Sunday 23 June 2024

It’s okay not to feel okay

Mental health is a topic I’ve recently realised I need to write more about. If I feel okay writing about physical health then why shouldn’t I feel okay writing about mental health. (Maybe it’s because mental health holds more stigma?) Our mental wellbeing is just as important to see to as our physical wellbeing. The same goes for medication: medication for or bodies and for our minds - they’re both just as important to take to be well and to not to feel ashamed of taking or admitting that we take.

Recently I’ve been struggling more with my mental health, to the point where I’ve needed help to manage things to be safe and well - Again there’s there shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that we’re getting support for our mental health; we freely talk about seeing a doctor or nurse or physiotherapist so it should be okay to say that we’re seeing a therapist or psychiatrist or community mental health nurse. 

Anyway, as well as the professionals supporting me my Dad and best friend have been amazing throughout this blip that I’ve been going through and I can’t thank everyone for their support. I’ve also got back in touch with my old therapist and I’m seeing her again which means a lot and it will be good to just have a space to simply be and just let out.

This blip just came on though a mixture of social stressors and my physical health being a bit worse than usual. I do find that the my physical and mental health impact upon one other so when I’m having a bad day physically my mood gets lower. On top of that when I haven’t slept well that affects me both physically and emotionally too, and also when I’m not well physically and especially emotionally I don’t sleep well making things worse. 

I’ve struggled with my mental health most of my life but for quite a while now I’ve been managing really well and I’ve not needed much support apart from a recent medication increase to help with my anxiety (I’d been waiting for the appointment for nearly a year) I’d also had a couple of sessions with my therapist again in the new year because I was struggling to cope due to anxiety but a few sessions was all I needed compared to the year and half of therapy I’d had the previous time I’d had therapy with the same therapist. It’s good to know that she’s [the therapist] always there for a ‘top-up’ of therapy and it’s always with the same therapist plus the last time and this time when I’ve needed a top-up I’ve gotten a session within a week - the perks of private therapy. It does cost me but it’s discounted as I’m on PIP but it is a medical expense just like a physical health expense but I get what I need which I wouldn’t get with mental health services (MHS) locally plus my sessions aren’t time limited and I get the type of therapy that suits me which is creative therapy which again MHS all don’t offer.

Whilst I’ve been going through this mental health blip I’ve been doing a lot of diamond art which I’ve found helpful to do. My concentration hasn’t been great and sometimes I struggle to distract myself and just listening or watching something wasn’t enough so when I called for support someone suggested doing colouring or diamond art with the television or my audiobook/podcast on in the background. I found her suggestion really helpful initially I did some colouring and ordered a diamond art kit and now I’m on my third kit! I’ve found mini projects easier as they seem more doable compared to a giant picture; I now need to find what to do with all the key rings and bookmarks I’ve made! - I’ve just bought some setting glue so I can fix down the gems and I’m thinking of selling them and putting the sale towards my fundraising? I’ve gifted some of the things I’ve made to friends and a bookmark to my Dad for Father’s Day.

I find engaging my senses helpful for grounding me too. So I’ve had my aromatherapy diffuser on, my Mathmos protector on (it projects like a lava lamp onto my ceiling - I’d love a galaxy protector) and I used to use lollies but I’ve discovered vegan fruit pastels. I also have my fidget ring that I wear or I’ll have a tangle toy. I have other things in my self-care box too like a calm jar, colouring bits, a micro Lego block type kit to built and other things - most of my self-care box is based upon the contents Megan put in my Recovery Shoebox* and my self-care box is the one Megan made for me. My therapist and I also made a self-care jar with little self-care notes in there to remind me of things to do or things that make me smile and feel positive.

Trigger Warning:
*The Recovery Shoe-box Project was started by Megan who has now sadly passed away by suicide. The project was personal to Megan as she struggled with her own mental health but she helped so many people through the project. In her memory Megan's friends and family continue the project to reach out to more people with mental illnesses to help them with their recovery.

Personally recovery for me is learning to live with my mental illnesses. I rather them not be there but depression and anxiety will always be there but it’s about me learning to be the one in charge, that’s what recovery looks like to me and inevitably I’ll have good and bad days and blips and wobbles but that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay all of the time.