This time last year, I was beginning my road to recovery after not long being out of hospital, I didn’t know what to expect. It wasn’t easy and recovery is an absolute roller-coaster, as it comes with new challenges and situations that really put you to the test, however, being equipped with the right tools, makes it easier to face, and knowing you don’t have to do it alone!
Talking with my therapist, friends and family is how I learnt how to reflect and confidently handle any situation. Having a therapist (talking), attending CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) group sessions and being prescribed the right medication has been a really effective part of my recovery.
In this last year, I have learnt many mental health tips and tricks, and I want to share them. I relate so much to people who struggle with their mental health, I can feel their pain and it breaks my heart to think of others who believe they don't belong here, don’t know how to cope or can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, because I never thought I'd be where I am now and never believed a single person who told me either. So it's only natural that I want to help others. I want to share my toolkit and reach out to anyone who struggles and give them hope to hold onto.
Fake it till' ya make it.
Telling myself that 'I am happy' and forcing a smile when feeling low, helps me to easily shift my mood back, to prevent myself falling into a downward spiral. Forced smiles can trick your brain, lifting your mood and lowering stress. Releasing happy endorphins, dopamine and serotonins. Mental health is complex. I have been at the lowest of lows and I never want to go back there, so I will do all I can do keep my mood on the up!!
I want to turn my deep rooted pain into a deep rooted passion.
To keep our brains mentally active, we need to keep learning. So I have decided to challenge myself and have started an online diploma course; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). As CBT has been a huge part of my recovery I think it’s really exciting to start understanding more about it, so I can help others.
If you want something bad enough you work hard until you get it.
If you want a stronger mind you have to do a lot of self-work, channelling any negative energy and turning it into a positive. Changing your perception on the way you look at yourself and the world is powerful, especially looking at your language and what you say, has a huge impact on your mental state - slow yourself down and think before you speak.
I don't know where I am going and I do not have a plan mapped out, all I know is that I want to help others and show that it’s a constant battle in my mind everyday but with the right support and self-care it is manageable. Take every day as it comes and just enjoy the here and now. I never knew what I wanted to be/do growing up, I consciously worried that I was going to fail, but the fact that I am still here is an achievement in itself, and crazily enough things will fall into place, we aren't meant to have it all planned out, we have to face horrible experience's to break us to make us stronger.
I am extremely grateful for my amazing friends and family. I am grateful for a roof over my head and my scruffy little dog. Instead of feeling like a burden and self-criticising myself – I now look at what I am grateful for in my life.
Being kind is also crucial in recovery, because it shows you are appreciative of the life you have. We never know what’s round the corner, we don’t know what anyone is going through. Mental health is not visible, we will never get a true insight to understanding how humans think as the brain is extremely complicated. So being kind, a selfless act of kindness, is good for the heart and soul. It makes you feel good seeing that you influence good into someone’s day, spreading positivity and kindness is damn contagious.
Give yourself some of your own love and attention. We all deserve self-love and time to heal and grow. So if you need to cry, cry. But don't hold onto this emotion for too long, tell yourself, tomorrow will be better, don't beat yourself up if you feel upset. Embrace it, release the emotion, let go and move on, (oh and drink water!) Emotions are overwhelming and will take over how you think and feel. I believed that they defined how I should be feeling, however, I now know that I don't need to hold onto that emotion and not give myself such a hard time.
If you know someone affected by mental health but don't know what to say or do, give them a hug. A hug is good medicine, it is a form of communication because it can speak louder than words, and when feeling low a hug is really reassuring and comforting. (In return you get a nice hug too!)
I am on a new journey, people in my life are in it for a reason. I’m here to spread the love and help others. If I can do it so can you.