What we've learnt about our mental health in 2019
We asked our Activists and bloggers what mental health lessons they've learnt in 2019. Here's what they said.
Sometimes it can be hard to see how things have changed with our mental health until we pause, take a step back and reflect. So as this year draws to a close, we’ve been doing just that. We asked our Activists and bloggers what mental health lessons they’ve learnt in 2019. Here’s what they said.
My feelings are valid
The main thing I've learnt this past year is that it is OK to admit to being in a slump. Whatever you feel is valid. There may be bad moments in good days, just like there may be good moments in bad days. Our society is always talking about the hustle, saying, "No pain, no gain." But I hope people remember that on some days, survival itself is an achievement that should be celebrated.
I can't live my life for other people
The most important mental health lesson I've learnt this year is that I shouldn't live my life to please other people. Living to please others caused me to be depressed, anxious and stressed. It also didn't give me the sense of voice that I deserve. I stopped seeking approval and decided to love and honour myself, which has been the best decision I've made this year!
Comparisons get me nowhere
Comparing my recovery with anyone else's is not going to help me get better any faster.
It's OK to be kind to myself
It was always easy for me to say this but avoid acting upon it. My health and happiness come first, and if I want to do something that I enjoy, I can take the time to do it without feeling guilty.
Journaling can help me process my feelings
During 2019, I've been working on ways to organise my thoughts as a way to cope with intrusive thoughts. My journaling system has been the most helpful for this.
I will first have a bit of a conversation with myself aloud to try to understand what I'm thinking, which I will then document. I usually write it out in a long brain-dump with no structure, or I journal in the language I'm learning - channelling my struggles into something I see as productive.
Once I've made sense of my thoughts, I focus on "self-soothing" and pull out my positivity journal. This is a pocket-sized guide that I carry with me wherever I go. Here, I record what I have learnt in counselling and motivational things my loved ones have said to me during my recovery. I usually add to this by noting down something positive that I've learnt about myself recently, such as a healthy coping mechanism, a grounding technique, a type of meditation I've used etc. I like to take my time with my positivity journal as it gives me hope when I look through it during a tough time.
Medication is not always a quick fix
There are so many different types of medication, and not every one is going to work for me. It's also a matter of patience; it can take eight weeks for the medication to enter your body properly, so I need to give it time to work.
Taking medication is nothing to be ashamed of
This year I've learnt that although it may be difficult to admit, taking medication for my mental health has really helped. I learnt that it shouldn't be something that I'm ashamed of, and it shouldn't be something that I need to hide. It made an incredible difference to my mental health and it helped me understand that going to the doctor's about my mental health isn't something I should feel guilty or embarrassed about.
I don't need to know what I want to do in the future just yet
The future is what it says on the tin. I can change my mind and change it again.