I’ve been debating whether to talk about the subject of mental health here on the blog for a while but after much persuasion from my Twitter pals that it was a good idea, I’ve decided to start a new series called ‘It’s Okay Not To Be Okay’. I’m not sure how in depth i’m going to go into my own mental health, however I thought I’d kick the series off with a post on struggling to cope. I think the posts are going to flow more like a chat than advice, but as this is the first one and i’m a bit nervous, it could still change! Lets just see how it goes!
I think the main thing for me is that people don’t understand why I struggle to cope with things, I mean I’m doing well at uni, have a lovely boyfriend and dog, live with my family and have a job lined up once I graduate so what do I have to worry about?! But in reality the small things can sometimes tip us over the edge. Healthcare professionals always use the metaphor of us being like a swan, calm on the surface but underneath your legs are flailing in an attempt to keep you afloat and honestly, this couldn’t be a better interpretation! Day to day normalities can sometimes build up to a point where you don’t know what to do first and you feel this mounting pressure that you just can’t shake. For me, this morning I woke up and it was like someone was sat on my chest and I couldn’t get them off (I can assure you no-one was and neither was the dog!!). I’m behind on a couple of my lectures, i’m failing to blog as much as i’d like, my rooms a tip, the dog needs walking and my toenails are in dire need of some polish but I just can’t seem to make the time to do any of it!
So what am I doing instead? Trying to have a social life after my two previous years of uni being known as ‘the grandma’ of the group, getting involved in societies, working, attending lectures and seminars and my personal favourite escape, reading. I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a book, I get lost and my troubles seem much less significant and they slip to the back of my mind. It’s a method i’ve been using to relax since I was first able to read and clearly I’ve needed to relax a lot this year as I’m currently reading my 123rd book of the year! For me, it’s hard to maintain good relationships when you feel like you are unable to cope as it seems that you are always letting someone down and that makes you feel worse. Are you neglecting your partner, snapping at your parents, not seeing your friends enough, letting your followers down. It’s incredibly difficult to find that balance and that pressure alone can sometimes be enough to make you feel like you’re floundering.
On more than one occasion, i’ve had people say ‘oh what do you have to worry about, you seem like you’ve got your life together’ and honestly I feel like laughing in their faces! Yes on paper, it’s all coming together nicely but in the back of my mind I almost feel like it’s too good to be true, that one tiny slip and it’s all going to come tumbling down around me until i’m as far from ‘having it together’ as physically possible. I know I’m not alone in this feeling and that the thoughts are probably pretty irrational, however they’re still there and they just won’t go away. I think that the key thing is that no matter how many people convince you otherwise or tell you everything’s going well, if you don’t believe it yourself then that fear is always going to still be there, lurking.
So, is there anyway we can alleviate this feeling? Well I can honestly say that writing this post has lifted some of that pressure. As i’m typing I can feel that weight in my chest lessening and it feels bloody amazing! As a person who loves to ‘escape’ their problems, I can probably say it’s best not to procrastinate. Create a list of everything that you think you need to do and if you tick off one a day then great, you’re one step closer and you’ve achieved a goal no matter how minor. Talking of goals, set realistic targets! Don’t start saying you’re going to get everything done in a few hours or that your entire 2000 word essay is going to be written by lunch, you’re just preparing yourself to feel like you’ve failed! If you go over your targets then you’ll just feel even better so why not give yourself some moral support! Getting some fresh air always works for me! I’ve just walked JJ for 50 minutes and I feel like my mind is clearer, my body is better for the little bit of exercise and I just took a few minutes to appreciate the good things that are going on rather than worrying about everything else. The thing is, in the grand scheme of things the problems are pretty small, but to us, they feel pretty damn huge! Taking a few minutes to reevaluate things and just gather yourself together can work wonders!
I think i’m going to leave it there today, I don’t want to make it too rambling and I want to get a idea of whether you guys are interested in more posts like this or not. I’m not normally one for making my blog incredibly personal, however I’ve found this incredibly therapeutic and if it helps just one person, I’ll feel a bit better about it! Let me know your thoughts and if there are any other titles that you’d like to see in this series! Thank you so much for taking the time to read to the end!