If you break a bone people know about it, you get help from a doctor and you tell people how it happened … If you suffer from a mental health illness you hide it away, you try to get better alone. This HAS to change, an illness is an illness whether it’s on the body or the mind. For years mental health has been a taboo subject, people don’t like to admit they suffer when this suffering is life debilitating. It’s changing slowly and more people are opening up about mental health, tomorrow, 10th October, is ‘World Mental Health Day’ we have to stand up and tell people our stories, we have to be brave.
In my family mental health is something we talk about freely, myself along with other members of my family suffer with mental health issues, my uncle has Schizophrenia. As a child I experienced how devastating mental illness can be on a family.
I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, and in the past depression (post-natal and depression). As a result of this I have very low self-esteem and self-worth, I’m working on this daily and over the last few years my self-esteem has grown but I still have a lot of work to do.
I wanted to write this blog to share some tools I use every day to help with my mental health, I am no professional, this is just how I find best to cope with my own mental health that might help others.
I have taken medication for my mental health in the past and I can’t stress enough how important it is to see your doctor and get help. I struggled on for years trying to make myself better and it just doesn’t work. Sometimes we need help, we are human and that’s the bottom line. I have also had counselling, I cannot express how much it helped me. I found it very hard at first and it was emotionally draining but it changed my life for the better.
Putting Your Emotions Down on Paper
Whether its writing in a diary or drawing, getting your feelings out and onto paper can really help. I know personally sometimes I get stuck in my head, for me this blog helps me get out of my own head and hopefully helps others, by telling my stories. Writing down your experiences and feelings helps you see them in prospective and helps you deal with them. I also sketch, I have done this since I was a little girl. Without knowing I would draw to help me cope with feelings I didn’t understand as a child and a teenager, and this has carried on, although now I know why I do it. You can tell how I’m feeling by the sketches I do, I have a book full of sketches and it’s like a memory book for me. It helps me clear my mind without having to write things down, because sometimes that’s a hard thing to do.
Mindfulness and Scents
You hear more and more lately about mindfulness, how much we need to stop and feel. It’s a hard one to crack and I’m still practicing but being mindful daily can help your mental health more than I can say. To slow down and enjoy what you are doing to smell the scents, see the beauty and feel the emotions in everyday life is so important. In a world full of distractions, and busy lives it’s so easy to fall into the trap of just surviving and this is when your mental health will suffer. It’s the little things in life that make you see the bigger picture. Scents also play a massive part in mindfulness, certain scents can calm your mind and lift your mood. That’s why I fell in love with Soul Candles and why I’m so passionate about this brand. It’s about so much more than candles, Gemma and Sarah understand how important scents can be to help people’s moods. Sarah is a Reiki Therapist and uses soul candles during treatments. With this background and the essential oils used these candles have helped me and so many other to relax and get control back in our minds. By taking some time out, to breath and take in the scents you can change your mood. These are some on the best scents to relax and uplift your mood … Lemon, Lavender, Jasmine, Rosemary, Cinnamon and peppermint.
Soul Candles have done all the hard work for you by making scents that help improve certain moods such as Sooth, Relax and Uplift, so all you have to do is light the one you need. I really am passionate about these products because of how they have helped me. I have brands asking me to advertise but as I have said from the start I will only ever share brands I love.
‘Me time’ two little words that are so hard to do. Finding time in our busy lives to take time for ourselves is sometimes impossible. Sometimes doing things for ourselves makes us feel guilty, especially as parents. I decided a few years ago that I needed to start making time in the day for me just an hour alone to think or sometimes not think at all. I found this time when my boys went to bed, from a young age I got them into a routine of going to bed for 7pm, I needed that time to get myself back together. Even if it’s just half an hour to read a book, or soak in the bath, on my busiest days sometimes it’s getting to the school run early and sitting alone quite in my car for 10 minutes before I pick my boys up. This time is so important for the mind, I saw a massive difference in how I coped in daily life when I started taking this time each day, and now I do not feel guilty for enjoying it because it helps my family get the best of me.
Exercise and Nature
I know, I know … exercise is not something that we want to do, not me anyway! When I do exercise I see a massive improvement in my mental health and also in my self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong I don’t jump out of bed ready to work out (I wish I was that person … I’m definitely not) I have to make myself go to the gym, but when I have done it my mood is so much better and I am ready to take on the world. If you can exercise outside that’s even better having some time in nature can help you feel more grounded in yourself. Going for a walk with your family, or doing yoga in the garden all help to blow away the cobwebs that can cloud our minds. Even sitting by a lake to think alone and quiet, listening to the sounds of the world that’s one of my favourite things to do.
Love yourself … its sounds wrong even when I’m typing it, and that’s the problem! Loving yourself is not about being vain, it’s not about thinking you are better than anyone else. It’s about standing in front of a mirror and seeing you. This year is the first year I have spoken to myself like I speak to others, before this I would constantly put myself down, pick at my faults, hate everything I was. This year I have made a conscious effort to see myself for who I am. Now when I look in the mirror I no longer see a broken girl with an ugly body, I see a body that has scars from the things I’ve been through, the things that have made me strong, I see stretchmarks on a body that has carried four babies, I see a girl that was once broken but now stands taller than ever, who struggles daily but is still fighting. I work at this every day because that voice of doubt creeps back most days. The best thing you can do for yourself is block that voice out and start to reprogram your brain to love who you are. Surround yourself with good people who love you and can help you on your journey to self-love.
We need to shout from the rooftops about mental health for the sake of us and our children. We need to get rid of this stigma that surrounds it. Mental illness comes in many shapes and sizes most people are fighting battles every day.
Depression, eating disorders, OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, body dysmorphic disorder and addiction are just a few of the problems people suffer with.
We have to be brave and help ourselves and others by talking about mental health. I use this blog as a platform to try to help others who suffer like I did and still do. The messages I receive from people who are going through hard times or who can relate to my blogs are what make me brave enough to put myself out into the world, the real me, the good the bad and the gritty me. When people message me to say I have helped them that’s what I do this for and I think you are all so brave for letting me in. Now let’s let the rest of the world in and change how we see mental health.
Thank you for reading and letting me be brave,