Mental Illness Awareness Week - A Little Look Into My Journey
Updated: Oct 12
In the USA we begin the start of Mental Illness awareness week (Oct 4-10th)
A week to consciously reflect on our own mental health and the people around us.
How do we support our own minds but also how do we support our community?
Our co-workers, family, friends, online community?
Whether you read my blog, follow my social media accounts or generally know me, you'll know how often I speak about the importance of mental health.
When you have experienced the unhealthy side, it's hard to stay quiet about it..
in my experience anyway.
I've experienced general anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, agoraphobia and depression.
The last three were really intense but thankfully I dealt with them for the least amount of time.
Anxiety however, my goodness has anxiety taken away some of the best times of my life. From family weddings to even my own honeymoon.
Anxiety took over almost daily for a handful of years.
As I write about anxiety, I feel like it has become a distant memory (so thankful!)
Everyone's experience of anxiety is different.
If i had to describe how mine made me feel, it would be.. shaky, on edge, nervous without good reason, rushing to the bathroom, heart beating out of my chest, feeling claustrophobic/trapped, hot flushes and dizziness.
I had to think about the times being in this state effected my mood, my body, my relationships, life experiences!
I have worked really hard over the last two years to align my mind, body and soul.
I feel balanced, finally.
As I thought about the past five or so years I took myself back to some very key moments where,
Anxiety controlled me entirely.
Anxiety would tell me to leave a family dinner early.
Anxiety would tell me not to go away for the weekend with my friends.
Anxiety said "tell your husband you don't want to go on that amazing holiday!"
Anxiety made me sad.
Anxiety made me cry.
Anxiety made me so damn angry!
I would get so upset with myself. Why me? Why can't I simply enjoy myself? Why am I not allowed to live my damn life peacefully?
It took a real downward spiral into depression to be my catalyst for positive change.
Falling into depression was like being stripped fully naked. I felt fully exposed. I was vulnerable.
I was starting from scratch with no ego involved.
No care for what I looked like, How I dressed, How others perceived my life choices.
I was completely vulnerable.
I used that vulnerability to step forward and take a leap of faith in myself.
I began fully investing in myself.
I began putting myself FIRST.
I started seeing a therapist. My mind felt so muddled.
My therapist simply helped guide the muddled thoughts.
Brene Brown says there is courage in vulnerability, I couldn't agree more.
I was at my most vulnerable when I sat in front of my therapist for the very first time. Every time I left her office, I felt a sigh of relief.. I felt lighter and lighter every single time.
Listening to real life stories
I began listening to TED talks for hours on end, listening to stories of overcoming anxiety and depression.
There was power in connecting to familiar stories and realizing that what I was going through wasn't uncommon at all.
I owned two journals. One for my random ramblings and one to write my achievements in.
I have found so much healing in writing. I'm sure you could type but I feel a much deeper emotional connection when I put pen to paper.
What can you write about?
Whatever you want!
Goals, dreams, current mood, emotions, recent happenings.
The idea is to let it out so that you're not holding that energy in.
Journaling is a wonderful way to connect with yourself.
Spending more time with myself
I started taking myself out on dates.
A coffee date. A sushi date. Even a movie date.
I began to get to know the real me.
The one without the layers.
The one without an ego.
I was in a very vulnerable place but I felt so empowered every time I did it.
And i'm not just talking food and drink. I'm talking everything else I was consuming such as media, medications (anti-anxiety), junk food. I swapped out certain foods.
I swapped out reality shows for healing conversations.
I even rummaged through my social media making sure whoever I followed brought some form of positive value into my world.
With guidance from my Dr, I even came off the anti anxiety meds.
The more time I spent with myself the more I was able to see what worked for me and what didn't. Again, looking at the value in job positions, friendships, relationships and saying no to anything that simply did not connect with my values.
SELF-CARE, SELF-CARE, SELF-CARE
Lastly, I will leave it here.
Self-care is all of the above.
Self-care has been a godsend, hence why I host classes on the importance of putting yourself first.
As soon as I began to put my needs first, I felt like everything else came together.
My relationships, my life goals and MOST IMPORTANTLY my anxiousness faded away.
My only key is to keep it consistent.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @UnLeeshd for daily reminders.
Mental Health Check-In Monday
Time out Tuesday (off social media)
And on Friday's I either host workshops or talk all things mental health on my Insta- story.
I hope to see you there!
Sending you lots of love,