Battle of the brain

by smithstandard
Girl with floppy hat and sunglasses looking out of cable car in the air

I have been battling internally this past week.

It has probably been one of the more challenging weeks I have had for some time, in terms of my mental health. I am working through it, but it’s a slow process and on some days, it has beaten me. I haven’t even really wanted to leave the house all that much.

If you saw my Frothin’ Friday post a couple of days ago, you might have noted that I said the following:

Today is the first day in a week I have felt inspired to write something or post something and I honestly just feel relief. Relief that I’m not completely dead and numb on the inside, that I can come out of darkness and that I still want to do the things I enjoy, even though my brain often fights me on it. Today I feel hopeful.

Friday was the first day I felt hopeful in a long time.

I haven’t felt much hope, inspiration, motivation, determination or anything similar for several weeks now. Probably longer if I’m being honest. Those feelings have been coming along gradually and that is why I went to my GP about it. I am still working through my shit day by day, but it doesn’t mean it’s not really fucking hard some times.

I know I’m not special in this.

I know it’s happening all the time, with so many of us. But that’s one of the crazy things about our mental health/ mental illness (no pun intended) – it can make us feel like we are completely alone.

Thankfully we are not. I am not alone and you are not alone. There are countless people, resources, organisations, methods and treatments that can help all of us, no matter where we’re at on our journey.

So what changed? What was different for me on Friday?

  1. I tapped into something within myself and I forced myself out of bed. I think I could have easily laid there all day, sleeping on and off and staring at the ceiling. But I made myself get up and then made the bed immediately so I was less inclined to get back in it.
  2. Exercise – whilst this is usually a non-negotiable for me, I have been struggling with anxiety around this area lately. On Friday I didn’t give myself time to think as I got dressed into gym gear and took myself for a walk along the beach. It was just for 20 minutes. I put sunglasses on (this often gives me more confidence as I feel it kind of makes me invisible to people), put one foot in front of the other and I just went. It wasn’t easy to get out the door, but once I did, I felt much better.
  3. On my walk I started listening to Osher Gunsberg’s podcast, episode 248, in which he talks about his own mental health journey. In the opening minutes of it I felt like I wasn’t alone, that he was talking directly to me about how it was going to be okay and what I could do to beat down the darkness. Whilst those of us who have experienced or are experiencing mental illness know that every battle is different, Osher’s own experience and the way he talks about it is done in a way that could be relatable to anyone, regardless of where you are at and what you have gone through. My journey has been very different to his, but it definitely makes me feel less alone and I am grateful for people like him talking so openly about it.

After I did those things and got back to my apartment, ready to make breakfast, I realised I felt different.

I wanted to sit down at my desk and write for the first time in a week. Whilst it was tiny, I felt a creative spark and it made me smile. And I ended up working on my projects for hours. Whilst I know I will likely go in waves with this momentum, I am grateful that I am back here in this headspace, right at this moment.

For those of you going through your own battles, for those of you not loving life or yourself right now, for those of you who nearly gave up this week, who felt paranoid or weak, for those of you adapting to life with medication or life without it, for those of you still searching for answers – please remember you are not alone.

Speak to your health professional about your options, check out some verified local mental health resources and support systems. Tell family members and friends who you trust. Listen to Osher Gunsberg and his wonderful recommendations! or whoever else might be the shining light in your dark times.

Don’t suffer in silence – tell someone and seek out help, so you can keep on keeping on.

Han x

If you need to please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Lifeline is also running a text trial. If life is getting too much and you find it hard to talk, you can text 0477 13 11 14. Lifeline Text is available 6.00pm – 10.00pm (AEDT), 7 days a week.

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