Today I had a tough time with my mental health. Here's what I decided to do.
I know I normally don’t post on Sundays - but as I’ve mentioned before I struggle with my mental health in terms of change of hormones, having my period or any changes in contraception. So I sat here this morning, feeling really empty knowing I’m due on and knew that it was going to be a tricky day ahead of me. Just because I was able to identify the trigger didn’t mean that it made the day any easier for me - I knew I had to wait for this feeling to pass. Although, by identifying the trigger and having some understanding on my risk factors and protective factors it did reassure me that the feeling wasn’t going to last forever. In true fashion of the page, I wanted to turn a negative experience into something positive - a learning experience. I wanted to explore what thoughts and feelings I was going through today. I’ve done a lot of self-care (in the form of catching up with sleep) to give myself a more clear and level head before posting this.
I talk so much on this page about mental health, but it’s not very often we get into the nitty gritty of how it makes us feel. As we know, everyone has mental health - but everyone’s mental health is different. If you think about it, it’s quite similar to how certain things have a different impact on our physical health e.g. some people get really bloated and uncomfortable off certain foods whilst others don’t. Or allergic reactions present themselves differently on different people. It’s individualistic to you, your genetics and your body. Mental health is the same but is individualistic to your mind, personality and outlook on life. Some people when struggling with mental health may be able to function and conceal how they are feeling, and others may have to take time out of everyday life and find it more difficult to function.
So I’m going to talk about how it felt to me today. Just because it’s this way for me, doesn’t mean it’s the same for you. It’s such a broad spectrum, and this is not how I feel every single time my mental health takes a dip. It’s even a broad spectrum for me and it’s not always consistent. The more we talk about it the more we can educate our loved ones to identify any ways we act differently when we aren’t feeling so good mentally. So I pass over to sleep deprived and hormonal me from earlier on in the day who wasn’t feeling very positive at all.
“When I’m struggling, or having a tricky time I feel numb. I don’t feel the majority of emotions; good or bad. The only thing I do experience is the anxiety around being numb and not knowing how long it will last for. I personally think being numb is worse than experiencing negative emotions. At least when you’re feeling sad, or stressed or angry you are feeling something. You feel alive. The numbness really echoes the idea of me being an empty vessel; with nothing to offer or receive. All motivation escapes me and social interaction gets tricky as I don’t have any desire to fill any of my needs. Nothing interests me. I can watch or read something and not take any of it in. It’s like when a programme on your computer stops working, and it comes up saying it’s not responding. That’s how it feels in my head. I feel the urge to fast forward through the day and sleep all the time, but I do not feel tired. My problem solving skills are also not responding for all these problems that are now popping up in my head, nor do I have any motivation to fix it. I am just existing. The lights are on but no one is home.”
Back to present me – writing this up, 8 hours after, with a lot of sleep under my belt and a sprinkle of hindsight.
As I said, I am very aware that my mental health takes a dip certain times of the month, I’m also quite lucky that these are quite short term too. The amount of time that I do feel numb for has reduced dramatically, but it still happens, just like how sometimes I get a cold. I believe that the amount of time reduced is a result of being able to understand the psychology of your behaviour and that certain things trigger a mental health dip. So, in an attempt to understand you and your mental health more – I challenge you to do this, if you feel down, or whenever you next do (let’s be honest no-one is always happy, we all have our bad days). Turn it into something productive and write down how you are feeling and the thoughts you are having in the moment. Let me know if you guys want a resource made to this, or if you guys would like to see other peoples perspectives on this - my social handles are in the graphic. Present and Past Kim are now going to leave you with some inspiration, a song by the Maine that is very suited to this topic and are my go to band when i'm feeling off.