Mental Health Awareness: One Size Does Not Fit All
I remember that evening quite distinctly. It was a balmy April. The year was 2017. But it feels like yesterday; a yesterday I’d give everything I have to never ever have to return to! Because that was the April my mind began undergoing its third fracture.
It was the beginning of the darkest hour I’d witnessed yet. You’d think that after being sucker-punched twice, I’d know the drill. Guess what?
I didn’t. No one does May is Mental Health Awareness Month
A month after that evening, I’d have the then therapist slam a metaphorical door on my face leaving me with only one option: to turn inwards and do ‘whatever it takes’ (which felt less cinematic than The Avengers: Endgame). A year after that door slam, I’d find the nerve to share publicly on my blog what managing my mental health issues since 2015 had taught me
Two years after clicking this teacup stain in the sky, I am reminded:
of the SELF-WORK it has taken and continues to take to show up for myself and overwrite older self-defeating narratives;
to SELF-PARENT on the days I need that tough love;
to practice SELF-CARE even when it’s convenient to slip into maladjusted behaviours that govern the very neural pathways I’ve begun to alter…
The crusade wages on I’m not at war with myself BUT with elements that enabled circumstances to birth a fractured mind!
I can’t mention The Endgame without quoting it: “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be. A measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” HASHTAG: Whatever it takes
I stopped being who I thought I was supposed to be I’m being me And more importantly, I’m being me …for me
Third time’s a charm?
I brag that I’ve seen Hell’s floor-plan not once but THRICE. It was my mind’s third fracture in 2017 (which lasted a “good” eight months) that shifted something else simultaneously on the inside. Somehow I knew that an overhaul was the only antidote to the repeated mind fractures.
It’s like my own inner floor-plan quaked. But I didn’t have a plan. There was neither the luxury of time nor the privilege of sanity to put a plan together. So I had to do what came intuitively to me: I began to get better at truly listening to myself
In my impatience and immaturity, I’ve previously guffawed when someone’s said that the answers always lie within as it didn’t make any sense of my Ego. It took the quietening of the Ego to get better at listening to myself and discovering the answers I’d been seeking
Turns out, the first thing that happens when you start truly listening to yourself is that you detect an inner-a$$hole who needs to be sent on a vaccay with a one-way ticket!
That’s when the self-talk began to improve And that repaired and restored some self-respect From which emerged an understanding of the need for self-protection by creating + enforcing healthy boundaries And, in turn, this challenged older beliefs of self-worth and strengthened the concept of self-confidence
I’d like to reiterate that all of the above has been a process and nothing remotely about it has been as clean and linear as it may sound
P.S.: I still don’t understand why self-talk and the stories we tell ourselves do not receive the importance they deserve!
Statutory Warning: One size does not fit all
I intentionally don’t write and share posts about programs or therapies or alternative approaches to improving/healing/curing. Because… No two mental health issues/illnesses are alike. No two individual’s ability and/or approach towards their mental health issues/illnesses can be alike. Adopting a random-person-on-the-internet’s “solution” to one’s own situation is far from wise. At best, one can understand the process and/or the journey of another. Nothing more (IMHO). Because one size does not fit all!
I had to spend ENOUGH time: – acquainting myself with Dysthymia and Anxiety – understanding them both, while – working with, not against or for them I needed to name-without-shame Dysthymia and Anxiety before I could de-personalise my own identity from it
So that, in turn, I could: – understand the triggers – notice the red flags – design+build+operate+maintain my very own early warning system
That’s how I’ve been able to shift gears from focussing on mental illness to mental wellness. That’s how I’ve been building resilience
I’ve been robbed of myself once and watched everything I thought I was made of on the inside slip away quicker than quicksand for a full three years. It’s taken me a year and a half to acknowledge that while I’m not who I used to once be, I’m not limited or defined anymore by what I was reduced to either!
At my darkest, I’d come across this line: “You’ve got what it takes but it’ll take everything you’ve got”. I have lived through an experience that’s taught me the full import of that statement.
I have my own brand of normal now I have my own brand of selfhood now I have grown through what I’ve gone through I’m ready to thrive!
P.S.: May is Mental Health Awareness Month