These past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time alone (and with my boyfriend) but mostly during the day just by myself. When I haven’t been watching the entirety of Netflix, I have spent a lot of time reading and writing in my diary.
Over the recent years I’ve really found myself or at least found more of myself. As humans we are constantly changing, so finding ones self can be/should be an ongoing process. It doesn’t have to be an Eat Pray Love story of discovery but I fully believe if we really take the time, we can discover new things about yourselves everyday.
There’s no way any human being hasn’t experienced negative thoughts throughout their life, it surely can’t be possible to be positive all the time. To think about rainbows and chocolate and sunshine and cute fluffy dogs, this can’t be a constant mindset for anyone; it wouldn’t be natural. We’re programmed to have negative thoughts, it’s just part of our nature (especially for us British people).
For me a few years ago negative thoughts were more of a constant feeling; I’d feel down, or stuck, or drowning, or all of these at once. Depression isn’t something to take lightly and I for one have never really opened up about my depression.
It feels like such a heavy word, almost like the word itself is feeling down and miserable.
I felt flat. I felt like nothing was of interest anymore. I didn’t want to do anything. I still went to work and carried on like I was fine and jolly and I doubt my colleagues suspected anything. But it was all for show. I didn’t want people knowing I didn’t want to be there. Or that I wasn’t listening to what they were saying. Or that my mind just wanted to stop working for a bit and just be allowed to feel what it was feeling, which was nothing.
Relationships I had with people close to me were becoming harder. I became irritable and frustrated that I was feeling this way. But now looking back I realise that that was probably a good thing. Instead of not feeling anything at this point, I recognised that I wasn’t feeling how I wanted to feel. Yes I was frustrated but I was able to compartmentalise my thoughts and realise that something had to change for me to feel more than this.
I wanted to feel more than what I was feeling. And this is where my mindset changed. I used to just lay and feel nothing other than flatness but once I started getting annoyed with myself or at least irritated with how I was feeling and recognise that I was in a rut, I was able to start adding to my emotions. *when I say adding to my emotions, I’m not talking about the negative ones but I think it’s important to remember that negativity is a normal emotion so by adding more emotions to the mind you create a more evenly spread emotional mind, rather than one of pure defeatism.*
At that time talking therapy and writing really helped. I was able to release the emotions that had been holding me back. I was able to get a normal balance back into my mind. I then found comfort in exercise and walking and I appreciated the endorphins. I also went on medication as a way to increase the serotonin levels in my brain that I had been lacking. I have no shame in talking about antidepressants, I have been on and off them for around 5 years now. And it does help me. I use them alongside the other methods to keep the positivity flowing. Of course ideally I wouldn’t need medication to do that but right now it works, and I’m okay with that.
Finding Your Loves
For me this is an important part of healing with mental health. What I mean by this is finding the aspects of life that make you the happiest, because as well as negativity being a normal emotion so is happiness.
I’m still not an expert on happiness, I wonder if anyone actually is?
But to feel pure happiness is the single most uplifting experience of life. It’s important to remember these moments when healing. Not to dwell on the fact that you’re not there yet but just to know that happiness does exist inside of you and that it is reachable.
Firstly I must say I have a terrible memory. I have spoken to doctors about this and I believe it is a symptom of the anxiety that I have. My mind is full of racing thoughts, unnecessary thoughts, irrational thoughts, etc, which have pushed aside some of my memories. So most of my happy memories are relatively recent.
Finding out I was going to be an aunty was a moment of utter happiness. It’s not like a feeling I have felt before. I was so thankful to my brother and his now wife for this gift and I was so emotional. It was true magic. And meeting my niece for the first time and the second time and the third time, and even now, the feeling never gets old.
I felt pure joy on a holiday in Thailand in 2018. It was the hottest weather I had ever experienced, the island I stayed on was breathtaking and I just felt utterly at peace. (As I get older I have started associating peacefulness with happiness).
In fact most of my ‘loves’ are associated with holidays and travelling. I guess this must be the same for a lot of people but for me, being away from the mundane brings with it a sense of relief and with that comes unparalleled joy! And for that reason I will always seek to travel and experience new things.
Acceptance of Individuality
For too long the opinions of others weighed heavily on my mind. I wasn’t really being me because I wanted to be this person I believed would be more likeable. I was young and naive, and didn’t really have a sense of self. I hadn’t found the importance of individuality and of accepting that.
In high school I think people just want to fit in. They’re more bothered about themselves coming across in a certain way thats acceptable to the social group they’re in rather than finding what it is about themselves that make them individual. It’s not until you step out of that environment, maybe you move away to university or get a job and you’re surrounded by other people that are totally different to you that you realise yourself as a separate being. University brought me out of my shell a bit. I found friends that were similar to me (almost identical) and ones that initially I didn’t think I’d click with. But I became the me I wanted to express. And I am still mostly that person however, as I said earlier, I am changing constantly. We all do.
The person I am right now enjoys exploring in nature, travelling (when it’s safe to do so), meditation, writing blog posts, binging true crime documentaries on Netflix, being in the presence of my loved ones (physically and virtually), dancing around the kitchen to Craig David classics, eating sushi, and so much more. I am also a person that is healing with ongoing mental health issues and I fully accept that.
Knowing yourself is so important but so is accepting that this state of you is temporary just like everything else.