Today was a dull day walking (the most exciting part was when I fell, twice, massive-head-of-hair-first, into blackberry bushes) where after nearly being squashed by a car I decided to skip the walk down the busy road and catch a ride into town. So instead of talking walking, let’s talk Mental Health.
You see, this whole “walk-across-Ireland” thing has a point and a message to it.
I have mental health.
I have depression.
I have anxiety.
I have self-inflicted scars.
I have days when the weight of my mental health sits like the weight of the world on my chest and the mere thought of being a functioning member of society is so daunting that the only way I can imagine spending the rest of my life is wrapped safely in a blanket burrito with a bottle of wine and my arms wrapped tightly around my chest.
I am depressed and anxious and sometimes full of self-loathing but it is not all that I am.
I have goals.
I have dreams.
I have a support system.
I have mountains both figurative and literal to climb and I’ll be damned if I let my mental health and the way the world views it hold me back from adventuring to every far corner of the world and achieving all my heart desires.
I have mental health and in the past I’ve allowed myself to be silenced by a society who fears the mentally ill not because we scare them but because they don’t understand how one can have poor mental health and still function in society. I am not someone to be feared and when you pile stigma upon stigma on us you take away our chance at recovery.
I have mental health and no longer will I allow it to define and/or limit me. I am so much more than a diagnosis to be ashamed of and I refuse to be ashamed anymore and I will absolutely shout it from the tops of the mountains I will climb, I AM DEPRESSED AND ANXIOUS but it is not all that I am.
Yes, I am so much more than that.
I am a big sister to my forever-baby-sisters (now aged 21 and 23). I am an absolutely hopeless wanderer, an adventurer, a restless soul. I am a nanny, a writer, a terrible singer and dancer with absurdly unrealistic dreams of being on Broadway. I am shockingly crude and vulgar and funny (to a certain few). I am a terrible date, but a great one-night-stand. I am the owner of a massive head of riotous curls and more books than I really need. I am a closet-romantic who daydreams about meet-cutes and spoons. I am a dreamer with a big heart and a sincere desire to save the world. I am stronger than I let on, braver than I think and smarter than most 3yo’s (but not all, Lady V).
I am so much more than my depression and anxiety.
So here’s the message I want you all to remember:
Your mental health, and how others perceive it, does not define you. Never be ashamed of it. If you are struggling – speak up and seek help. Work HARD at your recovery – follow a plan, take your medications, see a therapist, go for long walks and drink good tea (Earl Grey with 2 sugars and a splash of milk). Find a recovery plan that works for YOU and STICK TO IT. There will be days when it all seems too heavy but don’t worry because I promise you that as time goes on these days will become less frequent. And when you’ve reached a stable point and are ready – your dreams and goals await you.
Your mental health does not define you nor does it limit you. The world is yours to explore and you can do anything if only you promise to take good care of yourself.
Me, no longer giving a fuck what others think of me and my mental health.