Pondering my own mental health whilst writing a blog about World Mental Health Day…..Yep! The irony isn’t lost on me.
I know this mood, it’s defiant, restless, irritable, she wants to shout inappropriate things at inappropriate times. Reigning her in is hard, she wants to laugh and cry at exactly the same time. She’s the devil on your shoulder telling you to “go on” - to whatever that devil may care act, you’re about to perform. I’ve grown used to her, in fact I kinda know when SHE is gonna drop by. To make a point, I may be Bi-Polar or I may be Autistic or I may just, be ME. Usually I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights - (please don't offer me any advice on how I might sort that out. Believe me, I’ve tried all the remedies with varying effects and quite frankly this is something I’ve had for, well forever). In fact I can only count a handful of times when I slept so well, that I woke up refreshed.
The voice on the radio is too lively! The show host is really doing my head in and I’m staring at the screen wondering what knowledge I can impart on you. After all, do we not all suffer from Insomnia from time to time? And if you’re reading this thinking “What’s Insomnia?” - The answer to that my friend is - It’s a bloody good tune! If you’ve never experienced it I'm afraid we can’t be friends! But aside from that, I’m wondering again in a kind of chicken and egg stylee. Which came first? The poor mental health or the sleepless nights?
It seems I am not alone in my sleeplessness, nor my creativity. I just love this bizarre sleep pattern of the famous infographic (click here to view). It appears that most creatives have very poor sleep patterns and very few are getting their 8 hours a night - (Oh how I dream of that day or should I say night.). It also appears that those with the worst sleep patterns something horrid befeld them too. You see I swing widley between the sleeping for 15 hours, to the not sleeping for more than 4 a night. With my mental health deteriorating or improving wildly between these phases. I was only chatting yesterday to some lovely ladies about how I’m starting to embrace my mental health because it allows me to be creative and wild and free. Yet I may have to have a complete meltdown in order to unlock some of its potential. And yet, I am in fact starting to accept (god I hate that word) all that I am and all that it entails.
So will your mental health get better? That’s a tricky one for me. You see I like some of the results that my mental health affords me, the creativity , questioning, unrelentless force of nature (read stubborn bitch) that I sometimes am. I like how it gets me to stand outside the box, changes my reality. And yet as my husband would say “Define ‘Better’” - In that respect, I am better than I used to be. By better I mean I am more in control of my mental health rather than the other way around. I am more able to channel my mental health, understand when it has got the better of me , harness it in a way that works for me and also to give myself the much needed love, and space that I require in order to calm the f@ck down.
The trick is the acceptance part ,although I find that word most irritating. I’m not accepting of it (the mental health) more than I am understanding of it. In this instance I find the word acceptance very full stopy. It's a bit icky in its nature and for me it signals that I have surrendered to it, GIVEN IN! I don’t like to feel that I have accepted anything, that stubborn streak is the very essence of me and my mental health. I want to challenge, push boundaries, shout out, express and be all that I am. And that’s where I challenge you to lean in, listen to your mental health and ask it what it’s really trying to say? Get to know when it rears its ugly head and why? Listen to the cries for help, and by those I mean the suicidal thoughts as well. Do not judge or act, just take time to listen and feel. If you’re interested in how I do that, I simply lie on a hard floor and stare at the ceiling. I try to meditate on what I can feel or hear. I try to explore without judgement all that I am experiencing, I almost allow it to wash over me like a wave. I allow myself to just ‘BE’ for a moment without doing anything. Sometimes I sit with a blanket around me and just stare into space. I find it gives me perspective, I find it’s a little bit of love and kindness that I afford myself. It’s the duvet day by the way, the doing nothing day, that your mental health is most probably craving.
You see your mental health label is not all that you are. It shouldn’t define you or constrain you. Your personality and internal being should be able to be let loose and free to be as she/he is. You can both be as you are and present whichever reality you wish to be whenever you choose. Whether that upsets someone else is neither here nor there, I always feel as long as you are respectful of them being as they are, then it’s none of their business. The reality of putting that into play can be a little more challenging and may take you some time to learn and accept yourself. What I usually find when I am me, is that I start to attract the kind of people who don’t judge me, are ok with me being me, and when I need to hide or go in they are fully accepting of this and give me space.
You see that person inside you….. the real you….. may be feeling locked up, restrained, unable to talk and so s/he’s taking drastic measures in order to get you to hear her/him. S/he’s the crying, screaming one, maybe unable to form a sentence of what s/he really means - If s/he’s anything like me s/he can usually tell you what s/he doesn’t want , but if you listen for long enough or maybe offer her/him a pen and paper s/he may be able to express themself in a way that truly helps her/him blossom and bloom into the perfect being that she/he was always born to be.
If you are experiencing poor mental health you may find chatting to someone like The Samaritans useful. Or if you’re in the under 25s category then why not take a look at our chosen charity Ditch the Label.
You can read more from Roo Betty on the blogs page of roobetty.com or take a look at what we have to offer with our merchandise? Ways to motivate your mental health, tame the beast if you will and get to be the best version of you, the one you were always meant to be.