6 March 2019

RESPECT YOUR JOURNEY


^^ Photo by Matt Holmes on Unsplash ^^

Yes, before anyone asks, I am talking about mental health... again. Why? Because it is playing a huge role in my life right now and also because a) I would like to try and share what is happening in order to help anyone going through something similar and b) writing about it is cathartic (I feel like that should have had a 'so there!' after it!).

Here's the truth: these last few weeks have been so painful and really, really hard to cope with the deep rooted hurt running through all of me; I feel I haven't known myself at all recently. Everything is cyclical, I know that, and I know, like I said in a recent post, that 'this too shall pass', but it has been one of the hardest spells of bad mental health I have had in years. 

Rather than fleeting dark thoughts, they have been like giant waves, knocking me over again and again and I have often felt like I am drowning in the sheer hell of it all. But, and there has to be a 'but' because you guys know I am not about wallowing in the crap of it, I am still okay, I am still standing strong against it and still being as stubborn as ever, refusing to let it take me down.

The stupid, and somewhat annoyingly ironic part about my mental health and severe depression/anxiety, is that I bloody love life, I really do; I have so many things I want to achieve, so many dreams, goals and places I want to visit some day, and the last thing I want is to feel those extreme dark thoughts, those ones that say 'you shouldn't be here', those ones that taunt the crap out of me until I am so exhausted that all I can do is drag myself into the safety of bed until it all subsides.

But that is exactly what I do; take to my bed and stay there until the worst of it has buggered off, then I try over again to be a 'normal' human; sometimes this involves faking a smile, a joke or just managing eye contact, but it is something and it eventually fades away again.

The things I have quickly realised I am terrible at is asking for help, and telling someone how I am really feeling inside. If asked if I am okay, at best I will say 'yeah, I'm fine' and at worst I will say 'I'm not having a good day today'; the latter should be translated into 'actually, I feel suicidal today and would really appreciate a hug right now'. 

All that somewhat miserable stuff to one side, I wanted to talk a bit about some things I am trying to work on to help through these strange days.

You guys probably know that I have been reading Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth' for about 100 years now (it has taken a while, but I have about five pages to go!!!!). In a lot of the book he discuss the human ego and its affect on our lives, in that we are often living in the past (thinking about something that has happened to us, getting angry, upset or frustrated at it and causing ourselves pain) or we are thinking about something that is about to happen or may happen in our future (building stories, usually exaggerated ones at that, around things that haven't even happened at all). His lesson is to try, as much as possible, to live in the now, acknowledging that the past and future will still overlap, but that the 'now' is really all we have. This is true, but bloody hard to get to grips with! I am trying to think about this when things get particularly difficult because anxiety tends to take you to places that are very good at telling stories that are sheer nonsense and, if you're not careful, something that started off as a small thing in your mind, turns into an utter devastating life event. 

Isn't it nuts how our own minds can do that to us? I find that really crazy; that we can sabotage our thoughts so much that we can make ourselves believe something that hasn't even happened will happen. 

So, I am practicing meditation where possible and trying to learn the art of 'filing' things out the way so that they don't cast themselves as lead roles in the play of my mind. I am trying to force myself to carry on with some kind of work even when I can feel super low and like just laying! I am trying to step outside at my really dark moments and just take some really deep, conscious breaths, focusing on just that one thing, and remembering how amazing my body is to be there, breathing without me needing to think about it all the time.

Mental illness is a total fu**wit; it is the bloody worst thing, but remember to try. Try and try and try again, because giving into it is not an option. I promise you (really promise you) that time is a healer, as is sleep... lots and lots of sleep.

Don't be scared to go to the doctors either, I am heading back there this week just to update him on this new, ever so exciting chapter of life (lucky doc!), but it is important to ask for help when it is needed. 

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