AD | Hello my lovelies, happy Monday, I hope you're all having a wonderful day and start to your week so far. I'm not gonna lie, I am terrified to write and share this post. But, I've posted in the past about one of the times that I wanted to end my own life but today I wanted to open up a little more about my mental health, and although I'm really super nervous to share this part of my life I'm trying to be super brave and do so.
Mental illness is not a personal failure.
I grew up in a very close-knit family, and although I never felt like I had a childhood which was "happy", I did have a childhood where I knew I was loved so that was enough for me. I spent so many years growing up walking on eggshells for reasons we won't discuss, but feeling like I was never doing or saying the right thing. Those broken eggshells cut me so deeply and left so many scars which as an adult has really impacted on my life.
Growing up as a child with an unexpected disability and then a teenager with a very unexpected chronic illness, my life was constantly in pain and suffering, and I feel like I learned to fight each and every day to just be able to participate in life - which I am still doing but I have learned to live with, well as best I can.
But just like a lot of people, I have had dark days and I still do. I suffer terrible with anxiety and when I do have an anxiety attack, my heart starts racing, my mind gets clogged up, and it feels like all of the air in the room has been sucked out and I feel like I can't breathe. It's one of the worst feelings I ever have to experience, and it comes on out of no-where.
When it comes to my health everything can be pure agony, and it grips and tries to destroy my day in, day out. I wake up some mornings and lay there for just a moment wondering what is going to hurt today and am I going to be able to get my to-do list done. I am constantly torn between "I can't let my illnesses ruin my life" and "I have to listen to my body and rest". And sometimes, this requires some paracetamol, or buscopan, or something stronger like steroids.
"Oh no, no, no. You can't be one of those people who takes medication every day!" "Why?" Why can I not take a medication that may work wonders for me and make me feel better? Although I've never taken anti-depressants (no judgement from me if you have done so), I have been prescribed them once. and the only reason I didn't take them was that I was allergic to one of the ingredients and I decided to start therapy instead.
Over the past two and a half years, therapy has changed my life so much for the better. Therapy offers the opportunity to speak confidentially about the problems which arise in life, from work problems to family, relationship difficulties and traumas. I first went to a free public student therapist locally but I didn't enjoy it much as, although the girl was wonderful and very friendly, I didn't think she was very helpful, plus she was a lot younger than me at only twenty at the time so really put me off. I think the thought of speaking to someone a lot younger than me made me feel like I was pouring my heart out and opening up to a child, which I didn't feel comfortable with. She didn't give me advice or tips on how to work with things, after around six sessions I decided not to go back to her. I needed an adult.
The second therapist I started speaking to was online on Instant Counselling *, I pay for this out of my own money and I speak to the same counsellor every week on a Tuesday. I found this website after joining Mind Charity's Elefriends and I loved that you are able to review all of the counsellors and pick the person that is right for you as you are able to review their profile and check out what they're qualified in. You can book your session online and can also check out when they are online if you need someone to talk to spare-of-the-moment.
My counsellor made me realise that it's okay to feel sad, angry, worried, or anything at all about things in my life. It's okay to ask for help from people if I need it without feeling like I'm annoying them. It's okay to have "days off" from blogging, and life in general. It's okay to want to be alone in my bedroom, doing nothing, but relaxing and enjoying the peace, quiet and safeness of my home. It's okay to feel tired and have a two-hour nap during the afternoon just because my body needs to rest and recharge. It's okay to not feel like talking things, to sit and think about my worries or thoughts and try and sort them out in my own head before being ready to share them with someone else. It's okay to set boundaries, my self-worth is important and never letting people 'walk all over me' is wrong. It's okay to say no without feeling like I'm letting people down.
If you're suffering from mental health then this is your reminder to forgive yourself if you've had a crappy/tired/unproductive day/week/month/year. You are doing the best that you can. Look after yourself, do what you need to do. It's not realistic to be happy all the time, no matter what all the motivational quotes on the internet say. And it doesn't matter what time of day/week/month/year it is, it's never too late to make a fresh start and change your mindset. I'm sending you all of my love for a wonderful, happy and positive day!
With love, Alisha Valerie. x