My Mental Health
I wrote in my last post about having personal goals for the year to go along with career ones. Let's talk about one of those.
The first and most important is mental health. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my early teens. Sometimes it was brief bouts, other were more extended. Back then, I didn't really note them as mental health problems - I was too young, mental health held a higher stigma than it does today and I never spoke much about it. The one thing I did speak about and get help for was Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD has been something I've now dealt with for coming on to 20 years and I've learnt with help from my old school nurse (who first recommended getting a SAD lamp) and my therapist I have been able to keep on top of it most of the time.
However, depression throughout the rest of the year has become more and more prevalent since I hit my 20s. I know the moment when it tipped from being able to keep on top of it, to when it started to really hurt but I don't want to talk about that here. The point is, I've been dealing with this a long time. Last year was a bad year. I had deeper and longer lows. Some of these lows would go for weeks when the only person I spoke aloud to was my therapist. The highs weren't that high and were shorter than ever. Sometimes a high would last a few hours before being hit once again and being down for a few weeks. I had to pull out of going to family events at the last moment because the anxiety of it. I couldn't bring myself to go to my nieces christening. I had to psych myself up to get in the car and drive to my parents place on Christmas Eve.
I'm rambling. I do that when trying to properly express my emotions - I swear my therapist must hate me! Anyway, the point is, last year I had a bad mental health year. The goal for this year is to try and improve things.
I know full well that there isn't a magic switch to have my anxiety and depression disappear. I wish there was - it would make life a hell of a lot easier!
I have no HARD goal for my mental health - I think that would be a mistake. Instead, I have an aim. The aim is to slowly but surely move from deeper and long lows and incredibly short highs to something slightly more, I dunno, manageable? Basically try and find a way to work myself out of the lows quicker and hold on to those highs. My therapist says I need to concentrate on the highs when they come, to focus on them and find ways to take that high forward to the next so that's what I'm trying to do this year.
I wanted to do something to hard reset at the beginning of the year with my improve mental health in mind. So I did one thing and started a few others. First, a took some clippers to my hair. You're probably thinking "What?! Joe that makes no sense whatsoever. How can cutting your hair change anything". It's quite simple, I wanted something a clean start for the new year. This felt like the right thing and it's actually helped me reset as weird as it might seem.
The things I started were pretty simple. I set myself some goals and I started meditation. I've never been one for New Years Resolutions - I think they're too easily thrown away in January. So I set some goals both personal and professional. Meditation is a way for me to try and calm myself, clear my mind and refresh. I currently doing unguided meditation, but my therapist (and others) have recommended guided so I'll be trying that for the first time next week.
So that's it. Some insight into my mental health. Lots of rambling - sorry about that!