On 7th May, 2 years ago, I handed in my Masters thesis. I was super stoked and relieved, plus excited to crack on with trying to function like a proper human being again.
What actually happened was that I had 4 days of relative chill before the biggest mental breakdown of my entire life, in a swanky bar with Rebecca Deluce in the middle of Copenhagen, which resulted in me being really, really ill for a while instead…
This photo is bittersweet because I literally had no idea at the time that things were going to get hella lairy imminently: I thought I was already at rock bottom! Looking back, I can say that I’m truly super proud of myself for getting through one of the most challenging periods of my life so far. Plus, my mates and fam are absolutely solid and I wish everybody going through a tough time had that kind of support behind them. Wouldn’t be here without it.
So: life is like a box of chocolates, folks! Sometimes you think you’ve picked up a praline and you take a bite to find it’s orange, instead. It’s really, really sad but remember you can always pick up another choccy straight after and hope that one’s better.
P. S. this photo is the first in the folder I made of images from when I was poorly, remind me to take a look at those photos when/if I think about penning a PhD proposal in a few years’ time…
Thinking back, I was an absolute write-off last year. Honestly. Couldn’t perceive the idea of getting through a day, nevermind looking beyond that. I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember and experiences with depression for most of my life. You would think that this would make it easier to cope with a “low spell” but actually, when you’re there, it’s still debilitating and as scary as if you’re facing it afresh.
I talk about mental health super candidly ALL the time. I even brought it up within 5 mins of a job interview last year! Every day is a fight for me and I know it is for so many others, so I take solace in sharing and being open because I’ve seen firsthand the effects of NOT talking. I used to be that proud person who couldn’t say no, or say I wasn’t okay. Fuck that macho bullshit.
Mental health is normal. Stress is normal. Anxiety is normal. Not being okay is normal. Asking for help is normal. Needing help is normal.
Starting and sustaining these conversations is the difference between life and death, in some cases. I’m here and willing to talk, but more importantly, I’m here to listen💜
This year’s pandemic and all the limitations it has enforced have only emphasised how important mental health is. I’ve said this countless times but mental health doesn’t discriminate: EVERYBODY is susceptible to stress and ill health, so it’s about time society implemented changes to acknowledge this and support those most vulnerable, those who rely on invaluable services just to function in a basic capacity.
Resources are stretched and they need funding! Stigmatisations prevail and they need abolishing! Carers and professionals need respite and the recognition they deserve!
I can only hope that when COVID-19 is eventually eliminated as a threat, we take some valuable lessons from this period of time and move forward as a more compassionate collective.
Peace and love. I wouldn’t be here without all the peace and love my family and friends have given me. We’re doing this life thing together so peace and love to whoever is reading this💜✌🏽🙏🏾