Okay, so this week featured World Suicide Prevention Day. I've mentioned before how much I love and appreciate days such as these. Any opportunity to erase or lessen the stigma surrounding mental heath and suicide is wonderful and will always be encouraged by me. I'm just really uncomfortable with how few days like this there are! Days like these make me feel very comfortable with myself, and the things I feel. I hate that the opportunities are so rare. I said the same thing when it was mental health awareness week but I'm going to say it again. It's as though there are these days and weeks throughout the year where it is more socially acceptable to admit that you're struggling with anxiety, depression, and similar conditions.
So this years theme was 'take a minute, change a life'. I thought this was lovely. It puts emphasis on the importance and significance of speaking up, and seeking help. But also on taking more time out to listen to people and support them. It kinda splits the role and I like that. Right from when I was younger and started to struggle with anxiety and self harm (the latter is more applicable to when I was younger), I have had some great people that have been prepared to sit and listen to me for hours if I needed it. I wouldn't have gotten through some pretty strange stages without them (that sounds lame, I know). And some of that advice has carried me through and improved my confidence now. I've said it before but I couldn't have imagined ever being this comfortable talking about things such as mental health. So I am very grateful to the few teachers that made time for me in high school, for my parents, a couple of friends and for Jennifer Niven. That support system was very much needed and integral to my own progress. So I cannot stress enough how important in general listening is. it is so important to make time for the people that you care about. But I'd say even more so with regard to mental health and suicide prevention in particular.
What I really wanted to write about tonight was being kind. I guess to yourself, and to other people. It seems daft to think that such small acts of kindness have the most impact on a person. But it is true, it's the little things. It's somebody checking on you to make sure if you're okay or somebody telling you to be careful on the way home or something. The odd smile whilst on a shift at work, or a brief hug. I don't know. It can be anything. But I know that other people can help and listening is a good thing.
I know that reaching out and asking for help is so so scary. It feels like admitting a weakness. I think it can sometimes come with the same shame that crying in public does. But there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. It is far easier to say that you are 'okay' when things are falling apart. But it is so so important to reach out and ask for help if you need it, and it is okay to need it. It is okay to be falling apart. It's not the best or more desirable feeling in the world. And yet it happens. I know that it's entirely possible to feel weak. But asking for help does not make you so. Reaching out is brave. Admitting you need help is brave. And yet on the flip side of things, it is entirely okay if you don't want to reach out and instead decide to curl up and stay in bed. Your preferred method of dealing with life is okay and nobody should judge you for it. But sometimes people can help.
I wanted to talk about being kind to yourself too. I suppose that there are some smaller things that you can do to be kind to yourself. You can do things for yourself and relax. That's something that gets overlooked I think. Okay, I get that it is really easy to get swept up in... life and that its easy to forget to care for yourself whilst being swept up in it. Things are busy. But seriously where's the harm in running a bath or watching a shitty dvd? There seems to be stigma attached to self love, sometimes. I am really confused by it, despite the fact that I don't practise loving myself enough and I know that. But nonetheless, it is important. I should take more baths and read more. Anyway, being kind to yourself is integral and taking time out of your daily routine to do so is a good thing. I found this post not so long ago, on Instagram. I really like the concept of a person just needing themselves.
Something in particular that has been on my mind lately is the concept of letting things go. So I suppose that this can apply to not judging yourself or being too hard on yourself. I'm not saying being depressed, and feeling sad/anxious or staying in bed is necessarily the best thing. But I do think that it is okay, and it is important to cut yourself a bit of slack if you can. You are not letting yourself down by taking some time out or behaving in a way that seems reasonable to you. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and there is never a wrong time for that decision. So whether you are sad or not, try to either lessen or let go of the negativity that you aim at yourself. I guess what I am saying is that there is no good to be found in putting yourself second.
I guess that not being afraid of let go is really important. And letting go is a luxury I think I've been depriving myself of for too long. I hold on to too many feelings and emotions, surrounding myself and others. But I think I'm afraid of letting go of people too. I know that there are a few people that are still in my life that sometimes cause me a lot of unnecessary heartache. So why have I not walked away? I don't know. Because I have not yet mastered the art of just needing myself. I have convinced myself that I need this other person and maybe in some aspects I do. I know that I like having them around, and that I would miss them if they were gone. I don't know. Thinking too hard about letting go really hurts my head. Because what is the criteria for letting go? I think, although it is complicated, it is a good idea to let go of things that hurt. That do not help a person grow positively. I am having to learn, with the help of friends and family, that change is as good as the rest.
Long story short, what I am trying to say is make decisions surrounding you. Reach out to people if you think you need help. Reaching out, and wanting to be heard is not an act of cowardice. You are so brave for reaching out, or for not reaching out. You are brave for dealing with any form of mental health condition, I think. But at the same time its important to remember that it is okay to rely on people. And remember the small things like taking time out for yourself. It's important to remember the importance of things like chocolate, cookies and food. Sometimes, I think that even admitting you are not okay is an act of self love.
And god, please remember to be kind to others. Listen to them. Pay people compliments! I don't understand why compliments aren't given more. Be sensitive, is the last thing I want to say. Sometimes people are struggling more than they care to admit, and more than they are willing to show. Be mindful and be kind.
Okay, I'm going to end on probably the worst piece of advice. It gets better, no matter what. My favourite author shared a post on facebook this week about preferring 'I am here', over 'I was here' and I couldn't agree more. You're not alone.
I hope that you all sleep well and appreciate this post (I have been writing this thing for a whole week due to working). See you soon guys!