Mental Health Awareness Week
This topic is not something that I would usually go into a whole lot of detail on my blog because it is something that is very very personal to me, I've had this post written for a while and really wasn't sure whether to post it, I was really nervous !!.. but if this post can help just one person then my job is done.
It's something that I wish people had a lot more knowledge about - not only so that they can get help if they feel they have a mental illness, but to also help friends and family if they know someone who is going through it.
I wanted to do a blog post on this because I think it is soooooo so so important for people to understand and to know a little more about mental illness. So many people, whether it be close family or friends, will struggle with a mental illness - but a lot of people don't know how to help.
From the outside, people may look ok, but on the inside they are having one massive constant battle going on inside their brain. And it is one of the most tiring, draining and difficult things to go through. Every year between the 11-17th May it is the official Mental Health Awareness Week :)
I have struggled, and still do struggle, and probably will for the rest of my life with mental illnesses, it's something only my closest friends know about but this blog is me so I feel like it should be a part of it, I struggle with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. And you know what, if you struggle with something similar it is totally OK!
At least a quarter of the population of the UK will experience some sort of mental health problem during 1 year with mixed depression and anxiety being the most common. You're not weird, you're not not normal, and you're most certainly not alone.
If you know a friend or a family member going through something like this, be kind to them. Don't get angry if they struggle at the smallest task. They have a huge battle going on inside their brain and they're probably trying their hardest. Be kind, be supportive and make them feel good. Give them the strength to help them get through it. There are so many things you can do to help yourself, and different ways you can get help. You don't have to go on medication straight away. I personally found that surrounding myself with people who not only inspire me, but make me happy and feel good really really helped.
I went through school not having a huge amount of friends, but I had my family and my few best friends and they were amazing. I slowly got rid of the negative people in my life as they were draining and made me feel like shit, and over the years I've connected and made very good friendships with people that are positive, happy and SO lovely. I always come away from spending time with them buzzing about life and feeling so good.
"It's important to make friendships that are deeper than gossiping and drinking and smoking and going out. Make friends who you can go get breakfast with, make friends you can cry with, make friends who support your life goals and believe in you."
EXERCISE - Another thing that can help so much is getting into exercise, now you don't have to turn into a full on gym zombie, you can simply go for long walks, a small jog, yoga, or a class. Whatever you find enjoyable and comfortable with, and once you finishing exercising you will feel great. Simple things like long walks whilst listening to your favourite music, but concentrating on what you're doing can made a world of difference.
If going out for a walk on your own scares you, or makes you feel really anxious, start with a small 5 minute walk, and then gradually go for longer and longer. Learning to be OK with yourself, spending time with yourself and accepting what you have is something that helped me so much.
The more you fight it, the worse it will get. I used to get so scared that if I was alone and had just 5 seconds to think, that I would have a panic attack. But over the last few years I've realised that having some alone quiet time does not mean that at all. I now love spending time on my own, just with my thoughts as I've learnt to control them.
MEDITATION - This, you guys, is one of the most helpful things you can do. Getting into yoga, taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate, read or journal can all help you so much. I found that writing a 'positive journal' every night helped so much, I made sure that I only wrote happy things and it suddenly switched my brain to naturally thinking positively. It's also a great way to get everything out of your mind, when it's on paper it's easier to rationalise and sort through.
FLOW - Finding something that you absolutely love that sets that burning passion of inside you is something that you should 100% make sure you do as often as you possibly can. When you're completely focused on something your mind can't wander, you're completely engaged on what you're doing and IT'S THE BEST FEELING EVER, I remember thinking wow I didn't worry for like 5 minutes THIS IS AMAZING!
Make sure you follow your dreams no matter how scary they are, and no matter how much your mental illness will try and get in the way, and trust me, it will, it will so be worth it in the end.
Eres a reaaaaally cheesy picture of me taking a picture haha but you get the point
FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE - My happy place without a doubt is the beach, it sounds silly but I'm not sure how I would've gotten to where I am now without the beach. Whenever things got difficult, I went to the beach, whenever I was happy, I went to the beach. I would just sit there and listen to the waves and think, think about everything, I'd write, I'd listen to music, I'd feel the sand between my toes, I would just be. I'd come away feeling inspired, positive and on top of the world. I would leave with this energy inside of me and determination to not let this ruin my life.
Everyone has a purpose in this life and a reason why they are here - and it's to overcome little blips like this to make us stronger people and to follow our craziest dreams so that when we're on our death beds we can think 'I'm so happy that I followed my dreams no matter how scary they were'.
Nothing will happen over night, it's little things that you have to put into practise daily, but I promise you that you will soon start to see a difference and your life will start to change. I still struggle daily with anxiety, but it's not even a quarter of how difficult it used to be - you learn to find ways to deal with it.
Everybody has an inner strength inside of them that comes out when you need it the most.
Lots of love,
P.S - Also, go follow 'yoga_girl' on instagram. She uploads the most amazing pictures with advice that will change your life. I have her quotes written all around my room. x