World Mental Health Day – Addressing Anxiety

It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay. Every day should be. Talking about our mental health and wellbeing should never be met with stigma or judgement. No one should feel alone, or trapped within their minds with no outlet, tools or mechanisms to adapt, cope and live.

I’m writing this because normalising the discussion around the complex and intimate topic of mental health and wellbeing is absolutely crucial for reasons I could spend yonks listing, but I’ll do my best to “very” briefly address why.

To many of you, I’m jolly, give a shite about very little, and am pretty happy go lucky. Today I am. But for years I just got good at faking it. Those closest to me probably saw through it, had inklings something “wasn’t right”, but daren’t address it. For years I have sailed through ignoring the turbulence, restlessness, the destructive tendencies, episodes and outbursts, the perfectionism toxically manifesting itself through self-defeatism, the inability to make decisions and obsessing over trivial matters to the point of complete inaction. I can lose hours as I sit there trying to do something but am physically incapable of producing or doing anything of use.

This past year I hit my breaking point. In an attempt to find answers and self-worth, I changed absolutely everything in my life as I desperately searched for “a purpose”. I drove myself and others into the ground doing this.

I’m still understanding this, but this is my anxiety.

This year in particular I’ve been lucky enough to have someone that made me face up to what was going on. These past few months have been the hardest I have gone through, as introspection, reflection and action become part of my “new” way of life and I learn to let go of the learnt behaviours that have negatively affected me, my life and others.

Today, I am taking each day as it comes, focusing on just today, as I attempt to figure out the notion of focus and understand what is important to me and just me. I’ve slowed down. I’ve forced myself to take a step back from countless things and have pissed of a lot people on the way. But most importantly now, I’m talking. I don’t feel trapped anymore.

This is who I am, and I am coming out the other side. There are days where I don’t function quite as well I’d like, but I’ve learnt to be responsive, to adapt and to focus on what my mind needs and do what I want instead of what I feel I should. I am aware. 

There are so many things competing for our attention these days and it is all to easy to get wrapped up and lose ourselves within the chaos. I have been lost and honestly scared for a long while, but I am mindfully creating myself and the person I want to be and can honestly say wholeheartedly, I am happy and strong. I of course have low days, but I recognise them, adapt and ride it out. Talking openly and truthfully about mental health not only helps me but normalises a subjects fraught with difficulties and objection. 

Slowing down, is fine, failure, is fine, putting yourself first, is fine, saying no, is fine. This summer I have said this time and time again like a broken record, but the most important and genuinely liberating thing I have learnt is to stop living in the context of shoulds and coulds, and live in the context of wants, wills and doing. We have one mind, look after it.

To everyone who has put up with me, and supported me in the last few months in particular, I cannot thank you enough. 

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