It’s been a long time since I last wrote on this blog, reason being that I went through a particularly bad patch where I sort of gave up on most things, including trying to help myself. I first began my blog when I was away for a few weeks conducting research for my third year project, and whilst i really wanted to regularly post on here and splurge my feelings and emotions onto ‘paper’, there was something in me that felt I couldn’t. I felt I couldn’t write effectively, I felt I was embarrassing myself by revealing things, I felt like I would be judged. Those reasons alone stopped me from continuing to write, however they also didn’t encourage me to search out another form of emotional release, or another way to help myself fight my mental illnesses. From mid-September to around early December, things became really terrible for me. On the surface, I have a wonderful life and I do not take this for granted. I have the most amazing support network from friends that i have known forever, and from friends that i have made as i’ve grown older. Whilst I could hear what my friends were saying to me, and I knew that they were right, there was something in my mind that would simply not accept their words, and would always find a “but” for every resolution they found. How my friends put up with this I will never know, but I am eternally grateful and will endeavour to stand by them through thick and thin.
Whilst these past few months have been really tough for me, there is one huge benefit that I can take away from it, and that is feeling able to talk to my immediate family about how I’m feeling, and to express when I’m feeling bad without being embarrassed or worried. Of course, I could have always talked to my parents about anything, but I think I had put up a barrier myself which led me to believe that I could’t connect with them in the way I wanted to. As a result of an extremely intense meltdown on a Friday, emerged a later understanding that my thoughts on acceptance in my family were rather inaccurate, and that some of the words I have previously heard from others have been poisonous or misconstrued to create a picture that wasn’t really there. The details of this Friday, along with the comments and conversations i have had in the past, do not matter to me anymore. What matters is that I learnt who was truly there for me, my family and my friends, and I learnt that sometimes its important to put myself first and think of others second.
That last sentence still feels particularly wrong for me to type, and equally wrong to say or think. I think that a mixture of my innate personality, and my upbringing, has resulted in me having a particularly sensitive personality. I’m not suggesting my sensitivity is necessarily a bad quality, in fact its something i’m quite proud of because i think it forms the basis of my ability to see the good in everyone. I can 100% guarantee that if someone, anyone, reached out to me for help, I would drop whatever I was doing and be by their side. I know this because I know how it feels to be in that state, and I know how it feels to be second best and distraught, and I know that I would never wish that feeling upon anyone in the world. However, with this experience I have also learnt that sometimes its equally as important to consider yourself and your own feelings, and remove the negativity in your life. Remove anyone who would not do for you, what you would do for them. This was an unbearably difficult decision to make for me, as I hate the idea of cutting off another person and of hurting another’s feelings, however over this past month or so I have come to appreciate that sometimes the best decision for both parties is to call it a day; appreciate the good memories and forget the bad, but leave that person as a memory.
Obviously, whilst my friends and family have been my rock, sometimes its equally as important to consider other coping mechanisms. I have tried a fair few coping mechanisms in the past which have been nothing but detrimental to my mental health, however there are coping mechanisms out there which ease the pain that comes with mental health. Firstly, in late November I decided that I needed to be brave and stop lying to my doctor and tell him exactly when things were bad. My main problem with this is that often when i was scheduled for a doctor’s appointment, i’d be having a ‘good’ day, and therefore i’d feel like things were fine. It wasn’t until the ‘bad’ days struck again that i’d realise i’d over-generalised the ‘good’ and forgotten the bad. So, with the help of my mum, I opened up to the doctor and he increased my dose of medication. Whilst medication remains a controversial aspect of treating mental health, I can honestly say for me that the medication has helped me enormously. I find that my sleeping pattern is a lot better, i find it easier to get up in the morning, my thoughts have become clearer and my general mood has uplifted slightly. In addition to medication, my family also got me a ‘Lumie light’ (http://www.lumie.com) for Christmas. This light has been a huge contributor to my general mood and has made getting out of bed infinitely easier. The lumie light essentially mimics the sunrise and is designed to aid individuals who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I do not have this specific disorder, but I do have depression and this light is invaluable to me.
I think I’m beginning to learn to take each day as it comes, to appreciate the good and reflect on the bad in a positive and healthy manner. Whilst some may not agree, I’ve really begun to believe that everything does happen for a reason, and it is this that ultimately keeps me going. I wanted to convince myself that everything that has happened to me, good and bad, is shaping my character so that I become the best version of me and have a happy and promising future. And you know what? I am actually beginning to believe it. I’m taking baby steps, but I think i’m finally making progress and becoming who I know I truly am.
I guess what i’m trying to say is, sometimes things can seem really bad. From around August-December, this was how I felt. I honestly could not see a way out, and I was afraid, alone and depressed. But I’ve proven to myself that things can get better. A marginal improvement in outlook on life (which i am experiencing at the moment) is infinitely better than being stuck in the mentality that I was last Autumn/Winter, and for now I will accept that marginal improvement and be happy with it.