When I first started my blog, I did so with the intention of it being a little sanctuary for myself, a place where I could get everything off my chest. Like many people when they start blogging – I never imagined anyone would read it. However, people did read it, and they could relate to it too! I soon realised I was far from alone in what I was going through and how I was feeling, which was amazing, I hope to talk about this some more in another post sometime because since starting my blog I really have seen a turning point for my mental health. What brings me here today though is the feeling that my blog has strayed a little from the sanctuary of mine it once felt like, and so I have decided to write a little life update to help me take my blog back to its roots. That’s not to say I don’t love what my blog has become, especially the What Makes You Happy? guest series I currently have running which I’m very proud of and excited about. It’s just that as people read and like your blog, sometimes we can’t help but then put pressure on our self to keep people engaged, to receive even more likes on our next post. This can cause you to veer off the path of just writing to release what has been going on inside of your mind, and instead you focus more on what will gain the best reception. Today though, I’m just going to reflect on what’s been going on lately…
My mental health has always been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, I think that’s a very fitting description I’m sure many can relate to – you have your ups and downs and it can be rather unpredictable. I really don’t know from one day to the next how I am going to feel, I struggle to take the good times for granted, aware that anything could be around the corner. But just recently, as I was walking up the stairs to be precise, it kind of dawned on me that I’ve been feeling in a “good place” lately, I hadn’t had any really bad days for a while, and I was just feeling quite content with life.
I think there are a few reasons why my mental health has felt more stable lately. Firstly, I have to mention The Little Book of Lykke which I recently read, this is not a plug, I don’t receive anything if you buy the book, it is just genuinely a great book which has really had a positive effect on my perspective of life and happiness. If you do want to find out more about it – I’ve written a review here. It really does go to show that the little things can make a big impact.
Secondly, I have been looking after myself a lot more lately, just through simple things such as making sure I get to bed at a reasonable time. I used to struggle to switch off at night, I would sit in the lounge with my laptop in front of the TV until I was too tired to do anymore, now I do any work on my laptop in the study, that way the work doesn’t go on endlessly, I am encouraged to wrap it up so that I can actually go and relax properly in the lounge before bed. I aim for 1-2 hours before bed of no technology time, with no plans, just winding down, reading, painting my nails, doing whatever I fancy really. I’ve also started listening to guided meditations before bed and they have really improved my quality of sleep! In addition to this, I have been making more of an effort with my appearance now that I have to get out and about more to do the school run, and just by making yourself feel like you look better, you feel better, it’s a great mood booster.
Last but by no means least, I’ve been attending face to face counselling for a little while now, I had telephone counselling earlier in the year which really helped me to get out of a dark place, however this time it has been pivotal in improving my overall mood and mental wellbeing. Quite a few sessions into my latest round of counselling something just clicked, it was something which no one could have done for me nor could I have forced it, it happened because the time was right and I believe it indicates that I am ready to start healing now. If you’re wondering what on earth I’m rambling on about here, well the main topic in my counselling sessions would often be my parents’ divorce, everything kept coming back to my childhood, and I couldn’t understand why over 10 years later I still couldn’t shift it from my mind. Basically, everything went downhill after my parents’ divorce, my relationship with both of my parents broke down and the repercussions left me with a whole load of unresolved pain, I’ve written about what I went through in more detail here. With my counsellors help I have been able to start making sense of things as I had been confused for a long time as to why I felt the way I did, and she also explained that it was likely that it’s because I have now had children of my own that it had come back to bite me.
For years people said to me “But you have a beautiful family of your own, focus on that” or “As long as you’re happy now, that’s all that matters”, “Stop looking back and focus on the future instead” and whilst the latter is very true it really is easier said than done. No matter how many times people said these things to me I could never get past my past, I was stuck, regardless of how hard I tried to look forward, my past was always there. During my counselling, I learnt that I am grieving, grieving the childhood that I had longed for, and that is why each day different things would trigger me to feel sad. Just like if you have lost a loved one, every time you see something which reminds you of them you hurt a little bit inside don’t you. And for me, every time I saw anything pretty much happy family related (which could be fairly often) I hurt, “why didn’t I have that?” I’d think. Until a couple of Sundays ago when I was mixing the gravy and I thought to myself, “I may never get to make a roast dinner for my Mum and have her tell me how proud of me she is”… Except on this occasion, before I started to feel sad, I instantly thought “but my children will get to make me many a roast dinner and I will get to tell them how proud I am of them”. And it just clicked, right there and then, for the very first time, I looked forward instead of back, and I smiled. It may sound so simple, but I really feel like I am finally starting to heal.
So there you have it, a little life update. Remember, no matter how dark it gets, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.