Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day, and 1 in 3 people in Scotland experience mental health issues.
I hear people talking about raising awareness and I think that this is important.
I see many articles about managing symptoms and I think that this is important too.
I read posts about challenging the stigma and I definitely think that this is important.
However, what I long to hear more about is how people can fully recover from their mental health issues. So, today I am going share a little snippet of how I healed mine.
When I was 19 I found myself crying on my bathroom floor, for no obvious reason. From then on I experienced mild to moderate mental health issues for years before finally experiencing a mental health crisis in my 30s. I chose not to speak to my doctor about this because I knew in my heart that popping pills wasn’t the path I wanted to take.
There were times that my anxiety was so bad that I was too afraid to go to sleep.
There were times that my depression was so severe that I didn’t see the point in living.
I chose to stop thinking that anxiety and depression were things that I ‘had’, and started to view them as things that I was ‘experiencing’. Instead of saying ‘I am anxious’ I would say ‘right now I am feeling anxious’. BIG difference – this was a MASSIVE shift for me. I stopped repressing my emotions and started feeling them. All of them. It was messy.
I started to ask myself empowering questions like ‘how can I feel just a little bit better in this moment?’ or ‘how can I love myself more right now?’.
I took action, and I started to notice changes, I actually started to feel better, MUCH better.
I discovered that our mental health is linked to our emotional, physical and spiritual health. For me, it wasn’t just one thing that aided my recovery. It was the culmination of many practices. Some of the things I have done to take care of myself are…
- Cleaning up my diet and lifestyle
- Taking time to rest and taking gentle exercise
- Meditating and breathing deeply
- Reading nourishing words and writing in a journal
- Feeling my emotions and talking about my feelings
- Expressing my emotions no matter how inconvenient it may feel to me
- Loving myself and surrounding myself with people who genuinely care about me
- Being vulnerable and letting others get close to me
- Forgiving others and forgiving myself
- Counselling and coaching
- Letting go of all that no longer serves me
- Being less critical of myself and developing self-compassion
- Honouring my needs and desires, and doing things that bring me joy
- Dealing with emotional trauma and speaking from my heart
- Getting to know myself and discovering my life purpose
- Stopping playing the victim and taking full responsibility for my own life
- Facing my fears, finding my courage and never giving up
That’s quite a list, right?
Has this been easy for me? No.
Has it been worth it? Yes.
This is not a one-size fits all approach. We must take responsibility for our own healing. We must go inwards to find out what works for ourselves. We must start to believe that recovery is possible.
However, it’s not quite as simple as that, for you see, the society that we live in is not healthy, and we are deeply connected to the society in which we live (whether we want to be or not). I see the suffering around me. I feel the pain of others. And it hurts.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”
I feel the injustice, I feel the inequality and I always have done. It’s not that I am immune to feeling this any longer, nor would I want to be, but now I am better equipped to care for myself, and hold space for others around me. I accept the things that are outwith my control and chose to take action where I can in that moment. And that is called wisdom.
When I stopped pointing fingers elsewhere, and stopped blaming others, I was able to take control back of my own life, and I call that self-empowerment.
I believe that some people are clinically depressed and that for some people medication prescribed by a doctor can be helpful, but I also believe that many of the mental health issues that people are experiencing are due to factors within their control. Just to be absolutely clear, I am in no way blaming people who are living with mental health issues, far from it. It is no-one’s ‘fault’. I have deep compassion for anyone experiencing mental health issues, and that’s why I want to share my perspective, and what tools and practices have helped me. I want to show people who are suffering that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
You CAN get better
There ARE brighter days ahead
DON’T give up
I can help you. If you are experiencing mental health issues and you REALLY want to feel better, contact me. If you are READY to make changes in your life, I can support you to do that through one to one sessions.
I am here to serve you.
So… why not get in touch. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.