Mental health isn't a desination in itself. It's part of a winding road through life. There will be highs and lows, struggles and triumphs. Talking about mental health helps to equip us for this journey and to thrive.
There will always be struggles
I share a lot about my mental health and the activities or techniques that help me build up and maintain my mental fitness.
I believe this is important to help others see they are not alone and to provide hope. However, I am conscious that this might paint a picture that once you get help it’s all plain sailing from there.
In fact, I still have struggles, and I'm struggling as I write this.
I feel angry, but not sure what it is directed at. I’m irritable and quick to jump to negative conclusions. I’m increasingly wanting to be on my own and feeling less optimistic about the future.
Not only that, but I’ve stopped doing the things that I know help my mental fitness, and I also don’t feel motivated to do them. I’m eating poorly, not exercising, my sleep is broken, and my journaling is patchy at best.
These are all feelings that were present during my previous experience with depression.
I can recognise my struggles and take action
The difference to my previous experience with depression is that I am much more aware of my thoughts and feelings because I've previously found help. I can recognise these feelings and the deterioration today.
I’m getting help and I know that this will pass, as it did before. I expect there will be more experiences like this to come, and I will also be able to handle them.
There will be good days and bad days. I’ll experience relapses. But, there are things I can do to manage this and thrive, but equally, if I don’t do them it will have a negative effect.
Mental health, just like physical health, isn’t a destination in itself. It’s not some utopia to reach for, it's just life. But, the power of talking about mental health is that it can help us all to be better equipped to deal with our challenges in life.
If you're struggling right now, remember that you are not alone. It's not a permanent state and there is hope and help available.
Among the many support resources out there, two for immediate help in the UK are: