I think Mental Health Awareness Week is extremely important. Just as with keeping your body healthy, I think that it is just as important to keep your mind healthy. I have recently blogged about my experiences of parents being judged in everyday life but I realise that most people are criticised in some way on an almost daily basis. I have known more than enough people that have been able to brush off comments like the ones I described in the post. Unfortunately though, sometimes things like this can get too much and seem like a never ending stream of negativity.
I have known friends and family members suffer mental health issues due to stress at work, as a result of being in emotionally and physically abusive relationships, because of being bullied as a child as well as those suffering from Post Natal Depression. Many of these people kept their issues and thoughts secret as they didn’t want to ‘bother’ friends and family, others didn’t want to worry anybody else and some thought that they could deal with it all on their own. I have found that people I know, do not usually admit to having any mental health issues unless someone starts a conversation about it. When you feel alone and like no one understands how you are feeling, having even just one person notice that there is something on your mind or sharing their own experiences can make a huge difference to someone feeling low.
Even if Mental Health Awareness Week gets just a few people thinking more about how to improve your own and others’ mental health, I think that is a great thing. Tweeting positive things each day made me feel wonderful. Getting bogged down with everyday stresses meant that sometimes I had forgotten to think of the positives as much. Spending each day considering what I would like to tweet has helped me a lot in this area. I started off thinking, what makes me feel happy and positive? I must admit that although I often try to stay positive, I have moments (such as lately) when everything seems overwhelming and rubbish.
Trying to juggle being a single parent, keeping up with my three jobs whilst also being a stay at home mum, making nearly all of our meals and snacks from scratch due to our food intolerances, looking after the dog, house and garden, worrying about money, getting everyone where they need to be on time and trying to maintain friendships as well as see family regularly on very little sleep each night IS overwhelming. I feel that tweeting positives each day has helped me to re-focus. I feel that it is what I have needed to stop me feeling as anxious. Stopping and considering what makes me happy generally has led onto me tweeting more than once per day. On 11th May, I wondered what on earth I would write. On 13th May, I had so many things I wanted to type that I had to hold back a bit from flooding my timeline!
There are so many things to be positive about. I am very lucky to have wonderful family and friends. I am so lucky to have one job, let alone three and to also be able to stay at home to care for my children most of the time. I am also fortunate that I absolutely love all of my jobs and enjoy every moment of them. I am glad that I make our food from raw ingredients as I feel it is healthier for us (and we don’t get ill). I love our house and garden and it makes me feel good when I’ve been able to tend to it, especially when the children help me. We are very fortunate to have a dog, who does like lots of fuss. After having a stressful time lately, focussing on the positives has made me re-evaluate things. I think it is natural that everybody has times when they are feeling down or overwhelmed. I believe that some people need a little bit of help to know how to bring themselves out of feeling low now and again.
Knowing someone cares or that someone is aware that you are feeling overwhelmed can be the thing that lifts someone’s mood. I think everyone needs to be aware of mental health issues. Not everyone shows that they are having problems. Maybe you could be the one to start the conversation if you are aware that someone is struggling? Maybe you could be the person to ask, “How are you today?” and to make them feel like you actually want to listen to the answer and not just a, “Yeah, I’m alright,” as you’ve only asked out of politeness. Maybe you could be the one that asks about the positive things in their life? Simplyhealth have written a blog post about five steps to get you on your way to positive thinking that could help if you are needing a boost.