When we see mental health being discussed in the media, a lot of the time it is from the perspective of a success story. Someone who has beaten their illness and is on their way to recovery, an inspiration to us all. But what about those of us who are still in the weeds? Still struggling to keep it together every day? I think it’s important to see those stories too.
When I woke up this morning I felt numb. After a night of tossing and turning, over thinking and overanalysing I got out of bed even more tired than when I got in. It was a struggle to even brush my teeth with my head pounding and my muscles aching. A few splashes of water on my face and I felt a little better, hopeful even, that maybe the rest of the day will be better.
This is not an unusual occurrence for me, having had depression previously and anxiety my whole life I know even before it happens when I’m going to have “one of those days” as my mum likes to call them. Those days where it takes everything to get out of bed, where going outside is an achievement and the negative voice in my head gets a little louder.
Luckily for me these kinds of days have gotten fewer and further in between but just a few months ago they were my every day.
Stress is a big trigger and it doesn’t help that I’m an over sensitive worrier who stresses about the smallest of things. Medication has helped me slightly, along with a change in lifestyle and acupuncture but I still have days like today where I feel defeated by my mental health.
And it’s okay to have days like that, to let your mental illness win every once in awhile so it can lose the rest of the time.
It can be exhausting trying to be a role model, a mental health success when really mental health doesn’t have a miracle cure. It isn’t like a bad cold and shouldn’t be treated as such, you can’t just take some medicine and it’ll all be fine, because it will always be there. For me it’s accepting this that has made my version of recovery a lot easier.
Having bad days, like today, is necessary to keep that motivation which pushes me to stay on top of my health. Be it through changing my lifestyle, incorporating positive changes or trying new alternative medicines. Not looking for that miracle cure, but something that will make my anxiety easier to live with long term.
Listening to other people’s stories can be so inspirational and I applaud anyone who has made steps in their life to become a better person. But it’s not always a realistic path that everyone can take. And while I continue to try and quieten my anxiety once more, I take pride in those little wins that just a short while ago seemed impossible.
Today has been one of those days. But I still brushed my teeth this morning, I spoke to my friends and I went outside.
And that to me is progress.