.Anisha discusses our mental health, that there's no shame in admitting you need help, and what you can do if you find yourself in need of a little more support.
You probably know the narrative. Posters, assemblies or even advertisements with some generic slogan like ‘Mental health - we all have it’ or ‘Everyday should be a mental health day’. And whilst these are all true, despite the increasing awareness around mental wellbeing, health and illness, noticing how this manifests itself in different scenarios can be trickier.
Everybody struggles with their mental wellbeing from time to time. Feeling stressed, anxious, having low moods now and then is completely part of being human. However, if these states of mind become prolonged, or reoccur quite regularly, your balance can be skewed pretty quickly. Mental health easily impacts psychological, emotional and physical health. There have been a handful of times where this has happened to me, and a slip into the rabbit hole of poor mental health takes many different forms for different people. Understanding what patterns and triggers there are can be extremely useful, but, of course, we’re not robots. Staying attuned and aligned to ourselves is incredibly important whether life has surprised you with an eruption of unexpected events or if it seems on the surface that nothing much is happening.
But I don’t want this blog to read like a diary for my own morbid catharsis, nor do I want to sound like a patronising complete package deal, on getting the most zen mental state, as if it were some sort of airline holiday. There are so many nuances with each individual, and I’m certainly no expert. Talking about what's on your mind to a friend or somebody close not only alleviates some of what you feel, but encourages others to open up. If you can relate to parts of others’ experiences, it might make you feel less alone. If their experience is a little more unfamiliar, knowing that these sorts of struggles come in all different shapes and forms can be good to know as well. You should never discredit or overlook your own feelings (this is a journey I’m also trying to take!).
Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available to us, both digitally and in-person, due to the increasing awareness of mental wellbeing nowadays. Charities such as mind offer brilliant information, and if you’re part of an educational institution, such as university or school, there will be mental health support for you to access. One of the biggest problems I have when I’m not doing so good is trying to ignore how I’m feeling. Sometimes, through acknowledging and recognising that there’s something not quite right can seem as if you’re making a big deal out of nothing. Many people, myself included, find that it is easier to downplay poor mental health than give it the time and space to be recognised, and, after some time, restored back into a better balance. Pinpointing a problem may seem daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily create an invitation for that state of mind to stay. Rather, it might help the transition to a better frame of mind easier.
There are a myriad of mental health resources available, and lists of things to do which we all probably know off by heart. Drink plenty of water, eat well, go outside etc.. but when things go a little too far, understanding that it might be time to ask for help isn’t something you should feel ashamed or afraid of.
Read of the Month
A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland
This calming read allows you to creep into the powers and potential of silence. In a world full of noise, Maitland uses her autobiographical experiences of solitude and provides insights from mythologies around the world on what silence means, and what it can offer us.
AUTHORAnisha Minocha is studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews, currently living in Andalucía. She is a writer and poet whose work has been showcased in winning competitions, readings and anthologies. She co-edits SINK Magazine, which gives a platform to Northern creatives, and founded the "Roots"" project with Friends of the Earth that looks at the intersections between South Asian identity and ecology. Twitter: @anisha_jaya
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