“I’ve started falling apart, I’m not savouring life. I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive.” 💛
So, recently most of my blog posts have been super happy and positive because in general that is the frame of mind that I am in. But the overall theme of my blog is mental health and of course, mental health isn’t always a super positive and happy subject. This post is going to be about a little rough patch that I’m going through at the minute.
I feel like it would be hypocritical of me to only write about the good and not the bad in relation to my own mental health. So here I am admitting that right now I’m not really doing great, but I have no doubt that very soon I will be back on track! I think it’s important to stress that it is okay not to feel okay, once you manage and cope with these emotions in a healthy and safe way. I’m also going to reiterate (I’m not sure if I’m doing this for you reading this post or as a reminder to myself) but either way, that this is but just that – a phase, and it will end!
The last few weeks I have been in a bit of a rut. Everything seemed to be rapidly falling into place and then boom… the same old Kimbo strike of unlucky lightning hit again. That sounds very self-centred, I know. (Just feeling a little sorry for myself lol.) Not that I really have much to complain about. Just a few little things have been getting me down I suppose. Not going to talk much about these things that are proving to be stressors in my life at the minute because some are not my stories to tell and some are too private for the world of interwebbing. Anyways, I am however going to talk about what’s been going on in my mind and how I’ve been trying to cope with these feelings.
Although I always say it: that my mental health is always going to be something I will have to look after, it’s easy to forget when I’m feeling on top of the world that I still need to really look after myself and be aware of my thoughts and feelings and make sure that I’m dealing with them properly and not brushing them under the mat.
That’s something I tend to do a lot. I bottle lots of little things up and convince myself that I’m fine until everything builds up and explodes. That is kind of what has happened recently.
I am very much of the opinion that at the end of the day you are the only person that truly and solely has your best interests at heart. Not in a super sad and morbid way, I just believe that we should always put no.1 (ourselves) first. In a realistic way, obviously. I mean how can one support other people and be a good friend etc. when they themselves are falling apart? You just can’t!
Recently I have noticed that I have been prioritising someone I am really close to who is going through a hard time at the moment over looking after my own mind. This is never a good plan. It’s something I used to do a lot when I was younger. I would take on other people’s problems and stress out about them so much that I would forget to put myself first and end up in a really bad place. I would get so stressed out about everyone else and everything they were going through, forgetting entirely that I had my own stuff going on that needed to be dealt with.
For the first while of being in this particular rut I tried to cover it up – if I keep smiling the world won’t know any different, right? But as always, that’s never a good strategy. I started taking out my frustration and sadness on those closest to me. Pushing them away when I needed them most. Trying to look out for and give advice to others while letting them weigh me down. It was only when one of my closest friends, Cathal asked me what was going on that I realized how much of an asshole I had been and that I was back tracking onto a very slippery downwards slope into the place that I have worked so very hard to get out of.
I can’t let this happen – although it is a lot easier said than done. I’ve been having panic attacks really regularly lately. The panic attacks have been a lot more intense than they have been for a long time. This was frustrating after coping so well with my anxiety for so long. I was angry with myself for letting my anxiety take control again and for not looking after myself properly. I was beating myself up for ’embarrassing myself’ constantly with these panic attacks. For having to get the bus to pull over on the way home from college ’cause I felt like I was having a heart attack. (Anyone who has experienced a panic attack before will know what this feels like.)
A couple of nights ago all this bottling stuff up came to a head and I got very close to self – harming. I felt really low. My head felt heavy and almost sore from everything weighing on and racing through my mind. Nothing in particular had happened. It had all just built up. I took out my paint brush and rolled up my sleeve. I painted some bluebells on my arm and some funky designs. I cried the whole way through. I had no reason to be crying. I just felt so low and so frustrated with myself for letting my mind get into this state once again. I kept telling myself that I was stronger than what was going through my head and I was so angry that I had let my emotions overcome me so much that I almost did something that I swore to myself I never would again.
Once I finished painting the tears dried up as I looked at the picture I had created on my skin. I was proud of it, proud of myself too. The end result was pretty and colourful. I was left with a much clearer head, feeling a lot more relaxed and it felt like such a big achievement that I had refrained from succumbing to the compulsion to cut my skin open and had instead used a healthy coping mechanism to achieve the same thing, but much, much better! What I achieved I was able to show people and not have to hide the consequences away. I was not left in physical pain and I had not put myself into any danger.
When I fall into that low mindset, it’s hard to think rationally about things and to use perspective, but I did. I’m still not out of this particular rut. Life still feels a little grey but I’ve started being a little more open with my friends about how I’m feeling. Of course this has helped tremendously. It’s currently assignment season and exams are looming. I have no doubt that some of the emotions I am feeling is stress resulting from all the work of the past few weeks and the work I have coming. However, I know that I can get through it, and I will!
Reading back over this post, I now realise that beating myself up over my anxiety levels was the wrong thing to do. I know that panic attacks are NOTHING to be embarrassed about, and if one of my friends was telling my story I would make sure to emphasise this point. Sometimes I am going to go through bad patches, that’s just one thing about having mental health problems like anxiety and depression, they never fully go away and every so often pop up as a reminder to take a break and slow down a little.
It’s times like this when I realize how incredible the people I have around me are. Each and every one of them has their own way of picking me back up and giving me a nudge in the right direction. Even when they don’t know that I’m struggling. As cheesy as it is, I would be lost without all these fantastic people by my side and I am so, unbelievably grateful for all the little things these superheroes do for me. Friends, family, neighbors. I am such a lucky girl. ❤️
For now my plan of action is to fight for my happiness back. Bad things happen but life goes on and I need to pick myself back up; which I fully intend on doing! I am going to talk it all out, with anyone and everyone who is willing to listen. I am going to eat well and paint every chance I get. I am going to exercise and get organised again. I am going to get my anxiety back under control and I am going to get all my essays handed in and pass my exams. I am going to go to America feeling amazing again and I am going to have the summer of my life. Positive thinking and determination is the only way to turn things around, I have found.
I am going to find my smile again!
Better make a start on the goals and get onto my essay that is due for tomorrow. Whoops. So for now, stay safe and stay happy and above all else,