Or is it Mental Health Awareness month? 

I'm not sure either way, I've been having some thoughts recently and after writing about my experiences throughout the mental health awareness week on Madeleine Mae and Jess Bacon's blogs, well, I thought it was better late than never to share more about this on my lil ol' website!?

Not only have I used this space as a way of connecting and sharing with other people but I've always thought of it as my own personal diary - y'know after everyone ditched tumblr...  And a questionable personality trait of mines has been that I wear my heart on my sleeve, you've known about my highs and you've always been aware of my lows and I guess wanting to talk about my feelings during mental health awareness week will be no surprise. 

Some things you'll need to know incase you missed anything previously; Hi, I'm Sarah, 27 years old, a shy introvert and massive over-thinker who was diagnosed with 'mild' depression last year after dealing with stress related to my previous work place and have been suffering with generalised anxiety disorder for quite possibly as long as I can remember (?) and whilst I have my good and bad periods, I honestly worry whether my problems are actually 'valid'. 

With the help from a couple of pals, I've put together a couple of questions to try and delve deeper into my mental health, what it means to me and how I'm currently coping. So grab a cuppa, settle down, this shit is about to get personal.

During the week of awareness itself, I was pottering on just fine; nothing out of the ordinary and then the weekend hit and my mood hit rockbottom, it left my boyfriend and my parents slightly worried (sorry) and that's when I decided I'd write this post - so I apologise now if everything feels a little more flakey or raw. I'm just trying to get those bad thoughts out in the open in the hopes it'll help me let go of them. 

I will discuss my thoughts on lockdown a little further into this post - but the last few weeks have been okay? I think? Like I said, I've been pottering along, some days better than others. Whilst we've been on lockdown since March 23rd and I've not worked since March 14th, I've tried to fill my weekdays with my blog, trying to find extra work via this platform and just to keep my creativity a-float and in the first month, it was great! I felt motivated, enjoyed everything I was doing and felt that it was being recognised online. 

Unfortunately the last couple of weeks have left me a little bit lost with my passion for this part of the internet, doubting all my abilities and throughly convinced that no-one really likes me or my content - and I promise, I'm not sharing this for the ego-boost but instead a reminder that we're all just doing our best and we're all doubting ourselves in some aspect of our lives, but we need to keep working on our little personal projects - especially if they bring us some joy (also take the break if you're not longer enjoying yourself, please don't force it when you no longer love what you're doing).

Ah, I'm not even sure why I'm asking myself this question but we're being honest today, right? Truth be told, I don't always feel that my feelings and problems are valid - there's a lot to discuss on this matter but let's just say past friendships and ignorance has left me struggling with my own acceptance with the fact, that just because someone might have it worse, doesn't mean mine don't matter either. But fuck sake, they do. They really do, I feel these things, I might struggle with 'smaller' issues than someone else but omg these feelings drag me sometimes and I'm allowed to feel whatever I want to. 

DOES COUNSELLING HELP? (myprettyperfectmess)
Something I touch upon occasionally but never felt I had enough 'experience' with to discuss in more depth is counselling - side note: it's hilariously ironic because I actually have a degree in counselling, but I've been to counselling myself a handful of times, and whilst my need for these sessions have been different each time, I've come out of my 6 sessions with a little more knowledge and acceptance for my mental health journey. 

One of my most recognised 'side effects' of my mental health is memory loss or at least I think the two are connected. Whilst I remember some significant moments in my life from the last 10 years, a lot of my memories are either deteriorating or completely wiped and actually I think it's a coping mechanisms, one I wish I didn't have...

On my last visit with a counsellor we were working through my 'time line' and together, finding a point where my issues 'began' - unfortunately my sessions ended before we were able to continue this method; but now I know that this is something I will need to delve into further and maybe something I can try and track on my own.

Apart from that, I've taken some really helpful methods on board and whilst I do struggle to put them into practice - knowing that these techniques are available is a simple comfort. 

I touch on this during mental health awareness week on Maddie's instagram; and admitted that I really struggle to make myself feel better on bad days, I'm like Lorelai Gilmore and accept that sometimes I just need to wallow and whilst it doesn't exactly help in the long term, I just need to do it, okay? 

Apart from that I often just do the things that I feel physically capable of doing. Walks are typically out the questions as my body feels too heavy to leave the house, so instead I'll let me body take the lead, watch fun films, continue binge watching my current TV show or simply getting in contact with people I trust, a good ol' vent definitely helps. You can read more about things I do to improve my mood, here. 

Majority of the time they take me by surprised and hit me like a tonne of bricks but my current 'issues' are connected to me feeling worthless; and lets be honest, that's not something that's going to go away over night - I often feel triggers and spot things that will begin to spiral those feelings but more often than not because these are thoughts that I am just 'living with', the smallest thing can spiral my mood.

My biggest indicator at the moment does come from comparing myself to others; from creativity, job roles, where a person is in life compared to where I am. Unfortunately a lot of this does typically come from social media, so for someone trying to make a job from it - it's a really pain in the ass. So knowing when to switch off and take that time from the internet can be challenging but so worthwhile.  

I'm currently experiencing what I believe to be imposter syndrome, and something that is obviously, yet I'll try and deny is how social media has a negative impact on my mental health and recently, that's really been bought to light - in the last 6 months, I've seen my blog & social media grown more than I've ever experienced in my seven years on these platforms, and at first I was so pleased with myself, proud that my hard work was paying off and before I had chance to process it all, I was overwhelmed, putting extra pressure on myself and expecting this growth to continue. 

I'm definitely not at a point where I can acknowledge this and give anyone guidance, because I so desperately need this myself; but I am trying to switch off more regularly on the evenings, taking note of my plans, what I'm capable of achieving and especially during lockdown - taking the weekends off from blogging & social media.  

Personally I think lockdown was something we all needed to rest and reset; the last year has been a huge drain mentally; so having this time to slow down and reassess so much around me has worked wonders for me. Asides from that, the biggest hangup with lockdown is the fact my life does now feel like it's at a complete stand still - during this time I've figured what I need to do to improve myself and my mentality but unfortunately I can't work on 'plan' until lockdown is over and normality ensues. 

Phew, told you it would be a long one. 

#Mentalhealthawarenessweek gave me the opportunity to recognised how certain things have been playing on my mind and what I've been avoiding too; and while I battle with knowing whether my word vomit of a blog post was the right or wrong thing to do - I know how important it is to talk about these issues and getting personal is the best way for me to talk about this. 

I'm really grateful for the supportive system I have in place right now, I'm so glad I'm able to tackle this with their help and even better - knowing they'll be around to lift me up when I'm down. And I hope y'all know I'm capable of being that person for you too - so whilst I might not have all the answers, or you need a virtual shoulder to cry on - please feel free to get in touch if you ever need someone to talk to. 

Sarah x 

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