As you may or may not know, it’s Mental Health May (oh clever, see what I did there). It’s a month dedicated to bringing awareness to mental illness and so I thought I’d write about how I’ve actually been feeling. I could give a “10 top tips to make you feel GREAT” but I don’t feel great, and also right now, I’ve not got a clue. So I thought I’d get real for you, about my mental health and what going into May looks like for me currently.
I don’t want to bring anyone down. I never said I was a motivational writer, or a motivational influencer or a motivational influencer writer ad promoter whatever the hell you can call those people anymore. I’m just a 26 year old girl going on 106, trying to navigate through this crazy world we’ve been calling life and now is some kind of Coronavirus nightmare. Which has to end soon, I mean, come on. This episode of Black Mirror has now been going WAY too long.
I’ve been at home a little while, and to be honest it could be better. It’s not that I don’t like being around my family, or having the sweet privilege to do absolutely nothing but it’s been a really, quite horrendously bad week. Like, unable to move out of my pyjamas, stay in bed, watching Captain (or Colonel now) Tom Moore do more laps of his garden then I’ve done in seven days. Thing is, I’m quite annoyed at myself, I thought I had it sorted. What do I mean by that? Well, I’ve been writing on my little Instagram page about my mental health and how travel has contributed to it being good or bad, and people have found it benefiting to read. I’ve been in this bubble where I feel like I should be miraculously cured of whatever black cloud tries to force me down – the thing is, that’s not true. I feel like I should be upbeat because I (thank god) haven’t encountered this virus (touch wood) and therefore why do I have any reason to be depressed?
And I think that’s numero uno of why my mind tells me rubbish sometimes.There doesn’t have to be a reason. For people who perhaps have no history of mental illness, they could just be having a bad day, or maybe they feel a bit meh because a car drove past them in a puddle, or it’s just one of THOSE days and they’ve woken up on the wrong side of bed. For me, I know when it’s happening.. I can feel the process, it’s not the wrong side of bed, it’s the wrong side of the UNIVERSE I’ve woken up from. I can feel this overwhelming tiredness hit me, and I start to lose all senses of reality around me. I start to think very bad things, and then that + tiredness = no physical energy in getting out of bed. And then, if I’m not already low, I’ll start to get anxious and lose my appetite. Quite frankly, I’ve pretty much lost my appetite for three days and the only thing I can eat is a sandwich and some yoghurt. It’s hard to think what’s best for you, when you start to think that maybe nothing is best for you.
So what’s been happening? Well, I went from having a pretty solid routine of doing some exercise, some Spanish learning into an abyss of nothingness apart from severe self hatred and doubt. That might be a hard thing for people (hey Mum, sorry) to read or try and relate to, but in times like these it’s hard to think it will end. Yesterday, after a fun disagreement which only made stuff worse, my Mum made me ring the doctor and I burst into uncontrollable tears. I thought my medication was working Doc! I thought I was cured! I’ve travelled the world so how can I regress to a mess I haven’t been in since 2018 before I started my anti depressants! I can’t DO this anymore. And so, he referred me urgently to a psychiatrist for Monday (which I’m very scared about by the way) and now I’m on board to start therapy with someone, somewhere. I just need the courage to do it and take a first step. It’s a path I didn’t think I’d go down again, but I can only hope it aids me enough to wash my hair from over a week, because if not, my travel dreads will come back and not in a cool travel way, but in a gross you smell way.
I’m still not great? I’m not going to lie to you, or me, because I’ve also said this is my online diary. I’m not going to pretend I’m not crying, or feeling unable to cry because I feel so tired. I’m not going to pretend I don’t have bad thoughts, or I don’t feel like I’m capable of being loved. I’m not going to pretend that this currently feels never ending, and I’m going to end up in a black hole of nothingness but I never saw this coming. I didn’t. I thought I had it sorted, and I haven’t. But that’s okay.
I think this particular episode has made me realise how important it is for me to look after myself. And although I’m not doing the BEST job of it right now, the fact I’m trying to speak to therapists and now considering refunding my trip to Australia to stay in therapy in London is quite a big deal. I had plans to have therapy in Brisbane when I returned, but with lockdown not lifting until perhaps June, and the Australian borders closed to Internationals until even 2021, I’m going to have to really think about what it is I want. And I just want to feel better. I want that more than anything.
This is a really hard time for us all. To be indoors with thoughts surrounding us constantly can be particularly dangerous for people that suffer from mental illness. It takes some really good friends, who can listen and remind you you are still wanted to make you feel better. It might take your own Dad breaking down because he didn’t know if you were returning from a walk to instil in you the love that mental illness tries its absolute hardest to ruin. I am grateful to my little circle of friends who I’ve told how I’m actually feeling. To my friend Sophie who helps me more than she ever realises and to Bea and Tessa who told me last night to create a small list of things to complete daily, like get out of bed, make a small meal, write down 3 things I’m grateful for… etc. I’m going to try and start that today, slowly slowly. I know that there is an opening at the end of this Coronavirus tunnel and I know deep down, that if I was able to somehow get through this episode of 2018 and travel the world successfully, make great friends, start writing, people incredulously APPRECIATING that writing, to find joy in a life that I felt had none in it, then I can do it again.
Slowly, slowly, this too shall pass.
Keep well people, physically and mentally. x