mental wellbeing

Mental Healing

If I am ever asked to describe myself, being open and honest is my instinctual and subconscious response. Why? because it is a part of me that I feel proud to acknowledge. A perception that I have fixed together from various social interactions and my own built-up version of myself. This is a part of me I want to thrive, so my actions reflect that.

So why is it that there are times when I am not open to others about how I really feel, or that there are times where I am not even honest with myself? Is it so much a coincidence that this behaviour worsens as my mental health flatlines, and I can only find solitude by shuffling apologetically into my very own toxic tomb, instead of going ahead and doing what I perceive myself to be best at?

Truth is we all believe we are more than what we are, and that is not a criticism. Humans are prone to natural optimism and that extends to our self-belief. We take risks in life accompanying this philosophy that if we believe, we do – something society has driven into us from an early age. But when my mental health starts to crumble around me, this optimism disappears and any risk-taking isn’t for the better. I can feel my hands tightening the ropes I placed around myself.

And that darkness is something I want to discuss.

I know this sounds a little out there, but my truth is, ever since I was a child, I could feel it – a black void-like sadness. As a childhood goes, I had a good one, but certain experiences conditioned my mind to feel severe lows.

Having a strong emotional intuition is probably a natural form for a child to take, but to be able to feel and understand the meaning behind them, or the consequences just didn’t feel right. I felt like I was on a level with adults more than children at times. Of course, I was still a child and I still didn’t fully understand things because they were new to me, I was just really quick to recognise patterns.

It was this innocent confusion that lead me through to my teenage years. And it was only then, that I realised I wasn’t fully in control of my own thought pattern.

To add context to this black void-like sadness, I have many memories of increasingly dark moments. One, in particular, was an 11- year old me sitting on a swing in a park. I was alone, staring out into the sea and I wanted to jump into it rather than deal with the idea of starting high school without anyone I knew. My best friend and her family had moved to Rothesay too, so I knew, that really I wasn’t alone. But to deal with the loneliness in those moments was too raw and too much to bear. I would have rather died than face up to my insecurities. At least that is what my mind told me at the time.

I felt it was important to share this, because for me moments like this come in waves, and it has been an on-going battle. I could go for a year without one and then out of the blue, I am triggered. If I am overwhelmed or feeling down anyway, I am potentially triggered. It is confusing and difficult, and I understand that many people will probably have similar experiences. So I thought I would be open with things I feel ashamed of, about negative patterns that I followed through to adulthood, and that I have never really been able to explain other than just having a ‘down day’.

I have never been diagnosed so we could call it depression, severe anxiety, even bipolar disorder. Instead, I distinguish these negative pulls as my dark days and that alone is terrifying enough. Labels only recognise the issue, and I am on a path to do more than that now.

I would consider myself to be quite a strong-minded person but since late autumn of last year, all I could feel was numbness. It felt like I was carving through the walls of my own head, trying to get to grips with what this all meant.

It got to a point where I was beginning to lose sight of what was real because my mind kept fogging out. I was forgetting conversations that happened the night before, sometimes even moments before, I couldn’t retain anything other than the screaming in my head for me to do something.

During this time, I was still a capable functioning human being, caring about others, socialising, worrying about money, about friends, about everything but myself. I had almost often forgotten how to feel my own emotions or be myself in even the best environments, places I once loved.

I tried to break the mould but nothing was working. I wasn’t enjoying anything, not even myself. And that was hard to bear.

Eventually, it got to the point where I started to decline invitations to my friends birthdays and gatherings because I was worried they would ask me what was wrong, and I wouldn’t be able to answer. To make it worse, even if I wanted to go out I couldn’t. I was so financially unstable I couldn’t afford food. I was at a point where I could no longer carry my burdens let alone focus on other people’s.

That night was poignant to me because that was when I realised I wasn’t okay. The numbness had gone and now I was just really scared.

People are very good at painting a deception for others, in order to drive them away from how we really feel. Somewhere along the line, being honest with myself, sharing my feelings with my family and friendship circle began to feel like a burden and I knew I had reached the end of patience with how things were. I was ready to take responsibility and change my pattern.

For the second time in my life, I sourced help and contacted a charity that specialised in counselling.

So Monday’s became my new torture. But at least everyone was proud of me. There is a silver lining in everything right?

My counsellor was the best I could have hoped for, she was warm and friendly and she was the best combination of serious and sassy. She reminded me of my friends and she made me a cup of tea. Something I didn’t particularly like, but she made it comforting and worthwhile.

Every Monday at work, my stomach would do somersaults because I knew I was going to finish soon and then I would have to deal with my feelings – and sometimes a lack of.

At times, when I was there, It felt like an interrogation, a question would catch me off guard. I would walk home and cry because I had responded instantaneously in a way I didn’t want to accept.

Other times I would walk home and cry because it felt good to have someone want to help unlock my potential when I was convinced I had none left.

All in all, she built me up again, she confirmed that a lot of self- doubt, a lot of these moments were hard to deal, almost impossible situations and I began to understand that I had a right to how I was feeling. A right I had believed was no longer mine. She started teaching me different techniques for communicating my feelings verbally.

I started to understand how important it was for me to be heard, and how mutated my thinking process had become. It did me the world of good.

Monday’s became okay. I was nervous, but less so because I wasn’t as scared. She pushed me to maintain my hobbies or start doing things I loved again. I did so reluctantly at first just to prove a point. But as time went on, I started noticing things that I have subconsciously turned a blind eye too.

As the month’s rolled by, I was feeling proud of what I was achieving every week, and my counsellor could see that. She heard about my writing, so she asked me to write, and I went home and I wrote a blog post called Promises to keep.

I make it sound so simple, but to me, this was a major stepping stone. I had not been able to write during a truly dark moment before. So to be able to feel hope during rather than after, it was unbelievable. It felt like a breakthrough.

Today I feel grateful for who I am, and I am grateful for the good people in my life, always looking out for me, as I do for them.

I may not be rolling in it. I may not be on the path that I expected to be on at this stage. But time is a blessing. I am fortunate to feel free, to speak freely and to be me. And that is enough. I know that now.

A few months ago, a good friend once caught me on a really bad day, sobbing quietly in the stockroom at work. I was crying about many things at that moment, but mostly at the death of my beloved grandma. He didn’t ask what was wrong, but I still tried to explain myself. He went back to work, and I felt ashamed for being so vulnerable.

He came back up the stairs, obviously taking some time to think of what to say, and instead of talking to me about it, he reminded me that I was still young and I had all the time in the world. It was simple and true, and it was enough of a nudge to throw me out of myself.

I was entitled to feel sadness and feel overwhelmed of course I was, but I was allowing myself to slip back into a negative thinking pattern so easily. I decided to be honest with myself and tell myself I can cry about this, but I should also be happy and keep being myself as much as I can too.

It is good friends like him that keep me grounded. And I know now I am much better at doing the same.

 

 

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From Adult To Adult

“Ouch”. I moan, as my kitten’s perfectly refined claws retract out of my calves. He senses the tension between us and as an act of avoiding responsibility, performs a jump and sprint through the flat. All the while, I’m bent over falling bum first into my hallway wall, trying frantically to put my shoes on and tie my laces in a manner, I am sure is exclusive to the anxious and clumsy. As always I am late, which means I must perform the ritual of all my morning rituals. Check I have my keys, check again, run across the road and through the traffic lights, hold down my flying lanyard, wipe my watery eyes from the wind, keep the contents of my bag safe as I check that I have my card (and my keys). I try and hide my shame and my wind tears, as I sprint awkwardly to the station, past all my neighbours and takeaway providers.

They know, I will tell myself, that even as a fully grown 20 year old women, I still fucking hate mornings.

Growing up, I was never under the assumption that life was going to be an easy ride. As a child, I was constantly observing and going through the struggles of life, only from a younger perspective. Though I may not have been physically dealing with things like an adult would, emotionally I was. I became a worrier, a title that had rudely gatecrashed my life.

I didn’t know what I was expecting of adulthood, I don’t think anyone does. All I had to base it on was from watching my mother bring me and my sister up. From that, I guess I had already learned that life was unexpected, mean and incredibly unfair. It was full of mishaps and responsibilities and yet, it taught me an important lesson. I learned that opportunity is only an opportunity if you see it as one. As a teenager, I took this idea on aggressively, because I wanted nothing more than stability. I wanted what everyone else ‘had’.

This attitude was clearly one of the reasons people perceived me as odd during school. I was mocked for wanting to better my life. Mocked for wanting to get a flat instead of go to halls, laughed at for having a savings account. Posters about me and my ex stuck on walls for this that and everything else. It was ignorance on their part, for not being able to accept me as the person I was, and ignorance on my part for not being able to accept the fact that nothing I did would make them value me as their peer. I felt wrong, rejected, a people pleaser who was unable to please. A troubling time for me as far as troubling times can go. But I wasn’t different, just misunderstood.

I may not of expected too much from growing up, but naively, after school I had hoped it would get better. I was convinced that if I made a life for myself, if I set the foundations, surely the rest would follow. All this steamed from a difficult financial upbringing, I really just wanted the chance to feel what every other child, teenager or adult was apparently feeling. Stability, financial support, a home to run to when things got too hard. I didn’t have this option, I knew when I moved out that I will never have that option. So Instead I grew up with the understanding that I had to be extremely cautious in life. When I was younger I would constantly wish I had money, then when I got older, any money that I made I kept a hold of.  …Just in case something happens…  I would tell myself. I was so used to mishaps that it became an obsession. Security was all I wanted in the end right? Even when I moved out, I was repeatedly turning down, doing fun things with friends because I just had to save for bills. I knew I would be like this, at least I was prepared for that, even if they weren’t.

Security. The word glided through my nerves and slipped into my mind. It wasn’t a threat, only a mild sedative. I was simply programmed into this way of life now. I had to support the pressure and responsibilities I had created and I wasn’t willing to give any of it up. But the pressure became my host. In a panic I let myself believe that I wasn’t lost. Just more focused, more willing to do what I could, to build my life up to the pedestal I had set long, long ago. The word fun became a disease, I worked hard and I saved. There was nothing more to it. I had a goal, I would get that stability that I was so clearly deprived of.

But I felt overwhelmed, cornered with no where to turn. I soon understood that this obsession was unhealthy. Had society turned me into a monster, or had I? I finally understood that I was depressed, and instead of dealing with this issue, I had created a persona. I wanted to fit in so badly, be valued and recognised as an adult, that I became a different person, with a warped view on adulthood.  I managed to go years without really living, Instead I was a bystander in my own life. A faded shadow.

The moment everything began to change wasn’t sudden, it was a gradual process, a couple of confusing months, a couple of secret’s let slip, a lot of me began to change. I didn’t want to be the pressured idea that I had created, I wanted to be able to enjoy myself and see my friends and start living my life. I wanted to be me.

One thing I have learned is that the pressure you feel is your own, most of the time. Something my partner has taught me is that you can take control of what you can control, but you need to let go of what you can’t. And being able to adjust to that attitude has been a breakthrough in my own growth. Being able to finally find joy in things and spend money on myself (responsibly) is a blessing, and something I never thought I could ever feel without fear of judgement.  Still, I wont deny the fact that adulthood is tough, feeling overwhelmed and having no over option than to deal with it is a way of life as an adult.  But I have found a healthy way to deal with it. (Except mornings, that shit will never get old).

It’s funny that we allow ourselves to be told by society what is right and what is wrong, there is no leeway. It’s basically ‘Here’s the guide book, follow it or be deemed socially different’. In a nutshell, I tried and I failed and then I thought to myself. After years of trying to fit in, all the pressure from caring too much of what other people thought. I am so done with it. Because that’s the beauty of adulthood, at the end of the day, it is your life.  Unless you let them, no one can do or say anything that is going to stop your emotional growth. You make your own mistakes, and you decide if you are going to take it as an opportunity to grow. You eventually learn that you can rise above it all. You can rise above depression, you can rise above hardships and you can most certainly rise above yourself. And in the end, I did that. In the end, I allowed myself to have a happy life.

 

And I love my life…for the most part. 😉

 

Kyra xo

 

 

What goes up, must come down. Should it really?

The phrase “What goes up, must come down” can relate to a lot of things. Like, for instance,  if I were to throw a ball up in the air, there is no point questioning whether or not it will come back down. Because the laws of gravity does not allow the ball to stay up in the air for very long. (unless it got stuck in a tree)

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So, let’s say I’m the ball. Naturally the function of the ball is to be hit in the face continuously whether that being from a tennis racket or the ground. Am i right?  Aye, so It’s a bit like my life, obviously there has been times growing up where it feels as though I am getting a smack in the face , personally… from life, because life hates me and i’m a teenager and nothing is getting better blaa.  So i’m a ball and i’m trying so hard to stay up in the air  for as long as possible and feel that sense of freedom, that feeling of peace. But it won’t last long, because that’s not how life works – because apparently life is a rollercoaster- and also because I’m a ball and I’ve already described how that ends.

I have gone through my first 19 years with this unbelievably stupid belief that as soon as something good happens to me, something bad will eventually follow – To justify it, I tell myself that there needs to be a balance. Me? Happy? All the time you say? HAHAHAHA. I’m not that lucky!

I know that I’m not one of these lucky people, who go through life with everything handed to them on a plate. And I never will be, because who wants everything done for them?  I have always wanted to be recognised as a hard working person. And I count myself lucky that I have the opportunity to do so.  But then why do I see someone who is happy all the time as ‘lucky.’  Why do I have this attitude towards it, as though 1 in 6 people are privileged enough to be this way. We choose how we feel, even if we don’t realise it. So why should I believe in such a negative theory towards my life. Why should I assume shit will eventually hit the fan because I am happy with how my life is going right now. That is probably one of the most confusing theories I have ever came across and tried to accept as a positive thing. I think, if you want to be happy-You will be happy. BUT, only if you are willing to put in the effort to change what is bringing you down. Whether that be a bad relationship, a number of bad friends, a  personal reason or a crappy job. Only you can make you happy. No one can do it for you.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on this year so far and I’ve realised just how happy I am.  And I’m sorry if  i’m coming across as being that ‘i’m so happy’-let me rub it your face person right now. But..

Everything has come together, infact I’ve come together in a way I could of never even imagined and I am entirely grateful for every single person who helped me grow. Of course there had been moments, these past few months where I faced hardship’s just like every other person. And I very nearly let it bring me down, and I nearly allowed myself to return to that negative state of mind I had been carrying with me for too long.

I began questioning myself. Why should I let these weak moment define how I am? with and towards others. And why did I accept that ‘what goes up, must come down.’ Because I  really don’t anymore. You can still be happy despite the bad things happening in your life. You’re allowed to feel sorry for yourself, and you are allowed to feel sad, but why let it drag you down. I would much rather try and be positive and be kind to other’s. I would rather assume that ok, life can suck sometimes…but it doesn’t mean I have to suck with it. – I can change this, I can be happy.

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Being happy

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a very long time. I’m curious about what other people’s definition of being happy is. Because quite frankly it’s not as simple as we make it out to be. Being happy is an emotion every one of us will experience throughout our lives but there’s a deeper complexity to it. There’s a difference between telling your co-workers/friends/family “yeah, I’m happy, life’s good” in response to them asking how you are or how you’ve been to you walking about full of confidence, beaming ear to ear producing smiles like no tomorrow. That is what I call true happiness. Having experienced this for the first time i have to say it felt good, infact it felt amazing. I’m not going to lie, someone played a special part in all of this for me. It’s crazy how one person can do that, bring out the best in you and make you feel so alive. I felt so content with myself and begin to see the beauty in everything, including myself. Now i’m not saying that this person was the whole reason as to way i felt so happy, he was but a step towards a better version of me. A helping hand if you like. I became happy because I chose to feel this way. We all have a choice and control over how we want to project ourselves to others and to ourselves and I finally had the courage to let go of all the crap and just be me (happy). But one thing that really grinds my gears is when people write on twitter or facebook “someone come over and make me feel better etc” being truly happy is all about loving and accepting yourself. Believing in who you are and what you can achieve. Being content. Yes people can make you feel a certain way, take away the lonliness and insecurities temporarly but people need to understand that these sort of things need to be dealt with alone. We cannot be dependent on other’s to feel a certain way. I’ve done it in the past and it’s unhealthy and unsatisfying. I’m not saying everyone should just stop feeling sad and be happy instead, as though it’s as simple as changing your top. What i’m trying to say is appreciate yourself a little more, do things that you enjoy, don’t be so hard on yourself. So what if you ruined your diet last night after eating 10 doughnuts. It’s ok, live a little, laugh and love and you will be on your way to being a happy chappy! P.s. I apologise for using the word ‘happy’ so much.