I have struggled with Mental Health Awareness Week this week. My Twitter timeline has been congested with tweets about a number of topics under the mental health umbrella, and I have struggled with identifying what it is I find strange about this week.
I think I feel found out. I think I also feel left out of the conversation. I’m very much an outsider, and I always have been. This has been a combination of not having the social skills, being socially isolated as a teenager, and experiences that have made me feel wary of people. These all have impacted on my dipping a toe into the waters of society. I like people. I do try to join in. It’s just bad experiences, and little social skills make me what I call fingers and thumbs when it comes to the whole conversation thing. In many ways social media has helped. Because I can comment on blogs, and people’s tweets, and boost my self-esteem. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with a lot of anxiety that I may have said the wrong thing, or it is interpreted the wrong way.
Having anxiety, and depression, means you can live in your head a lot of the time, and thoughts, and feelings can become distorted. You can feel self – important. That you are the only person feeling this way, and your thoughts are the all important ones in the conversation.
That’s why having a person to give perspective, and some input, can change the ways you think. Such as if you begin to think suicide is your one, and only, option. You will disregard traffic light signals, or look at the top of tall buildings and imagine what it would be like to jump off the top, or bleach in the toilet becomes a temptation.
That’s why talking is important. People advise you to reach out, they have been this week on their blogs, and I think that can be jarring when you don’t have the skills to do so. It can be frustrating, and I think personally being an outsider, I have usually figured stuff out for myself, so making the first step can be so so difficult.
I also think in terms of frustration, when people are telling you reach out by going to your doctor, for example. It can, as it did for me, add another dimension to your illness. The whole cycle of trying to get an appointment with your doctor, attending that appointment, having that courage to build a trusting relationship with your doctor. I have a phone phobia, so talking on the phone is tough for me, I like to know a place I’m going to, be familiar with the setting, I like to know the doctor I’m going to see, as in their age, build, tone of voice, etc. and sometimes summoning the mental energy to do all of these tasks can leave you on the brink. Failure is a huge stick with which to beat myself with, so if I ‘fail’ to make an appointment, if I ‘fail’ to keep my appointment I can immediately go into a tangent of see you are useless, you’re not good enough you can’t be bothered to even help yourself no one likes you you’re always going to be a loser you might as well kill yourself. (Obviously, these are deep seated beliefs, and I’m working on them!)
When you start to develop these bugbears they can become a problem area, and I think your doctor can be a good place to start, but if you are like me then sometimes it’s best to rearrange the widths of your goalposts. These are a few tasks I think are super important to help yourselves with as soon as you wake up:
- Step outside your front door and breathe in some fresh air.
- Drink some water.
- Brush your teeth.
I hope this post gives you some insight into mental health, and its complexities. This post turned out long, so if you got to the end well done, and thank you for reading! Do comment your thoughts below. I wrote this off the top of my head into a WordPress post because I had a realisation recently that at primary school we had to go through a process of writing a draft copy of something, going through it for mistakes, and then writing a neat copy. I think I have continued this process since, and recently it has just lead to procrastination. Possibly using different words may help as well. I know with my poetry books I will need to go through various revisions, but with blog posts, and the such I think I need to be more relaxed. I write something in my notebook, and the thought of editing, and then typing it leaves me procrastinating, so no more!
Also look at this photo of the park I went to a few days ago. Perfect writing spot! The weather here in the UK has been sunny, so my boyfriend and I have been going on lots of walks, which helps keep your mind healthy too.