World Mental Health day is a wonderful point to consider our own unique mental health and for me, writing for this blog is part of good mental health; I love writing, I love processing my thoughts and I like to connect to others.
This is the dilemma with mental health, and more importantly good mental health, it is unique to the individual and if it isn’t something we’ve placed importance on within our lives, then how do we foster good mental health?
Connecting and potentially sharing with others is important, human beings are social creatures, we need each other for survival. Which is why sharing with you feels the right thing to do. Often poor mental health can leave us feeling alone, as if it is only us with our intense, anxious or often low thoughts. This simply isn’t true.
You are not crazy, you are not mad, and you are certainly not only your mental health, you are so much more. Our thoughts can feel overwhelming and with this, we can take our thoughts and feelings as fact. I believe it’s important to note that while our thoughts and feelings are valid, they are not fact. We don’t need to believe everything our head tells us!! Our feelings often come from a source, understanding the source may be helpful. For example, I feel anxious about getting in a car for a long journey; I feel panicked, worried and scared, I think ‘it’s dangerous, I’m trapped, I don’t feel in control when I don’t drive….’ All these thoughts and feelings are valid and important, but because I feel trapped, doesn’t mean I am. I know I could ask the driver to stop at any time. I also know I actually love long car journeys. It’s the sense of not being in control which is the source – it’s something that has had detrimental consequences in the past. Therefore, my anxious feelings are trying to keep me alive! They are trying to say ‘we know you won’t be in control and our past tells us this isn’t good’ – and now I get to say no, this isn’t true, I am in control because I choose to get in the car.
What does this mean for good mental health? While this blog can’t explore all the infinite ways to foster this, we can begin with one clear way – acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. They are there anyway whether you acknowledge them or not. And if they feel like too much for one person to handle, who can I talk to? Who can I share with? Because remember, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to suffer alone.