As you guys know, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety on and off for a good bit of my life.
Around this time last year, I had an extremely tough couple months. It feels paralyzing when you can’t do regular tasks like getting out of bed, or taking a shower, when the darkness is constantly looming yet you can’t rest because your heart is racing enough to make you feel like you might die. To hold it together as long as you can on the outside but to feel so alone on the inside. I remember that my big task for the day would be to walk Charlotte (my dog) around the block. If I could just make it around my house and back it would be enough, I remember thinking.
To be honest, just writing this down now makes my palms sweat and my nervous feelings arise. It’s scary to be vulnerable, but I’ve learned that it’s even scarier not to be. I know these feelings all too well, and so during that season of my life I decided that I needed to start sharing my struggles. Even if no one listened, I knew it would be beneficial for me to put my emotions and how I’d been feeling out into the universe.
Immediately, it made me feel so much less alone. I heard so many stories about others going through mental illness too, and there was this remarkable connection that was created as a result. Shortly after, I started seeing a doctor and therapist regularly, am on medication that helps tremendously, and have since gotten it all in check and am doing really well.
But, that doesn’t mean that I still don’t have tough days. I do.
I think mental health is always a tipping scale, and I know that because of the crappy days I can fully appreciate the good days. For me, I’m a creative person and definitely have a huge imagination. It’s wonderful when I’m working on an exciting project, but can be debilitating when I take the story of my life in my head down a rabbit hole. It’s important for me to just focus on the day-to-day, moment-to-moment. I find that when I’m focusing on groundedness and being thankful for what I have right now, those stories in my head slow down. I’ve also learned to focus on finding contentment and joy rather than happiness. Usually when those two arrive, the happiness comes too. But if I focus on needing to be happy, I don’t value the moments where I’m content, or joyful, or just feeling good. They might not be the big moments where my heart flutters and I feel intensely, but good mental health is more about an extended period of being content and feeling comfortable than it is about too low or too high of emotions. At least for me anyway.
There are so many more things I’ve learned when dealing with my mental health, and these are only just a few that are helpful. So, if you’ve been feeling just not right for an extended period of time, I would urge you to get some help. Go see a doctor. Talk to someone, even if it’s just a friend. Start somewhere. Even as a preventative measure, it’s always good to give yourself that which you need. Figuring out the tools and people I needed around me to keep myself healthy changed my life, and I’m living vibrantly, joyfully, and balanced because of it.
Whenever I start to feel like I could be slipping with my mental health again, I now have a super strong self-care checklist I work through. It involves down time, me time, I’ll read uplifting books, go for walks, hang out with family, do yoga, do something different to get out of my head, or just go inward when I need it. I’ve collected quotes for so many years in journals and saved photos on my phone, and so I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. I always go back to these when I need to be reminded that I’m awesome, I’m empowered, and life can be beautiful even in the midst of brokenness.
All my love to you, especially if you’re in a hard season of life. Trust me, there will be sunshine sometime soon. And most importantly, don’t ever close yourself off to the many emotions you have inside for they will someday become your superpower. Xx