Michelle is a local resident who wanted to share her story about what mental health means to her right now.
Like fine wine that matures, I wanted to wait until I felt it was the right time for me to share a small part of myself to a wider audience.
Today, there is a plethora of information about depression and anxiety. I can't overstress that, regardless of your mental health issues, every experience is individual to the person. I have been on this journey for a while. As I feel myself coming to the end of this period of my depression, I have been reflecting on all my lived experience. A single blogpost isn't enough to go into the logistics, so I am going into what I feel is important right now.
When I was at primary school I won a ‘Jolly Lolly’ cup. It was a made up trophy for ‘most liked person’, chosen by teachers. I clearly wasn't depressed as a child. Without thinking I have heard myself, off hand, say “I have been depressed and anxious all my life”. It’s not true. I’ve been on this road for so long it feels like it. Of course the classic nature vs nurture debate and child development theories come into play. A good book or the internet will allow you to further explore.
Some people express the feeling that they wish to be the person, or have the life, that they used to be. It is the opposite for me. I never want to be the person I was a few years ago. Or even last year. I feel like my best days are ahead of me.
It is important for me to write this for several reasons. For the most part, I have not been comfortable talking about my mental health. Today, I do feel more at ease and writing this is a big step for me.
I don't actively think about my mental health. I manage it daily, and get on with my own personal goals to move forward. As a result, I don't always own it or give myself the credit that I deserve. I am at a point where I don’t stress about my mental health. I feel light hearted and can see the humor in my everyday life.
I have read many posts, blogs, status and I often find myself thinking "you’re not there yet". That there is totally different to that person. The same could be said of me. My goalposts have just changed.
I used to feel like my time was running out, but as I move forward with a redefinition of who I am, my time feels infinite and bright.
My time feels infinite because I truly believe you really are never alone, even if there are times in your life where you may have no friends, spouses and family to turn to. There really is always somewhere to turn to nowadays, with the technology and if you're feeling brave enough, face to face. This realisation that you aren’t suffering alone reduces the fear of getting help when you are ready.
Here is the big stuff I have learned along the way:
- Patience is your best friend.
- Failure is inevitable as we rip off our comfort blanket.
- This isn't a videogame where you have three lives; so keep playing until you get a win!
Adjust your expectations to your current reality. Poor mental health doesn't discriminate. It doesn't give a damn that you have a successful career, a supermom or you’re on state benefits. Find a system to healthily resolve and reflect the past. Even the small stuff like “I felt so stupid today".
Finally, I wish that you too can have the sunny feeling forward to the future. I'm now off to bask in sunshine. I have an invite for you to join me when the time comes.