Mental Health Awareness Week Post

I haven’t written a blog post in two weeks.  To be honest up until yesterday I’d also not done a podcast for two weeks.  I’ve worked (many many hours overtime) and I’ve done what I needed to do and I’ve trained a bit but apart from that I’ve really not done much.

I’ve found lockdown hard, I live alone and I’m used to be being very active, very busy and seeing lots and lots of people every day.   I’m lucky I’ve continued with most of my work (obviously not teaching classes) so I’ve been able to keep busy.  Busy only helps for so long though and whilst to start with being even busier at work probably helped the days go quickly it’s built up to the point of feeling really quite overwhelming in the last couple of weeks.  That’s fine, it happens, I knew that as Social Distancing started to ease I’d end up being under pressure for a while.  Equally knowing stress is coming and so not feeling overwhelmed by it don’t necessarily go hand in hand.   I think there’s a lot of guilt in the current world as well, not intentionally, but a feeling that you should always know there are people worse off than you.  My nan passed away during Lockdown (suspected but not confirmed Covid case) and you find yourself saying well she was old and had underlying health conditions and it’s happened to lots of families, it’s almost like you feel you need to underplay a loss that at any other time you’d acknowledge it for what it is, the loss of a family member.  I think in general I’ve felt ok but overwhelmed with ‘stuff’ in the last couple of weeks.  I wouldn’t say I’ve been depressed or suffering with anxiety (I’ve suffered from both and I know the difference for me in those to what I’ve felt like in Lockdown) but I’m also not loving this and I’m tired and struggling to sleep and restless and in a kind of limbo.

I can imagine that is how lots of people feel right now to be honest.

So that’s why I’ve just not really blogged recently, because some things needed to be dropped to stay sane.  But this week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I felt like that deserved a blog, especially right now, especially in light of what I’ve just shared – right now a lot of people’s mental health are potentially fragile, and a lot of people who have perhaps never struggled before are starting to feel strain.

There is always a theme to Mental Health Awareness Weeks and this time it is Kindness.

I feel like this period has shown lots of incidences of kindness but equally a lot of judgement too.  I’ve seen more posts of Facebook than I’d have like to see judging other people for their actions, their opinions, their geographical location!  There’s been a lack of appreciation that what might seem bearable for those with families, gardens, nice local areas to walk in has probably been quite horrible for those alone, isolated, ill, in tiny flats with no outside space in inner cities.  There’s been at times I think, a lack of ability for people to express things without being jumped on or attacked or a lack of willingness to listen and consider another point of view.

Kindness takes lots of forms.  It of course means showing appreciation to those doing great things, it also means understanding other’s situations, appreciating that those who have views right now that you might think are terrible may have those views for reasons you know nothing about, it means accepting that what might be manageable for you might not be for others and it means being kind to yourself as well as others.  It means sometimes accepting you were wrong, or that you weren’t necessarily wrong but neither was the other person.  Being kind to yourself doesn’t just mean doing nice things like having a bubble bath or a face mask, it can mean cutting yourself some slack, it can mean doing practical things to help improve your mood (for instance for me I always feel better if I’ve trained, especially if I get a run outside, it’s a complete game changer).

It’s so complex because you need to look after yourself but you equally want to look out for others.  I’ve seen quotes about checking in with people during this pandemic and quotes about those around you owing you nothing and of course both are true.  It’s a balancing act, but then it always is and our mental health relies on us taking time for ourselves but actually as we are social creatures at heart it does also rely on us interacting with others- and checking in on others can have as positive impact on your own mental health as having someone check in on you.

I feel like when week’s like this happen it’s so easy to post a meme or a quote when actually these topics are so complex and have so many points of view to them, often contradictory but it’s good that they are covered and that it creates conversations because just raising awareness is a great step in promoting better mental health.

I know this blog has been jumbled and that’s probably a good reflection of how organised my thoughts are at present so I’m not even going to try and tidy it, I’m just going to post it as it is.

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