10 Mental Health insights that changed my life.
When I first realised that my mental health was causing me problems, I had no idea what anything meant. I didn't understand what symptoms were, what my emotions and thoughts meant and in a nutshell, I was just one big confused, overwhelmed mess.
Over time, a lot of therapy and researching as much as I can into mental health and personal development, I became insightful into many different concepts and truths.
I have chosen 10 to share with you today in the hopes of alerting you to discover your own insights and maybe provide you with a few new ones that will open you up to bettering your own mental health.
1. Your feelings are valid.
There is only YOU that experiences your emotions, no one else will ever truly understand what goes on inside of you because they are themselves, not you.
Everything you feel is valid- happiness, sadness, anger, shame, compassion, whatever emotion it may be. You are allowed to have whatever emotion you encounter in whatever situation, there is no right or wrong way to feel. It's what you do with that emotion that determines what follows.
2. Even the closest people to you will never fully understand what you are going through.
When you are struggling, sometimes you just want people to understand why you are in torment, how you are feeling or why you are behaving the way you are. It can be frustrating for both you and them.
The truth is that no one can ever truly understand what is going on inside you because they are not the ones experiencing it, you are.
Your family and friends can only understand how they are seeing you, your mental health from their own experience, not yours.
It works the same way as 'you can only control yourself, not others around you' In order to help those close to you understand a little better, you have to communicate.
3. In order for therapy to be effective, you have to be willing to change.
Therapy can be challenging, simply because you are allowing a stranger to see you in a vulnerable state. But if you go into it with an open mind, you will reap the rewards.
For a lot of people, therapy will touch some raw nerves, but it is only through doing the deep inner work, where true freedom will come. Masking our problems with external influences is just a sticking plaster.
You must have heard the stories about couples trying for a baby because they believe it will mend their marriage?
This is utter bull sh*t. What will really mend their marriage is communication, real, deep, truthful communication between those two people of what they are thinking, feeling and want.
Check out my post on 5 Therapy Truths, where I reveal 5 things you need to know before starting any form of therapy. Even if you are currently in therapy and struggling, learning about these 5 truths might just release insight within you.
4. You are the primary person who can heal yourself.
Going into therapy with a belief that a therapist will 'fix' you will only dishearten and disappoint because a therapist will not fix you, only you can change your situation.
The purpose of those around you is to support and facilitate your mental health recovery.
Even if you are not in mental health recovery and are simply trying to fix a problem in your life, others can offer advice and maybe assist in an external way, but ultimately you have to take control of your inner self.
You have to make the conscious decision to make a change and be willing to take action.
You cannot just sit there and let others do the work, it will accomplish nothing. You have to act mentally and emotionally in order to begin any form of transformation.
5. Acceptance is key.
If something is problematic, a trauma has occurred or you have been diagnosed with a condition, nothing will shift until you accept it.
Once you have accepted the situation, you can begin to move forward, otherwise, you are simply rooting yourself in the past.
Denial creates suffering, simple as.
Acceptance does not have to mean that you have 'given in' or 'that you have failed'. Acceptance is whatever you make it. I believe acceptance is a sign of courage, of strength because you are owning what is happening and taking charge.
6. Keep your friends and family close.
Do not push those that love you the most away- you will find out that all they want to do is help.
Talk to the people you trust the most. Sometimes it can be scary because you may fear that you will hurt them by telling them what is going on for you. But from personal experience, I have found that even if loved ones don't understand your mental illness or the way you are feeling about a situation, they will try in their own way to help.
More or less, true friends and a loving family will not judge you because they love you too much!
7. Learn as much as you can about your mental health.
Knowledge creates awareness and develops insight.
If you can learn about your diagnosis or the symptoms you are experiencing, be it from a book, a blog post, a youtube video, even an infographic, you are helping yourself.
Not only does learning adapt your knowledge on a topic, but it also allows you to deepen your understanding of yourself. You will be able to connect why you have certain emotions and why you automatically jump from behaviour to behaviour. Learning about yourself can be utterly freeing and create a sense of control which you may only feel from negative coping strategies.
8. When you are in a bad mental state, self-care.
Self-care doesn't have to be about bubble baths or scented candles, it is essentially whatever makes you feel comfort and content (in a healthy manner)
Sometimes, self-care to me is just taking a nap or lying on the sofa with my kindle. It could be making yourself your favourite drink and grabbing a chocolate biscuit or two.
It doesn't have to be extravagant and you don't have to follow all of the 'self-care' lists you find online; whatever makes you feel better is unique to you.
I tend to realise that I need some self- care when my energy levels are really low, so I might just pop Netflix on or read a page in my journal.
It's a case of being your own best friend for however long it takes for you feel that you can physically, mentally and emotionally do something else.
9. Thoughts are only words, they do not have power over you.
I have to remind myself of this ALOT!
Thoughts are sneaky buggers, but once you realise that you are in control of your own thoughts, you can make magic.
Thoughts spontaneously pop into our heads all day- these thoughts we cannot control. It is what we do with that thought that makes a difference to us. Do we attach to it, give it meaning? or do we just acknowledge it and let it go?
Remember, you have power over your thoughts and you can change them so easily. Don't let them take control of you.
10. If you relapse, it's not the end of the world.
It might feel like all your hard work was for nothing and that 'there is no point in trying to recover because I will just relapse again'
The truth is- people relapse. People slip and fall, make mistakes, but people also get back up, wipe the dirt from their knees and tell the mean voice in their head to "do one".
A relapse may mean that you were triggered by something and at that moment you couldn't cope with it, therefore you reverted back to an old behaviour to help you feel safe. You are unconsciously protecting yourself in the best way you currently know how to, so try not to beat yourself up about it and instead recognise that you slipped and start working to get back up. You can do it, we all can!