A few words about mental health…

Have you ever felt undeserving or downright worthless at any point in your life, or during your youth? Maybe you feel exactly that way, here and now. You’re not alone. Even if it sometimes feels like you are the loneliest person in the world, the fact is that we all feel this way from time to time to a greater or lesser extent. It is not a pleasant experience to go through, but I think if one can accept the existence of these feelings, it can also help make the journey to self-improvement easier as well. Having said that, I don’t mean it’s an easy thing to manage, it’s a continuous work that sometimes, for some, goes on throughout life. In this text, I want to illuminate and draw attention to what is often hidden in obscurity. I’m talking about mental illness.

I, like many others, have experienced anxiety ridden situations and also deep sadness. Both in school and at home. This has led to me finding myself in depressive periods that I had no idea how to deal with. These feelings can be difficult to put into words, like a tangled yarn ball of incomprehension. Trying to convey this to family and friends felt like an impossible task in the beginning. At the same time, I was afraid that others would see me as a difficult and troublesome thing, if I spoke honestly about how I actually felt. I developed a way to suppress these feelings. I started to play the role of a happy and carefree person who did everything people expected of me. But when I started to ignore these feelings, I started to ignore myself and my own well-being. In school, problems such as anxiety, depression, etc. were rarely discussed. It wasn’t until after i finished school that it became an active topic of conversation in my circle of friends. Many of them had experienced similar feelings of loneliness and confusion but had also felt that far too few spoke openly about it. I believe that if we actually had talked about these heavy subjects during the formative years in school, the insatiable feeling of loneliness wouldn’t have felt as unconquerable as it did then.

Today I take active decisions to improve my well-being. If I’m having a bad day, I express it so that others don’t have to wonder about a change in behaviour. Getting enough sleep and making sure to do some physical activity, no matter how tiresome that saying may be, also helps to set a good foundation for yourself to work on. Most importantly, I try to be kind to myself, by not diminishing myself and my achievements. Instead, I try to focus on the good things I have managed to achieve during the day, small wins are wins too. When I started writing this text, I asked family and friends a question. “What advice would you give to your younger self?”. The answer was unanimous. Dare to talk about it. Put your feelings into words, if only one word at a time. At least it’s a start.