“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.” – Carrie Fisher.
These words are bold and inspirational, but what I think is most striking are the words “I’m still surviving it”. Mental health recovery is a journey and not something with a quick fix or an end; a person’s mental health requires management by that individual, to strive for a state of well-being that is healthy for you.
I have been attempting to manage anxiety and depression for over nine years and only in the past year have I reflected, and been able to see the desperation to banish my feelings in quick fixes. For example, my low self-esteem leads me to see others as superior and this can lead to me believing if I dress more like someone, dye my hair, change my make-up… that all of my anxieties and depression will dissolve. This seems ridiculous but it’s true.
Everyone will tell you to be yourself, but that’s difficult when you can lose yourself in such overwhelming emotions that you just don’t know who you are anymore. Scary right?
How about another way of looking at this?
What if you knew of someone who struggled, battling with their head and grasping for the confidence to see their self-worth, but could see the best in everyone around them?
I would think that person was brave for struggling through and for keeping going.
Maybe they spent their whole day at work arguing with themselves about a conversation they wish they hadn’t had, or comparing themselves to colleagues or friends they believed superior… Wouldn’t you want to tell that person they were strong for being able to complete their shift at work, whilst feeling all of these things internally?
If you change your perspective for a little while and see yourself as you would a friend, you are kinder.
Anxiety and depression is debilitating, but side effects are being able to empathise greatly and understand those who feel misunderstood – to be kind and non-judgemental.
Be kind to yourself