Dear Mind...Let's Talk.

Dear Mind,

I need to talk.

Life’s been tough. I was in a good place, then the world changed. I was suddenly faced with huge struggles, life changing struggles, which is when the stress, depression and fear showed up.  It tested me, it brought out a lot of new feelings and I feel I missed out so much. My life changed without warning, and I was alone.

My days were repetitive.  I’d get up, start work, long day at the desk, finish up with Netflix and a few beers.  I was hard trying to connect with people when we were all online working, I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with anyone anymore, there was too much distance between us, I couldn’t just pick up the phone to talk to someone.  I felt like I was playing the game of life solo. 

The world was saying it was ok not to feel fine, it was ok not to feel like the old me, that change was good, that change could be rewarding, that we should take this time to create new habits that would benefit us.  But when I was in that mindset, all I felt was anxiety and panic. My confidence and self-esteem were in my boots, I wasn’t looking after myself, I was hibernating away from everyone and everything and I knew that wasn’t right. 

I was aware of mental health, I’d read some bits on it, seen some stuff online and that’s when I came to realise that I may be needed some help.  The pandemic was the worst, it wiped me out, it wiped everyone out.  No one knew what was going on or what was going to happen.  I remember feeling scared.  Scared for what it meant for the life I once loved, scared for the people around me, scared for my future, scared for my health.

I had planned to reach out to a few people, but it was hard.   Why would anyone want to hear my story, how I was feeling, all my sad talk about feeling anxious and alone?  They had their own stuff going on to worry about, but I made the effort.  I decided if it didn’t work and no one would lend an ear, then at least I tried.  A few of us got together one night, my brother included, and I plucked up the courage to start the conversation on how everyone was feeling about their lives in that exact moment sitting in that bar… turns out I wasn’t on my own, they all felt it too. 

From that night on, things changed.  The boys and I made a pact that we would start to do stuff like we used to.  We’d have regular nights out like this, we’d hit the gym together, we’d sign up for the Park Run, we’d find ways we can re-build our confidence and self-esteem, we’d start doing some self-care rituals and share the tips and the results.

Surrounding myself with good people made all the difference.  Being open and discovering that others had the same destructive feelings as me actually made me feel better.  Spending time with my mates and my brother helped me to learn and to discover new things about myself, new things that I enjoyed, which I had been missing out on for so long.

Change isn’t easy, not when you’re stuck in a repetitive rut, but I learned to take it easy on myself.  I learned to take the down time when I could, to relish the quiet time.  I gained knowledge by reading books and I started bedtime and self-care routines to help keep my body and skin healthy and looking good.  I didn’t want to look tired and older than my years!

I listened to some amazing podcasts on kindness and gratitude and took it upon myself to ensure that I did more with this stuff.  I learnt that small things we do each day, or that someone else does for us goes a long way in making up our positive emotions, and that something as simple as sharing smile with someone is easy and can make them and us feel so good!

So, I’m in a better place now.  It’s taken a while, a while to find myself again, to get out of the depression ditch I was in, but it just goes to show that taking the steps to look after yourself does work.  I discovered the hardest part of recovery is seeking help in the first place, but recovery is possible.  For me, exercise, eating healthy, connecting, silencing the mind, setting goals, introducing routines, getting to bed early have all helped me rebuild the person I once was… actually, I feel better now than I ever have.  I’m a new, improved me.

I’ve learnt to find balance, do more and care more about what matters and find time for myself.  I feel I deserve to be the best possible version of me, and that’s the goal.  Onwards and upwards.

Thanks for listening,

Take care of yourself,