It’s so easy, when in the grip of symptoms of mental health conditions, to feel like that’s all there is. That we’ll feel like that forever. That there’s no escape.
When I look back at my darkest (so far – although I imagine that this work means I’ll seek help much sooner if it ever happens again) days, in my teens and twenties, I am so grateful that while I felt suicidal many many times, I only actually acted on it (although I prepared other times) once.
And, fortunately, that was a failed attempt (I mentioned it in my book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing) with no lasting consequences. No matter how desperate I felt (many times) after 14 year old me ‘failed’ I knew without a shadow of a doubt that things get better. Nothing is permanent. I had no idea about mindfulness back then but always remembered how awful I’d felt and how relieved I’d been that it hadn’t worked.
It reminds me of weather or having a cold. In a heatwave, we might never be able to imagine feeling cold again. In the dead of winter, we might imagine we’ll never fully defrost. When we have a cold, we might wonder if we’ll ever do something as basic as breathing easily ever again.
When we’re feeling too knocked about by life, it can all feel too much.
I KNOW the mountain I adore to see is still there. I might joke that it’s gone on holiday to sunnier climes but I saw it from that spot, several times yesterday and even earlier this morning. It’ll be visible again.
However clouded over your mood feels, happiness, wholeness and ease – GOOD mental health – IS still there. There’s a part of you that’s already healthy, happy and whole.
I’m not saying this to rub anything in but to remind you that when we connect with that part that’s MORE than whatever symptoms or conditions we’re feeling at war with, it can bring an expansive energy which then allows us to take a breath, think of something that we CAN manage that will begin to help us feel that little bit better.
Something we can then build on.
It might be as basic as brushing your teeth or hair. It might be reaching out to a loved on. It might be seeing a therapist (if my approach appeals, you can get in touch to arrange a free telephone consultation).
It might be making (and keeping) that doctor’s appointment.
It might be getting enough sleep and rest to let your body and mind heal and recover.
Self care can sound fluffy but it can be life saving. The little actions add up and help us do more. We create virtuous cycles that begin with us taking that first step and telling ourselves that we ARE worthy.
We deserve to feel (if amazing feels like too big a stretch) OK.
This mental health set back is temporary. Even the most serious conditions, where you may need specialist support, can be managed and the better our self-care, the more cumulative the benefits.
I shared this double rainbow picture on my social media yesterday because a) I adore rainbows and b) it was so close to my house, it felt like a blessing and c) rainbows remind me of integration and synthesis. Of everything coming together.
That when we accept our WHOLE selves – even the parts that are struggling with trauma, depression, anxiety, stress etc we find a sense of ease and wholeness.
We remember that no matter how awful we feel, it will pass, There’s still that capacity for joy, love and hope, no matter how well hidden.
However you’re feeling today – ANY day. There’s only one World Mental Health Day but it’s an important element to check in on every day – often, when things are going well, we forget to take those small steps that help us stay feeling more balanced.
Big big love,