It’s been a weird old week.
Actually, that’s not the best word to describe my week thus far.
Hard is a better word. Tough. Painful. Difficult. Emotional.
Those words better describe the last few days.
In fact, if I’m being totally honest with myself then 2017 has been a lot like this week too.
I’ve struggled this year.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some great days and weeks. But when I look back on the year as a whole, I’ve spent a great deal of time anxious or low.
I feel like I’ve put a brave face on. Although I’m more up front about my mental health than I was 3 years ago, life has felt like more of a struggle this year than it did in 2016.
2016 was a lot of fun. I felt confident in myself, my body and my abilities. But fast forward to present day and it’s a very different story.
I’ve written before about how I think we’re hard on ourselves.
We wouldn’t turn to a friend and berate them for their looks, their abilities or their personality. So, why do we do it to ourselves?
Personally, I feel social media has a part to play in this. Social media and the way we as a society use it.
The problem with me is, I compare. I scroll and compare. And I’ll put my house on the fact I’m not the only one. And this is so damaging to mental health and wellbeing.
I forget what I’ve got, who I am and what I can achieve and focus on what others are doing and the fact that they might be slightly more ahead than me with regards to achievements et al.
I feel like I constantly need to feel good. I feel like if a day doesn’t start in a way I want it to then the rest of the day is a write off and I just can’t be bothered. I’ll look for things as a sign, a sign that a day is a good day and if I can’t see that sign then I find myself hurtling on a downward spiral.
What’s all that about? Does that even make sense?
When I first decided to put finger to keyboard back in 2015, I was in a really good place. I’d finished a course of therapy following my breakdown in the New Year, I was just about to move house and life was really good.
I’d always wanted to write. A lack of academics, drive and sheer bloody laziness had stopped me taking it further but I realised there was no reason why I couldn’t make it my hobby.
I’d never set out to write about mental health and my experience of mental illness but it felt like a natural progression, I also felt like I had to be honest with the people who had become my readers.
Hitting publish on a deeply personal post is a nerve wracking thing. I’m baring my soul, my past and my present to people I know and people I have never met before. It now feels like a totally natural thing to do, my long-time openness lends itself well to this soul baring writing.
In 2013, mere days after I’d given birth to my son, I found myself in the depths of despair, anxiety and depression. I was scared and I was lonely. Fearing that I was losing my mind, I was a danger to myself and others. I’ll never forget that feeling.
I’d spend hours trawling the internet looking for blogs, forums and articles that would resonate with how I was feeling. I needed to know I wasn’t the only person who had ever felt like this. Trapped in my own mind and terrified of my own thoughts.
This is the reason I write about mental health.
Of course, selfishly, I do it for cathartic reasons too. It helps me to process my thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s a form of therapy that I don’t have to pay for. Especially when I can ill afford it and there are people out there who need it on the NHS a darn sight more than myself.
However, if someone takes comfort from my words, my experiences and my life then that to me is everything.
If there is someone sat on the loo, scrolling through Google desperately trying to find the words that explains how they are feeling in that present moment and they find my words and those candid words help them, then isn’t that an incredible thing?
I’ve been humbled but not surprised by the amount of people who have got in touch with me recently to explain how much they relate to my mental health blogs. Humbled because they’ve taken the time to read my words but not surprised because it’s 1 in 4.
1 person in every 4 will know what it’s like to wake up in the morning and feel sheer anxiety for the day ahead.
1 person in every 4 will spend a great portion of the day feeling lost, lonely, sad, isolated and afraid.
1 person in every 4 will experience those racing thoughts, the thoughts you’re so desperate to stop but you can’t.
1 person in every 4 knows how it feels to hate themselves. Hate who they are and feel like they are worthless.
If that person is you. If what I write is relatable. Just know that I get it. I know. I also know it can get better. I know that you are bigger than it. It is the worthless one.