This has been a little bit of a spontaneous, spur of the moment write up, so today’s post is a bit of a deviation away from the average book talk that i’ve grown accustomed to providing over on this here blog! Admittedly, I never wanted to set myself any rules on here, not really. It’s about posting what i’m comfortable with, and whatever springs to mind. So far, that’s fallen into book-territory, and that suits me perfectly well, huge book-lover that I am! However, there are no rules, and if a post works, it works, and if it doesn’t, well – too late! Regardless, I want to be open and talk about whatever springs to mind, and that won’t always be a fun, literary tag, or a fresh review, or anything vaguely within those margins. No, instead, today I’ll be talking about mental health.
Now,today of all days might seem… a peculiar choice. After all, it’sValentines Day! Theday of love, light, romance, positivity, and all things gooey andmushy! Right?
Well,no, not so much.
Here’sthe thing, this post isn’t coming specifically today because of myown thoughts regarding the holiday (is Valentines Day considered aholiday? I’m not being a cynic in asking that, I just genuinely don’tknow!), but in actuality just because I happen to be in a bit of adifficult place myself, which got me thinking about the importance oftalking, sharing, and being open about these such topics. But,naturally, with celebrations surrounding Galentines/PalentinesDay, and the more famousValentines Day,filling up everyone’s timelines, I know that if you are somebody whosuffers from any form of mental illness, these days in particularmight be all the more difficult to face.
So,hey! My name is Michaela, I’m 25 years old, and since my pre-to-earlyteens, I have suffered from depression. And, ever before that, I’vesuffered from anxiety. To be blunt; it’s bloody horrible. It is, itjust is. There’s no sugar coating it. To have your own mindconstantly betray you with intrusive, damning thoughts that can setyou back days, months, years,is a terrifying experience. To know that you can just be going aboutyour day one minute, and then have what seems like the most minorthing in the world act as a trigger, tear through that wall you’vebuilt up, and unravel you entirely? It’s unfathomable. If you’venever experienced it yourself, it’s damn near impossible to describe.And listen, I get it. Everyone hits hard times, and everybody suffersfrom certain levels of anxiety, to whatever degree, throughout theirlife. It’s inevitable; the world is a stressful place! But youraverage Monday Blues and nervousness are, indeed, no match for thedangerous, exhausting, and utterly terrifying state of having yourown brain convince you that you’re utterly worthless, that you don’tbelong, that you have no reason to be alive, that you want to hurtyourself – the list goes on. It’s not a pleasant experience. And,naturally, this time of the year can make it even tricker.
Now,I’m no Parks and Rec fan (I know, I know!), so it was only in thepast couple years, when hearing a close friend talk about her owntraditions of celebrating Galentines Daywith her best friend that truly brought the day to my attention! And,honestly, I get it! It’s such a gorgeous concept. A lovely, sweet wayto celebrate your fellow ladies, in a platonic – or otherwise –fashion. It doesn’t undermine those that still enjoy celebratingValentines Day, but it’s a fresh take on enjoying time with yourclosest female friends, and also an extra excuse to lift them up andcelebrate them. And, let’s be real about it, there’s absolutely nevera bad time to be lifting up women, or your friends (regardless ofgender). But, as someone who is perpetually lonely, mentally unwell,and has a knack for seeing the worst in herself, I still somehow findthe negatives in days like these. Not because it isn’t an absolutelycharming idea, but because – much like Valentines Day – noteverybody has aspecial someone, a friend, or group of friends, who uses days likeyesterday and today to lift them up. We don’t always have someone whowants to spend these days with us, or who wants to send us a sweetmessage, or card, to remind us that we’re loved, that we’re covered,that people have our backs.
Whichis exactly what I’m here to say. This isn’t a post to highlight thewrongs of such holidays, not in the least, because I don’t thinkthere’s anything wrongwith taking a day out to loudly and proudly tell someone, or multiplepeople, just how much you love them! In fact, I think there’s nothingmore phenomenal than the act of celebrating other people, and yourlove and adoration for them. I’m firmly TEAM AFFECTION, and I thinkit’s extraordinarily important to let your guard down once in awhile, and remind those around you just how bloody special they are.No, what this post is here to do, is to remind you that even if youare feeling a little lonely, that doesn’t necessarily have to meanthat you’re alone. Itmight feel like it, from time to time, but there’s always a happiertomorrow waiting for you – as corny as that might sound!
Assomebody who suffers greatly from both depression andanxiety, one of the most bewildering aspects of this is having thisall-consuming darkness take a hold of me, this seemingly unstoppabledevastation that creeps up on me, grabs a hold of me, and tears meapart from the inside, tells me that i’m worthless, useless, loathedbeyond belief, unloved, and alone forever. All of that, coupled withthis niggling anxiety, this pain in the arse voice in the back of myhead, that frets and worries and stresses over how other people aregoing to take to my own misery; will people be offended? If I talkabout how lonely i’m feeling, am I going to upset somebody, make themfeel bad? Will my friends feel pushed away, exiled, as thought Idon’t want them here?Will they think i’m ungrateful for the love that they do give me, fortheir friendship, for their presence in my life? And no, of coursethey don’t think any of those things. My friends love me, because afriend does, and Ilove them equal amounts, if not more. But those voices in our headstell us otherwise, and they try to tear us down from the inside, andi’m here to tell you all that you do not have to let it it.
Thosevoices in your head are – and pardon my language here – fuckingliars. You’re stronger, you’rebraver, and you’re far more brilliant than anybody or anything thattries to knock you down; you and your own mental illness included. Idon’t always take my own advice, nor do I take much solace in my ownwords, despite constantly trying to use them to lift up others, but Iknow that’s all part of my mental illness, and I know that aspowerful a hold as my anxiety and depression might have, I’m farfiercer. And so are you.
Holidayscan be lonely, whether that’s Christmas, New Year’s, Valentines,Birthdays, or absolutely whatever it is you may or may not celebrate,and they can be so so very difficult to push through, especially whenyou don’t have anybody immediately by your side. But, remember, youmade it through every single day and you made it here today. Youpushed and you fought and you clawed and you kicked and screamed andyou’re here. You won,and you can keep winning, and you don’t have to let anything stop youfrom standing tall and believing in yourself, loving yourself. Youdon’t need a holiday, a friend, or a partner, to tell you howextraordinary you are, because you reserve the right to tellyourself. And if you’re notquite there yet? Let me. I’ll tell you that you’re loved, that you’rebeautiful, bright, and brave; that your heart is fierce and strong,and that you’re a fighter, standing here today, that your resiliencesuits you and looks utterly gorgeous on you. You’re not alone, andyou never ever will be. You have loved ones, you have people whocare, and you have a heart, a brain, a body, and a soul that keep onfighting strong, and a strong will within yourself to keep on going.Fight the good fight and love yourself, protect yourself, putyourself first. Don’t be ashamed of your insecurities and your flaws,of your mental health, physical health, of the obstacles along theway. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, to reach out, or to talk openlyof your circumstances. You have a voice that is yours to use, and youshould be proud to stand tall and share your truth with a friend, afamily member, a professional, a stranger on the internet, the world;whoever.
Onthat note, Happy Valentines to everybody who happens to becelebrating! I hope it’s a gorgeous, loved up day for you, whetherplatonic or romantic, and I hope the rest of your 2019 is as equallymushy! For those that aren’tcelebrating, then happy bloody Thursday to you, my darlings, and Ihope your 2019 is as fierce as you, yourself.
I’mgoing to finish up with a few notes; first, to keep it relevant andon theme with openness, mental health, and valentines day – and theother, to get back on track and take another dive back into books!So, in the comments below, if you’d like to share, I’d love to hearfrom you all on any of the following (and there is zero pressure toparticipate, it’s all personal preference!):
- Doyou have any personal battles with mental health that you’ve been struggling with, and you’d like to shine a light on?
- How do you normally celebrate your Galentines & Valentines day, if at all?
- Have you got any particular book recommendations, personal favourites of your own, that happen to tackle mental health? – I’ll kick off with anon fiction andfiction, by recommending “Reasons to Stay Alive”by Matt Haig, who takes on his own, very real, experience with anxiety and depression, as well as “Little & Lion”by Brandy Colbertwhich openly highlights the struggles of bipolar disorder.
- Lastly, do you have any particular reads that fit these particular holidays? A book that highlights platonic love, or a personal romantic favourite of yours?
Feelfree to comment below with all your thoughts, feelings, and any inputyou might have!