Its May 2020 and I think it’s fair to say this year has been a bit of a s*** show! There’s a global pandemic, the economy is in crisis, we’re shackled by restrictions from seeing our loved ones and increasingly worried about catching coronavirus. So its pretty understandable if your mental health has taken a bashing! I know mine has. I have no official expertise in mental health – but I’m human, I have a mind and I think that counts for something! I write this very openly as someone who is battling with their own mind everyday. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I don’t think until recently I’ve ever given my mental health the time of day… I mean, like really digest and accept what I’m feeling… I’m very good at distracting myself with lots of different things, life has always been fast paced and I can’t say I’ve ever stopped to really self reflect. This tumour diagnosis and lockdown has meant suddenly having all the time in the world to really think… and honestly- it’s hard and it hurts. My biggest battle right now is this tumour which is a tangible thing. I can visualise this and see what I’m up against- but what about what I can’t see? The anxieties, the stress, the low mood, the panic attacks? So many of us suffer silently about an insecurity, a fear, an opinion, finances, about what’s next, about their own self worth… and I just want to say it’s ok not to be ok. “Don’t give up and keep fighting“- (cue Rocky theme tune!). I love hearing these words – it fires me up and it works… for ME. But I’ve come to realise we all work differently and need to hear different things… For some people if you simply don’t have the energy to fight today, have been feeling low for the last week, having panic attacks and anxiety over the last month or depressed over the last year, whatever it may be, blasting “eye of the tiger” might be the last thing you want to hear! So I say to you- “Don’t give up and keep going“. Put one foot in front of the other and that’s already progress.
You don’t have to be 100% smiling, 200% happy, 300% positive every day… you don’t have to complete 100 things on your to do list at 200mph every day – that’s tiring and even demoralises you when you can’t keep up those lofty ambitions!
What I feel is more important is getting up everyday, looking at yourself honestly in the mirror and understanding that there may be things coming up in the day that you don’t want to deal with, but giving yourself a moment to plan how you’re going to face them rather than let those things intimidate you. Sometimes the hardest thing is taking that honest look in the mirror – we see the things we want to have, we see things that would make us happier but we can’t always see the things that are already there staring at us in the face.
Don’t waste your energy worrying about the things you can’t control – as I read recently, worry is like a rocking chair: gives you something to do but gets you nowhere. Instead try and focus on the things you can control and do them to your best ability.
Finally a really important fact to always remember: there is only 1 of you in this entire universe, there is only 1 of you in the entire history of time both past & present… no-one else can be you, you are unique!
What can you do for others: Being on the receiving end of a lot of mental and physical support recently what I can tell you is even the smallest thing, makes a HUGE difference when you’re going through a battle. A one line message is all it takes – knowing that someone thought of you for a moment and took a minute out of their day to let you know can absolutely change your day. Some people won’t want to reply, some people won’t want to talk but I promise you the simplest of gestures will uplift that person in someway shape or form, even it’s just for a moment in the day – and basic maths: lots of uplifting moments in a day add up to make a much better day overall!
Before we all got locked down, I really loved seeing all my family and friends – it made the time pass much quicker and just helped me get back on my feet. The beautiful thing about us humans is that different people offer different things – some friends made me laugh with their inappropriate jokes, some friends spent time praying with me, some friends reminisced over good times, some friends rebuilt relationships that we’d let drift away – some friends encouraged, some sat silently and some I had to console cause they didn’t know what to say!!! But it felt good to be on the receiving end of so much kindness and feel so loved- after all isn’t that life’s greatest blessing? To love and be loved?
I have a really simple message for anyone reading this – be kind. If you’re thinking whether or not you should text or whatsapp someone, wondering “will they think I’m an odd stalker sending this DM on insta/ facebook”, whatever it is… stop what you’re doing and just do it, now! Positivity works- a smile, a word, a song- its so powerful. It takes half a minute and it could literally change the other persons day. So take the time to do it and be somebody that makes others feel like somebody. Lets make kindness contagious.