Dare To Share Your Mental Health
Dare to share your mental health
It’s just really hard, trying to find your place in the world. The plea of your dreams and deepest desires being strangled, suffocated, submerged by the buzz taking up permanent residence in your brain. How long are you supposed to feel lost for? Your twenties are unquestionably the best years of your life. But here we are, anxious about what path to take and too ashamed to share our mental health experiences. We are scared to take risks and constant what ifs are blurring our perspective. I’ve tried to differentiate the buzz. But all is lost in the cries of society's expectations, parental expectations, social media expectations, your own expectations…
I hit a low, a real low. I’d packed up my life and moved to Manchester to get a degree I did not care about. My dreams are to be a respected actress, an advocate, a writer, a strong woman but all of these took a back seat, whilst I complied with society's vision that I must get a degree.
I lived alone in a tiny box room. It was extortionately overpriced and my finance didn’t even cover the accommodation. I had barely enough money to eat, or to cook, and when I did the kitchen was decorated with ten-year-old food that embedded itself into the even older appliances. Oh, and of course the occasional mouse came for a visit.
I don’t know what exactly pushed me over the edge, most probably a culmination of issues. But I was falling, falling helplessly and crashing into the deepest pits of my mind. My eyes were sore from the constant tiredness without the ability to sleep, sickness without the money to eat, crying without the feeling of pain, lonely without the confidence to make friends and regret over the decision I had made.
The only way I can describe depression is a hollowness leaving you paralyzingly numb. I did not care about anything, not myself, not my friends or family, not my degree, not my well-being, not even the fact that my heart was still beating. I believe now that sometimes we tend to forget that our current situation does not have to be our destiny, leaving us feeling stuck and unable to escape.
Everyone has their ideas on what mental health means. But, it’s so different when you experience it first-hand. It’s weird because the world is against you, but not as much as you’re against yourself. You can’t escape your mind, it’s there all the time. Above all, you feel as though no one will understand you, so you’re unable to share your mental health experiences.
Getting out of bed is the hardest task of the day and no matter how many coffees you have you can never feel awake. The caffeine pumps through your veins and sends your heart into constant palpitations. I’ve learnt with time that that is in fact anxiety. This on the other hand makes you care too much, feeling overwhelmed constantly. Leaving your heart pounding so hard it starts kicking your eardrums.
When I look back, today sitting in Costa trying finally to dig up all that was buried. I feel a sense of pride. We can be our own worst enemy sometimes. Self-love is something we’ve all heard of, we assume this is a long bubble bath, a face mask or maybe a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough. But these things alone will not combat the voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough.
How I look at self-love now, is that you must have the same approach you have for education. You must study it, practice it, write about it, trial and error, change your mindset, write down your goals and how you’re feeling, take one thing at a time and never ever stop trying. It’s easier said than done but please study it, I feel it is more important than a degree, a certificate, an exam.
I mean, why isn’t self-love taught in schools? Why don’t we get rewarded for it? Why are there no mental health lessons where we all share our experiences? This is a new era. How can we stick to the same curriculum from hundreds of years ago? Let’s teach self-love, worth and acceptance. Without any of that, your degree is meaningless, your happiness is scarce, and your life will never TRULY be fulfilled.