I didn’t really know a great deal about mental health problems, not until I became unwell myself. I considered myself to be a normal, happy-go-lucky child.
I am very grateful for the fact that I had a happy childhood, but as I started to grow up I gradually became more and more overwhelmed with life. I found both primary and secondary school increasingly challenging, something which most teachers would have put down to laziness and not really questioned if everything was okay, or if I was okay.
I was blessed with an incredibly supportive family, a warm house and bed to sleep in each night, and a stable environment to live in. This didn’t stop me from becoming unwell. Sometimes I would feel angry at myself. I had frequent thoughts that made me feel selfish or ungrateful – I had a good life so why was I so unhappy?
I was very aware of the world around me and didn’t remain oblivious to the suffering and struggle many people face every single day. People who suffer from mental health problems experience these kinds of thoughts on a daily basis, and it can be incredibly draining. Talking from personal experience, a greater understanding of my issues and learning to accept myself has enabled me to come to terms with my mental health problems in a more compassionate way.
We know there is no cure. We have brains that function in different ways. But we have time, and with time comes acceptance and with acceptance comes greater peace of mind. Isn’t that the goal we’re all desperately trying to achieve as we walk this path? So friends, make yourself that cuppa and while you’re drinking it think about your day.
Think about what went well, what could’ve gone better, what are you proud of yourself for today? Spend some time alone, become your own best friend and you’ll find that each day you learn something new about yourself. And with every piece of information that you learn about yourself, every strange quirk or habit, every new hobby, every weakness you feel you have – be okay with that. Accept yourself in all your divine glory.
This can often be difficult to achieve. I still get frustrated at myself for not finishing a task, I still think my laugh is too loud and I still feel like I don’t deserve true happiness. But each day I choose recovery and I choose to challenge my mental illness and so I accept everything in my life as it is. It’s taken me a while to accept these things about myself and my situation – I have to remind myself everyday to talk kindly to myself, to rest if I need to and put my needs first.
I have learnt (and I am still learning..) to be okay with myself. I no longer resist life or resist my emotions because I accept myself and all of the crazy stuff that comes with being me. I am different to other people and that is a blessing in itself. Lesson number 2 : Be okay with yourself.