When you’re feeling depressed, anxious, angry, confused (insert other emotion here) it can be scary. You feel like you’re the only person who feels this way and that it’s not normal. You look at other people’s lives and they seem perfect in comparison to your own. But did you ever think, if every person put their own problems in a pile, you’d probably take yours back? Everyone is fighting a battle, some bigger and more challenging than others. Something that seems so trivial to you may be a mountain of problems for another. The thing is, some people feel able to reach out whereas others don’t, can’t or feel there’s nobody to reach out to.
Today I was feeling low and tearful, so I reached out to Elefriends (an organisation lead by the charity MIND, where you can openly speak about your mental health and meet other people in similar situations). I explained how I was feeling and was worried about how I was going to get through the weekend with this low, horrid mood. A wonderful person gave me the best advice; to write a love letter to myself, much like I would write to a friend I cared about that I needed to cheer up. So, I thought what better place to write this love letter than on my blog, so other people can see it and take the same advice? Perhaps you don’t know how to write kind things about yourself. Or you’re finding it difficult to think of things. You don’t have to read mine, but for me, this is a step that I want to take in order to remind myself that I AM great despite all things (mainly my brain) that tell me that I am not.
This evening, I received a text from my best friend. She told me she was feeling low about herself and unattractive. That she didn’t feel that people ever looked at her and thought, wow, she’s beautiful.
Whilst we know that ‘beauty’ is only skin deep, it got me thinking about how unkind my friend was being to herself, and how we all do it to ourselves all the time. I couldn’t ever imagine telling my friend she was unattractive and that nobody thought she was beautiful. So why is she saying it to herself?
So I haven’t actually blogged for almost a week because I’ve been back to work (busy busy) and also because I’ve felt low. I didn’t want to keep writing negative posts everyday, I wanted to be able to put something upbeat that would help people. Not that there is anything wrong with posting about how you feel but for me I knew I needed to wait for a spark of positivity to inspire me again.
And low and behold, it came!
Sometimes we feel anxious when we think about the future. We worry that something will go wrong, or that something terrible could happen, and we do whatever we can to prevent those things from happening. When we feel that we can’t prevent these things that we don’t want to happen, we panic, and things become a downward spiral, and we become anxious and irritable… then we just don’t do whatever it is that is causing the worry.
I have found that it is not always enough to just put off the things that are worrying me. The problems are still going to be there and most of the problems are things that are just out of my control. When I explained to my therapist that I often get anxious about things I can’t do anything about, she told me to try and bring myself back to the ‘now’ to help ease the anxiety for the time being. I spend a lot of my time worrying about tomorrow, even though really I know that it’s going to be okay in the end. That doesn’t stop the shaky, irritable body sensations and my brain telling me awful things that make me want to cancel everything in my schedule and just stay in bed. So now I have to try and experience the ‘now’. And this is how she told me to do it.
Throughout my entire life, I have been a perfectionist. Many would argue that it can’t be a bad thing to always want to do things correctly, or always have things look a certain way. The difficult with perfectionism, however, is the question; what is perfect? If perfect is a matter of opinion, then who am I to say that the way things are for me now, isn’t perfect?
When I was younger, I planned the ‘perfect’ life for myself. I wanted to be a teacher, have a long term boyfriend, be engaged and married by 25, have children by 30 and live in a beautiful house in the countryside with dogs and horses. Now that I think about it, that may have been my perception of a perfect life, but actually, how shallow is that?! And who says that’s perfect anyway?!
At the beginning of the week, I wrote a post about making your own personal goals. (Read it here.) So, that’s just what I did. I have been off work due to Easter break and this week had to spend it alone, which is something I find difficult to do. So, every day this week, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to get done and also in order, so that I had a structure for my day and something to achieve. Some items on the lists were small and others were larger jobs. I was going to add a photograph of them but I feel it’ll be much neater if I type them out (though I have added an image of them at the end, to show you how I did it)!