I have been wanting to talk about mental health for a while now. In some personal articles I have mentioned that I struggle with life a bit sometimes. Because I am definitely not the only one, and there are people who experience a lot worse, I thought it would be good to open up this conversation. A lot of people on social media have been adressing the stigma around mental health lately. People like Jessie Paege share a lot about their own mental health and are trying to delete the taboo around this topic. One of the most important steps of improving your mental health, is to talk about your problems. It gets heavier and heavier to keep them to yourself. That’s why it’s important that social media is getting more open to discuss things like this and that’s why I want to address it today as well.
If you are a bit active in the YouTube community, you probably know about the YouTuber named Liza Koshy. She was very well-liked and her videos gained a lot of traction about one to two years ago. The past year, sadly, she has not been posting videos at all. A little while ago she uploaded a video explaining why: she needed a break because of her mental health. Since I already felt the need to talk about mental health on my blog, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I loved everything about Liza’s video. Her main focus was not what she herself was dealing with, but the fact that she was dealing with some stuff and how she was trying to overcome this. It was focused on the recovery in stead of the illness. I find this very important. Of course, it is the things that you’re dealing with which cause the pain, and you need to talk about, confront, and overcome these things to get rid of the pain. But that’s not all. It is also so important to take care of yourself.
Overcoming your feelings is a tough thing to do. It takes time and healing, and the feelings may always haunt you. But it’s important that you’re acting as your own friend in this situation. Be there for yourself as you would be there for another person. Learning to love yourself is so important, and I wish it was an easy thing to do. But it isn’t. It takes time and a lot of work. One thing that helped me a lot in recovering from dark times, is to take care of myself. Do the things that make you feel better and that are just for you. Pay some attention to yourself. Do what is necessary. Take a break of certain obligations if this is needed. Pamper yourself. Cuddle with your pets. Watch all the movies you want. Self-care is whatever makes you happy, and making yourself happy can be so helpful when you struggle with things.
I have had my depressive episodes in the past. I have had times where I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed and live life. I spent days on my own in my room, not taking care of myself. Just taking a shower could be tough for me. I constantly felt like my mind was working against me. I can count myself lucky enough to say that these episodes never stood in the way of going to school and other obligations. The only things I didn’t do were things that I enjoyed doing. I did what I had to do, and that was it. In my head, school was never a negative thing. I got to see my friends there, which always made my day a lot better. But I noticed the social interaction would exhaust me a lot more. I was irritated, tired and sad. At school I was constantly wearing earbuds, just so I could lock myself away from the outside world. Those periods were hard, but as I said, they never were so tough that I couldn’t do what I had to do.
That is the main reason I would never say that I had depression. My mental health was definitely bad, and I had and sometimes still have depression-like periods, but it never spiralled down so far that I would call myself depressed. That’s a big statement to make. Especially considering there are people who are actually diagnosed with depression and are dealing with a lot more. I don’t want to invalidate their experience by labelling mine as the same. But that does not mean my experience is invalid. I just wanted to mention this as a little reminder that everyone goes through tough times, some maybe a little worse than the other, but everyone has the right to also survive these times and receive help if they need it. Everyone has the right to talk about what they went through and be lend a listening ear if they want it. And most importantly: everyone has the right to take care of themselves and help themselves to a better place. Don’t invalidate the experience of another person.
Everytime I was going through something bad, I have managed to pick myself up again, because I decided to take care of myself. I decided that I needed to go take a shower and do something fun, just to make me feel better about myself. The necessary things could be put to the side for a while, I just had to choose myself over those things and it would help me so much. Of course taking care of yourself does not cure you immediately and it’s not the only thing you need to do to get better. You need to talk about the things that are bothering you, and maybe seek professional help if you need it. But taking care of yourself does help. If it just makes you feel a little better about yourself, it can give you a push in the right direction.
I wanted to write this article in a way that, if I would have read this a couple years ago, it would’ve helped me. Or for whenever I’m not feeling well. So for whoever needs it: get your ass out of bed and take a nice, warm shower. Pick a thing you want to do that makes you happy, and just do it. Even if it’s the only thing you do today, you still did it. Don’t let your negative thoughts get in the way of getting better. Don’t let yourself feel guilty of choosing yourself over something else at times. Because self care is one of the most important steps towards recovery.