Every aspect of life is impacted by mental health. Which makes it a bit silly when I think back on how uncomfortable I’ve felt admitting that mentally, I’ve experienced peaks and troughs. When pretty much every element of life impacts our emotions, feelings and state of mind. So here’s my admission.
Throughout moments, phases, weeks and entire years of my life, I have not been okay
It’s taken a really long time to feel somewhat comfortable in admitting that. Maybe comfortable is still the wrong word. Accepting, suits better.
I accept, that my mental health is sometimes okay, and sometimes completely out of whack. I accept, that seemingly out of nowhere, at times I can feel incredibly low. I accept that I struggle to keep my mental health in check, and that I have to fight to maintain its upkeep. Prioritize methods and means to ensure my mental health doesn’t plummet into difficult territory.
I accept, that it’s okay to not be okay, because sometimes I am not okay at all.
On occasion, I can explain why I’ve begun to downward spiral
Like stressful situations, not setting aside enough time for myself, not knowing where to go next in life, worrying about finances, the loss of a loved one, work pressure, going through a divorce, long term online dating. I can account for the triggers that have brought on negative feelings and thoughts.
Other times, I couldn’t tell you what brought it on. Possibly the winter months. Maybe a kind of mid-life crisis. Perhaps I spent too much time on my own, didn’t make enough effort to be social. I’d just be guessing though, I don’t have the answers. If I knew them, I’d likely be worth a million bucks.
However that’s not why I’m writing this blog. I’m no medical professional, after all
But I am an expert at talking things through honestly. One of the reasons I started The Authentic Optimist back in 2021, was to help break down barriers in speaking plainly and openly about mental health. Supporting and encouraging unashamed conversation.
Maybe these blogs have impact, maybe they don’t. But I write them because hopefully they help someone who then has a, “me too” moment. And at times, if I’d heard someone else say, “I totally get how you feel, I’ve been down that road, it’s okay you feel this way” I know for me it would have been a real comfort.
It’s hard to speak about these internal battles
Personally, coming from a family of strong minded, strong-willed, independent people has served me so well in so many respects, but disadvantaged me in then feeling okay to admit that I at times haven’t felt particularly strong at all, and needed someone to depend on, moral support and a safe space to let my guard down and say what was going on inside my complicated little mind.
What I can tell you though, is that when I did find a moment of courage in speaking up about my mental health, it absolutely alleviated that feeling that I was facing something entirely alone. It wasn’t easy, but over time I learned that it’s okay to ask for support, whether from those closest to me, or professional. It’s okay to talk about mental health. I didn’t have to struggle on in silence.
It is okay to not be okay, and in speaking about it, find ways to work towards getting to a better place.