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Today is Time to Talk day in England. “24 hours in which to start conversations about mental health, raise awareness and share the message that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, neither is talking about it.”
I’ve had mixed feelings about this. It’s good. It gets people talking about mental health. And openness is one of the best things we can ever due to challenge stigma and to increase the numbers of people who reach out and get help.
But at the same time it somehow doesn’t quite sit right with me. We shouldn’t need a day to talk about mental health. We should be talking about it as often as it is needed, and I for one sure do.
But I recognise that Time to Talk is ultimately a good thing.
But leaving that aside – here’s me talking. Not about mental health in general. But in me. My main challenge perhaps will be to keep it from just being a rant / moan, but if it is then so be it.
One of the things that pisses me off is how external appearances can be so fucking deceiving. I had a lovely friend to stay a couple of weeks ago. It felt like she never stopped telling me how amazing my life was. I had ‘a lovely flat in a lovely city and had a career I loved, and oh Amanda, your life is so amazing, it is so wonderful, it is just brilliant, I’m so happy for you, because you have this wonderful life, and it’s so amazing’.’
And now I’m starting to think ‘Oops, I gave her this blog link, and she may read that’, but hey it’s #TimeToTalk day. That friend is a lovely person, and this is not about her. It’s about how people see external things and judge what your life is like, and how much better or worse you do or don’t have it based on those external factors. When all I want to do is shout out ‘Do you have any fucking clue what it actually feels like in my head?’
Because mental health isn’t about the external things in a person’s life. It’s about how it feels in a person’s head.
And I feel ok and good but shit and happy but sad and tired and motivated and exhausted and worthless and confident and ambitious and shite and defeated and hopeful and hopeless and worthless and determined.
I can feel good feelings while feeling a million bad feelings too.
I can use my determination to achieve things with my life yet still feel as shit as I did when I was most unwell.
I can function well yet be falling apart inside.
Please don’t judge me by the external things I let you see and please don’t make assumptions about my life if you can’t feel what it feels like in my head.
We talk about mental health. Great. Talking about mental health has made so much difference in my life. Not just in terms of training people about mental health. But talking myself.
When I first started talking about my mental health problems what surprised me most of all was how it appeared to make people comfortable enough to disclose issues in return. Which seemed to let me – and them – know that I wasn’t alone .
And that’s a good thing.
On paper I’m doing better than I was a few years back. But in many, many ways I’m not. I want to get the right help to help me be as well as I can be. I recognise that I am the one who needs to do most of the work to get myself as well as I can be. But I still need help. And to be fucking honest the battle to get any actual helpful help right now feels bigger than the issues that I’m trying to deal with.
And if it’s time to talk I’ll be honest and say that while I still feels suicidal sometimes the one thing that has most often resulted in me having suicidal thoughts is the difficulties of trying to get any actually helpful professional help. The poor communication from them. The lack of care. The frustrations. The nothingness.
And it’s dealing with that shit that makes me most often think ‘this is too fucking hard’. And then I tell myself ‘well, who needs them anyway. I can keep myself well’.
But it’s not about keeping myself well. It’s about me trying to be all I can be, and needing help with it. An actually good psychiatrist who I had last year, (who turned out to be a locum) got it right when he said ‘yes, you’re doing better than you used to be, but there’s still so much that is stopping you reach your full potential’.
So when I have the thoughts that the fact that it seems impossible to get any actually helpful professional help is just way too fucking hard, and they just make me worse, well when the thoughts of ‘I can do it without them’ start… I think, yes, I can live a good life… but there’s things in life I want… a family of my own being just one example… that I feel I have a long way to go before I get to that point… I have a lot of work to do… and I can’t do it on my own… but I can’t seem to get any help… and while I enjoy my career and the things in life I love… I want to have the life that I should have… I want to be ok… and I need help… but I can’t get it.
And it’s not just about needing help to be all I can be – life is so fucking hard – a million times harder than I could actually describe. I am better than I was when I was more unwell, but that’s mostly down to me. But in my mind it feels almost as hard as ever. I just want things to be easier. I just want a little support.
I feel lucky that I can go into professional mode and do a pretty fucking amazing job and can still achieve great things in my career. If I didn’t have that I honestly don’t even know where I’d be right now.
I am taking control of my mental health. I have things I’m going to do. But I’m still managing a serious mental illness that I have plenty of symptoms of, and it’s fucking hard, and feeling like I’m doing it all on my own without professional support makes it so much worse. Oh they say that I can ring up and talk to a stranger if I’m really struggling. Well, talking to a stranger generally is something which is unhelpful for me… never mind the fact that there’s no support unless I get to the point where I am practically critically unwell. Fuck that.
And I’m pissed off by how hard everything is. How much I’m trying and I know I’m getting somewhere very, very slowly… but I’m pissed off by how hard the seemingly smallest things still feel, and fuck it, by a few dozen other symptoms too, but I don’t need to go into all the symptoms.
What I want to know is when do things stop being so fucking hard… and how?
Oh and another thing what I fucking hate is when I try to get help when I need it, and I’m practically told ‘there’s people who are much more unwell’. Ok thanks for telling me that, good to know.
And they’ve no fucking idea how much effort i put in to managing my mental wellbeing. Well, the result is that I end up with no helpful help. Yeah, great.
But it’s not just about professional help. Or lack of it .
It’s about me. Nothing else but me. And I so wish that it wasn’t still all so hard.
Not proofreading this. So if it’s a mess, please don’t judge me as being a bad writer. I’m just offloading and putting it out there, don’t really want to read anything back.
Back in July 2011 when I was very mentally unwell I remember sitting down with my CPN and writing out some goals. Short term, medium term and long term.
On the long-term goals I stated ‘I want to make something good come out of what I’ve experienced. I don’t know how or when I will do this, but I will’.
Little would I imagine that 2.5 years later I’d have set up a successful mental health training business, having trained in hundreds in the skills to help someone with a mental health problem. That I’d also have set up two peer support groups which have helped dozens, and helped people through writing this blog.
I feel like I’ve done nothing more than follow my heart, so when I step back and think about what I’ve achieved it it actually surprises me.
I had a desire to make good come from my experiences – to make beauty from pain - and that’s what I’ve done.
But lately I’ve been thinking – what about my beauty from pain?
Most of the things I’ve done are focused on helping other people. What about me?
Now don’t get me wrong – all of these things that help other people also help me more than I could ever even begin to describe.
But… now is the time to focus on me.
The last year in particular – since I set up my business – I know there has not been nearly enough time for me. I’ve told myself that that’s natural with any new business in its first year. But I’ve seen it become a successful business, and I now need to step back and focus more on me.
Beauty from pain is about making good things come out of my experiences. But I need good things to come out of it for me too. Not just in terms of a great career, doing things I love – but I want to use those experiences to help me really achieve the things I deserve in life.
There are many different definitions of mental health recovery. Every individual ultimately needs to define for themselves what recovery means to them.
For me: recovery means living the life I’m meant to live, regardless of the presence or absence of the symptoms of any mental illness.
The life I’m meant to live – what does that mean? For me, it’s simply a case of ‘What life does Amanda O’Connell want to have?’ Can I achieve that? Whether or not I can, I am not going to let my mental illness hold me back from doing so.
Every day is still so much fucking harder than I could ever even begin to describe to anyone. I’m not sure anyone really truly gets that, given what I achieve, and what I choose to others.
But, hard or not, I’m going to give it my my best shot.
Career wise I know I’m doing what I was born to do. I have so much more to come career wise, but I’m very much on the right path.
But my life is so much more than a career. There are many things I want in life. My own family, children, a nice home, good friends… I want do achieve these things.
My mental illness is holding me back with some of these at the moment. Very much so. But now is my time to work on these issues. To make my beauty from pain.
2013 was new business. 2014 is continuing and expanding that business but focusing on me also. Helping me be all I can be.
I don’t completely know how I will do this.
I know that despite my mental illness very much still affecting my life there is basically no support from mental health services right now. Or at least nothing which doesn’t just cause me more problems.
So right now I’m reminding myself that I am my own best mental health worker, and always will be.
I could let the fact that there is no helpful help hold me back. Or I can choose to become all I can be, despite that lack of help. And that is what I am doing.
I will also speak out and aim to get the right help for me.
I will look beyond the traditional support services and determine what else other services can help me be all I can be.
I will remember that just because I am very functional professionally does not mean I am ok personally.
I need to do most of the work myself, but I am not naive enough to think I can do it all on my own.
Right here, right now, I am making a commitment to myself. I am choosing to put me first. After all, if I don’t… who will?
I am choosing to make my own beauty from pain.
I almost called this ‘finding my own beauty from pain’. But it’s not something out there that I can go out and ‘find’. It’s something within me. It’s something that is a work in progress. It’s something that I – and only I – can make happen. I not only can but I also will.
Here’s to the next stage of beauty from pain.
Trigger – talk of suicide
So, I mentioned in some recent blog posts that I’ve been struggling mentally lately. Hey, I always struggle mentally to some degree. But I seem to be struggling more recently than I have in a long time.
There will have been several contributing factors to this, but the main outcome was that I felt (and still, to some degree feel) like I am getting as unwell as I was a few years back.
I’m not but it doesn’t stop me feeling like I am, and it’s not nice.
One of the things I noticed was my feelings regarding suicide changing. Back in July 2011 I made a concrete decision that ‘I will never die by suicide’. I still stand by that 100%. Yet I noticed thoughts creeping in of ‘if I were to get as unwell as I was a few years back, I just don’t think I could take it’. Leading to suicidal thoughts, which lead to thoughts of plans… and it’s strange how the thought patterns can change so easily. But in a way, those thoughts can be like a comfort blanket sometimes.
The last two nights – 30th December and 31st December – I had two really good night outs with friends. Those two nights have lifted me a little. Despite the fact that both evenings motivating myself to go was shit hard. My mind wanted to isolate, to curl up, to just hide away. But I made myself go. And I’m glad I did.
I don’t really believe in New Years resolutions. I believe that New Year is just a change of date, and doesn’t need to mean any more than that. I believe that if we want to do make a resolution to do something or change something, we should do that at any moment of the year. What difference does that number at the end of the date really make to us making resolutions about our life?
I do make ‘resolutions’ all the time. I’m continually working on my life, on me, on my mental health and my business. I, and my life, are a work in progress, and I’m constantly changing and developing.
So the new year means little for me in terms of new year resolutions. But I realised last night that it did mean something more to me.
As the clock struck midnight my friends and I did a countdown. Then we cheered Happy New Year to each other, hugged each other, etc.
At that moment, I was filled with a lovely, lovely feeling. A feeling of ‘Fuck, I did it. I made it another year, and it feels wonderful.’
It may not seem like a big deal. But it was an emotional moment for me. It’s another upside of what I’ve experienced. I attempted suicide three times in 2011. I didn’t think I would be alive here today. Being alive is really, really tough sometimes. Sometimes I don’t want to have to do it anymore. But I’m glad I’m alive. And those moments of ‘I didn’t think I’d be here today, but I am, and it feels bloody great’ are truly wonderful.
Most people won’t get to experience that feeling, which is what I mean about it being an upside of what I’ve experienced.
In that moment, at midnight last night, I made a realisation: I want to feel that feeling again. I want to start 2015 thinking ‘Yes, I did it. I made another year!’
So I’m making a pledge to myself for 2014. My pledge for 2014 is that:
I will not take my own life in 2014.
That may not seem like a big deal. After all, I made a decision in July 2011 to never die by suicide. But given how I have been feeling lately, that pledge to myself for 2014 is a big deal for me.
And how will I achieve this?
Using the same old strategies that have always worked for me.
- Taking each day as it comes, and each day taking a ‘I will not do it today’ approach and
- Continuing to be ‘My own best mental health worker‘. Regardless of how much professional support I have – or don’t have – I will always be the one who is most able to help myself. I will continually work at being my own best mental health worker, and managing my mental health as best I can.
So here’s to 2014, and to feeling that wonderful feeling as I ring in 2015!
Just got emailed the 2013 Beauty from Pain Blog annual report.
It’s been a much quieter year for the blog – probably something to do with investing most of my energies into setting up and running a new business, while looking after my own mental health too.
But all in all, it’s not been a bad wee year for the blog. To me, it’s not about statistics, number of views, number of countries it was read in… or any of that shite. That’s not why I’m in it.
I’m in it to make a difference, and have always taken the stance that if what I do makes a difference to even one person, that’s what matters.
While it was ultimately a twitter initiative, #DearMentalHealthProfessionals was my personal highlight of my social media year, as it was something that did make a difference to many.
Thanks for being part of Beauty from Pain Blog in 2013. Looking forward to lots more great things in 2014!
Happy New Year
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
My head hasn’t been in a particularly good way lately. I’m not sure how much I want to say about this.
I’m not sure of why it’s not been in a great way. But I know several possible reasons, which will have a combined impact. An obvious reason is Christmas, yet I didn’t react so badly to Christmas last year. It’s several other things.
And I don’t really want to write about it. Not publicly anyhow. The reasons aren’t all that relevant. It’s how I manage it that is.
For me, feeling alone with it is quite a contributing factor. Because ultimately I do feel I am coping with this alone. There is no real actual helpful professional support, and there’s no one offline who I feel really gets it, and there is of course the part of me that wouldn’t want to bother anyone else anyway.
My head gets so clouded. It happened Friday night late. Thoughts spinning non-stop. Me catastrophising to the point where, in my mind, I am as unwell as I ever was at my worst point. And I try to figure out how to manage it. What will help. But the more I tried to figure it out, the more the thoughts spinned round. Negative thoughts. Over analysing. And so on… And it happened tonight again. A mind in chaos – much greater chaos than it is in reality, but my mind spinning into chaos just makes it more chaotic.
Ok, I’m rambling…
I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s scary and worse that it probably actually sounds. And I couldn’t make sense of how to just stop it. How to just calm. How to just get through it so things didn’t keep escalating further in my mind.
And then it hit me…
Mental health first aid - I’m a trained mental health first aider. Why not use those skills on myself? Mental health first aid isn’t about being a mental health professional – but about providing some initial help until professional help is provided (if required).
I know enough about mental health first aid to do this for myself. And that’s what I’m going to do here.
Aside: I probably know a little more than the average mental health first aider, since I’m also an instructor, having trained over 300 in mental health first aid this year. I need to point out that you don’t become a mental health first aider by reading about the five steps – there’s much more to it than that. That’s definitely not me plugging the course or me as an instructor – I’m actually professionally bound to point out that you don’t learn MHFA from reading about the five steps. I invest a lot of time in advertising, but writing a blog post applying the steps of mental health first aid to myself is not quite a sensible form of advertising
Yes, mental health training is my profession. But it’s like another side of me that does that. The professional me. A completely different side from the side of me that struggles. And the side of me that struggles doesn’t make the other side of me any less able to be a good mental health trainer and business manager.
I needed to put that out there, as people who don’t know me, may assume otherwise. I’ve lived my life for long enough to know me and know that that is definitely the case. I know that, for me, my mental health stuggles make me more able to do those other things. Then again, there’s a part of me that things – hey this is business, and there are competitors… so is this level of openness a good idea. But my work speaks for itself, so I’m giving myself some reassurance, and letting that go…
Ok, way too much rambling, I could’ve just said ‘strictly professional blog post, seperate from anything professional’ but typical me using a thousand words when ten will do
The give steps of Mental Health First Aid are:
1. Ask about suicide
2. Listen non-judgementally
3. Give reassurance and information
4. Encourage professional help
5. Encourage self-help strategies
So… Dear Amanda, from your Mental Health First Aider….
Mental health first aid is not usually done in any specific order. Although in reality listening is really usually the first step. After all, you need to be listening to signs in order to spot that something is wrong. I’ve been listening which is why I’m applying the steps of mental health first aid… why I am trying to help you (myself).
But for simplicity I am going to talk through those steps in that order.
1. Ask about suicide
In this case, Amanda, I don’t need to ask if you are having thoughts of suicide. I am you. I am in your mind. I know your thoughts.
This step isn’t necessarily asking about suicide. It’s often just a reminder to watch out for indicators of suicidal thoughts.
I know you’ve had suicidal thoughts lately. But they’ve been almost like a comfort blanket, yeah?
I know you blogged before about how you still feel suicidal sometimes. But that’s just part of how you are. And it’s managing those thoughts that’s important.
But… in that blog post you wrote that you had made a clear decision in July 2011 that you would never die by suicide. I’ve noticed your thought processes have changed lately. Somewhere deep down you still stand by that decision. Yet quite often lately you’ve felt at risk of getting as unwell as you were a few years ago. It’s a big fear right now. And I’ve noticed your thoughts changing from ‘I won’t ever die by suicide’, to ‘I decided I won’t ever die by suicide, yet thinking back to when I was that unwell, I really don’t think I have it in me to go through that again’. And that naturally leads to suicidal thoughts. I’ve noticed other thoughts along that line creeping in.
I would really like you to pay attention to those thoughts, Amanda. They’re early warning signs for you. Act now, before they escalate. I’d like you to tell a professional about those thoughts, and I’d really like you to take note of what else I say in this post.
And please also take note of any other thoughts related to suicide creeping in. Write them down.Because a thought will slip in and you might not even notice it.And then later you’ll remember and think further about it… and on past experience that can easily escalate to plans… because it’s a form of escapaism… but it’s a slippery path.
So watch for thoughts…note them, and get help before they become more than thoughts.
Ah, listening non-judgmentally.
Listening? Not a problem. (ish).
Non-judgmentally? A whole other kettle of fish. It’s hard being non-judgmental towards yourself, isn’t it? Something a lot of people would probably identify with, but I suspect I am my own worst enemy.
I’m here applying the skills I teach to myself, yet I give myself a harder time than I would ever even think about giving any other person.
Judging myself, my thoughts, situations, my behaviours, my relationships… everything. I suspect we all do it to some degree, but I seem to be quite a fan of it!
So I’m not going to tell you (me) to just stop doing it. If only it could be that easy, yeah?
I may give you suggestions. But they’re only that – suggestions. Which you can only just try. Don’t give yourself a hard time if they don’t have an impact. That will only result in you giving yourself a hard time for not succeeding at some work you were doing that had the aim of reducing how much of a hard time you give yourself! Ok, even I’ve confused myself a little there.
Non-judgmental? You’re generally good at being non-judgmental towards other people. So, apply a little of that to yourself. I would like you to work at catching yourself when you do the judging – whatever it might be. And ask yourself, ‘what would I say to another person in this situation?’ Write down the answer, and try to apply this to yourself.
Also, a lot of reassurance (next step),will be really crucial in developing a less judgmental approach towards yourself. And some positive self-talk – but we’ll come to that later.
Also, remember this booklet on self-compassion? I know you did some work on it and found it helpful. When you’re ready, and if you think you would find it helpful, it might be worth having a look over again? I’m not sure if the opposite of self-judgmental is self-compassion, but it would have to be pretty close. I know having compassion towards yourself if hard, so for that reason, it is maybe something you need to go back to actively working on.
The listening bit? Just thinking. When your mind feels so chaotic, writing could be really helpful. Listening to those thoughts – listening to your mind – is important. But it’s hard to listen – really listen – when it feels so chaotic, so writing would be helpful. To help you really make sense of what’s going on in your mind.
And remember, although you like to share your writing, in the hope it can help others, your writing can be personal to you too.
Giving reassurance and information
This is a tough one. Because I know that so, so often what you most need is to get reassurance from others. But not just anybody. People who know you well enough to give that reassurance (otherwise it feels like empty words). Yet it never really seems to be there.
I’m not sure people generally realise quite how helpful reassurance can be. And it’s not quite like you can just walk up to them and say ‘hey, please give me some reassurance’.
So, I, am giving you some reassurance.
The first reassurance that I want to give you, Amanda, is that reassurance from me is as meaningful as any reassurance that anyone else could give. Yes, I know, external reassurance feels different, more real. But, remember, you know yourself better than anyone else could ever know you. You’re there for yourself 24 / 7. Reassurance from yourself means a lot.
I want to reassure you that I know how hard you try each and every day. When talking about listening non-judgmentally I mentioned something about ‘not succeeding’. But then I remembered the advice you give to others: ‘If you try, and you do your best, you can’t fail. Because all you can ever do is your best. No-one can ever do any more than their best, so how can doing the best you can do equal failing’?
Yeah, it might like a failure sometimes if what you are doing doesn’t have the desired results. But life isn’t that simple. Emotions aren’t that simple. Mental health isn’t that simple. Just keep trying your best every day. It’s all anyone could ask of you.
There is so, so much I could give you reassurance of.
The most important one I can think of is that no matter how it feels, you are not getting really unwell like you were a couple of years back. I’m not going to spend a lot of time reassuring you. Because, in the moment, it still feels that way. But let me just say one thing. The fact that you’re sitting here writing this to yourself? That in itself is a sign, isn’t it, that things are quite different from how they were a few years back. You have so many skills you didn’t have then. So much knowledge. You might feel like things are going that way again. But trust me, you aren’t.
Encouraging professional help
Ok, I know this is a tricky one. I know this is something that has contributed to how you are mentally right now. The lack of helpful professional help.
I know there is the argument that the system is shit and we have to make do with what we can get. I know you don’t agree with that necessarily. I know that, for you, it’s a case of identifying whether the ‘help’ offered is actually really helpful.
There is so much I could write on this one. It would probably all fall more under the ‘give reassurance and information’ category, and I think you already know it already.
But what professional help do I want to encourage.
- Remember that professional who was going to get in touch with information before Christmas? Your mind is telling you that because she didn’t get back in touch before Christmas, like she said she would, this means she doesn’t give a shit. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t. Your mind also tells you you were just another name on a list she didn’t get to. Maybe. But it still doesn’t mean, she doesn’t give a shit. I was going to suggest giving her a few days to see if she gets in touch, and then contacting her. But that will be 1st and 2nd January, and they will be closed. Thinking about it – are you actually urgently needing that information? Can it wait till week of 6th January?
- But I know you also do feel the need to make a GP appointment. You wanted to write down some stuff that you felt they needed to know, and give it in to GP. GP not the ideal person, but you want to hand it in to someone in person, and you’ve identified that you can’t see the mental health team in person… so the idea of writing that and giving it in to GP to ask them to pass it on is a good idea. Please make that appointment tomorrow morning. I think you know it will help, and at least you will feel like you are doing something.
- I know it’s frustrating that they just want you to ring up and speak to a stranger in the mental health team, and that is ‘unhelpful help’, that you can’t quite do at the moment. I know you think they’ll be critical of your approach. So if you do write down what you want them to know, then please head it up by explaining why. And remember, you are doing the best you can with what you’ve got.
- And remember, that’s the NHS stuff. There are other ‘professional helps’. Samaritans text helps you a lot. I know you have found their responses somewhat frustrating lately. But that may be more to do with where you are at, and how you are feeling. Remember, how much you found them to help in the past. And if they help even a little that’s something that is worth keeping doing.
- You wanted to try Breathing Space, and I know that based on how you were feeling the night you rang you couldn’t quite speak and hung up. That’s ok. Remember, you tried, and that’s great. But remember, that was one time. The fact that you tried at all shows that you did think it could be helpful. So no harm in trying again? If you don’t quite manage it, that’s ok. It’s all in the trying!
- There are other professional supports I can think of – but that’s probably plenty to keep you busy for now
Encourage self-help strategies
Oh, the good old-self help strategies. Taking a moment, Amanda, to remind you that no matter what supports you have, or don’t have, you are your own best mental health worker. You are best able to help yourself. Remembering that is crucial.
I feel like you do continual work every day to manage your mental health using self-help strategies… but to me, it all seems a bit hap-hazard. I’d never say that to anyone else in a mental health first aid situation, but since I am you, I’ll let it go this time
You wrote a long time ago about the importance of planning. You do love a good old spreadsheet. A bit of organisation goes a long way
I remember also in the past, when you had little professional support, you wrote about making appointments with yourself. This is a good thing to do, no matter how much professional support you have.
You are the one managing your own mental health – nobody else. So appointments with yourself can be really beneficial.
Based on where your mind is at at the moment, I’m going to recommend 3 appointments with yourself this week. But they don’t have to be long appointments. Checking in and planning, they’re the key bits.
So make appointments now with yourself. Put them in your diary now.
In your first appointment, tomorrow, read back over this, and decide which bits you are going to focus on (you can’t do everything), and when you are going to do them.
I know there is a conflict in your mind at the moment. You know interacting and going out and doing fun stuff is important and could be helpful. But at the moment you mostly want to isolate. Because you know that the way your mind is interpreting things at the moment, some situations may make your mind worse. But… if you go out you may just have a good time, and feel better. If you stay in, and cancel these plans, that’s unlikely to happen.
Be nice to you this week. That’s another thing to maybe do in tomorrow’s appointment with yourself – identify how you could be nice to yourself this week. (by the way, being nice to yourself does not equal spending all week doing the accounts!).
I also know that your mind is itching to get back to work. As a focus. I’m not going to say don’t go back to work this week. But if you do, I want you to plan out a maximum of 2 – 3 hours each day, and stick to those.
One thing I think may be worth practicing is some positive self-talk. If we hear something often enough we start to believe it. Just like if we hear something negative often enough we can start to believe it. The same can work for positive self-talk. Have a think about that. It does work
Again, so many self-help strategies. And it’s late. If this was a mental health first aid situation for another person I would definitely not be going through all the five steps like this and giving the person this mountain of information. I am you and this is a different situation. But that’s why I’m thinking I’m going to stop at this point.
The idea is not to give you (me) a mountain of information. But to apply the five steps of mental health first aid to myself – ‘what would I say to myself using the five steps?’ But now I’ve got to actually follow my own advice.
The important bit is to print this out . Highlight relevant bits to work on. What is going to help the most right now? On the other hand, some bits will sound like complete nonsense because it’s so late. (Not really, remember you wrote this yourself – and you know best!)
It’s getting late now and I’m going to leave it at that. But remember, you are actually doing great, even if you can’t see it.
I would normally read back over my posts. Proofread etc. Check it all makes sense. I’m letting it go tonight. This one is for me. I’m sharing in case there’s anything in it that helps anyone else. But it’s primarily for me.
Time for some sleep and tomorrow it’s about implementing this and following my own advice. If you did read on this far, I hope there might be something here that is helpful for you… and of course, that there is something in my own advice that is helpful for me