I find it's not helpful worrying about something that's out of your control and is just taking up more space in your mind then needed. It's very widely said but focusing on the positives can be helpful just to change your mindset (even if it's after you've gone through an anxious moment/anxious couple of hours/days, whatever it is). As one of my favourite sayings of late goes 'protect your energy.'

I've begun to learn some techniques to manage my anxiety such as the 5.4.3,2,1 grounding technique also know how incredibly hard it is to even remember any of these when you don't feel ok. I still feel ashamed when I begin to feel anxious but I also know having just gone through these feelings very recently, saying something is vital. 

I've also personally found that having a release whether it's reading, writing, colouring, knitting or exercise like in my case has also been so helpful. I've taken to running and found it so handy to just clear my head and focus on myself.

I don't want to go on and on in this post but I'm still very much learning to manage my thoughts and feelings. I'm learning to reflect on how I have felt in the past few days and hopefully will be able to take some of this forward to other instances where I feel myself getting anxious. I'm not sure if this will be useful, thought provoking or mean anything to anyone reading this but I just wanted to share some thoughts.. maybe I'll start posting and sharing my story a little more.

Until then, big love!

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