Mental Health – A Journey Not a Destination

World Mental Health Day is today so in honor of it I wanted to talk about it..

Everyone’s story with mental health is different and different things work for different people and situations, but I’m hoping by talking about it we can all help each other out, even if it’s that someone learns that they aren’t alone. Mental health is one of, if not, the most important thing we deal with as humans. Life has its ups and downs, emotions go up and down, always being in a 100% positive mental state is unrealistic, but so is the opposite and being able to accept that was a very freeing thing for me.

For me, my mental health journey started when I was about 14 and my parents decided to divorce. It hit me out of nowhere. Never in my worst nightmares did I ever expect my parents to ever split up. A lot of other really unfortunate things happened that same year, but I’m trying to keep it short and that’s what got the anxiety and depression ball rolling.

So as any barely-teenager would do, I bottled it up. I didn’t want to talk about my family struggles or how I was dealing with it. I still remember to this day in my eighth grade art class when one of my friends found out everything that had been going on with me and my family and she said, “Wow. I never would have known anything was ever wrong. You always seem so happy and bubbly.” And in truth, that’s just my personality, even if I’m dealing with a lot. But as the years have gone by, I have learned it is ok to talk about my emotions with people I trust and it’s normal to not be happy all the time.

The breakthrough to more positive thinking for me was realizing that some things in life I am just not able to control, which was really tough for a control freak like me… accepting that I wasn’t able to control other peoples actions, accepting that its ok to not be ok all the time, accepting it is ok to spend a little time alone, accepting that it is ok to not please everyone and that everyone makes mistakes, accepting that WE ARE HUMAN.

I have good and bad days, weeks, and months; sometimes it feels like I’ll never get out of the funk I’m in, but here are some of my favorite things to help keep me positive even on my worst days…

  • Breathe – stop whatever you’re doing and BREATHE. For however long you want or need.
  • Exercise/Get moving- endorphins, endorphins, endorphins – your brains best friends!
  • GET OUTSIDE – this is my personal fav!! Getting outside in the sun and fresh air really helps up my spirits on bad days.
  • Drink water and eat healthy – a healthy snack will never make you feel bad about yourself!
  • Trigger Tracking – keep a list of events that triggered certain emotions (anxiety, depression, panic attack, etc) this helps with self-awareness and allows you to avoid those events or situations.
  • Reach out to someone – a trusting, close friend, family member, or therapist. Get it out there don’t hold it in.
  • Write down one to three good things that happened each day – I guarantee there is at least ONE good thing that happened even on your worst day!
  • DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS!! – (especially on social media) EVERYONE is going to post their best self, but you are the only one who can be you and that is so special!

Your mental health is more important that anything/anyone else and it will only get better if you want it to and are willing to work towards a more positive lifestyle. Mental health is a lifelong journey and remember…

Your negative thoughts are lying to you and you are loved, you are worthy and you are only you and that’s more than enough! 

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