In light of mental health awareness week I wanted to write something a little personal, away from the travel style I’m used to and just a little more raw.
For the silent sufferers, I’m here for you. Those four words I want everyone to repeat, “I’m here for you” Just because you cannot see how someone is feeling or coping doesn’t mean it’s not real within them. This is an issue I don’t really choose to discuss publicly and most people I know will be surprised to find out that I have it. I have the ability to hide it, to mask it, to shield the ones close to me from my mind battle. I feel like over the years I did this to protect my loved ones. It is a hard medium to explore & explain to others, you find yourself faced with comments such as “thats a stupid thing to worry about” or “stop being so dramatic” and all the rest of it. Don’t worry, I’ve heard it all. At first I thought maybe it is stupid, maybe I was making mountains out of mole hills. What may seem like an insignificant detail to others was actually creating world war three in my mind between my emotions and my reality. I have friends also, very close friends who have the same issues and what do you do? You want to help, but in that moment there’s not much you can do. Your words are powerless against their mind so you know what my resolution is, just let them know you’re there, let them know your front door is open, the kettles on and there’s a big hot steamy cup of (preferably Yorkshire) tea to lose themselves in.
When anxiety attacks there’s no real escape so knowing you have someone to talk to, scream down the phone at and cry to is somewhat grounding. You don’t even have to say anything. In fact it’s probably better if you don’t. Just being that ear, that shoulder and the friend they need in that moment is enough. I have spent countless hours on the phone to my friends listening to their woes and to their troubles without chucking my two-cent in because frankly they dont care, well they do but right now it’s not what they need. They don’t want to suffer in silence alone but may find solace in your silence. Silence doesn’t always mean understanding but to them in that moment it feels like acceptance.
When Anxiety attacks its hard to know how to deal with it. If it appears on the daily then it can become pretty tiring for you and your precious mind. If it attacks weekly or even more sporadically it can still be tiring. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to reach out. The people around you may not realise your struggle. Talk to your loved ones and your closest friends. Trust me they are the best therapy. If you don’t feel like talking which on a regular I find myself doing then go and find your calm somewhere else. I never really knew the effect or benefit the outdoors would have on my brain. It wasn’t until I moved to New Zealand that I connected with the outdoors. I found my passion which also resulted in me finding my calm. Theres a handful of people in my circle who know me well enough to see that I am ten times the person now than what I was four years ago and I totally put that down to travel and nature.
It may sound super cliché but when you travel you really do find yourself. Doors open, opportunities present themselves and you have time. Time to think, focus on yourself and expand your mind leaving little to no space for those anxious feelings. Curiosity got the better of me and I started to explore more, quiet literally broadening my horizons and leaving my mind to wonder about the unknown and for once it didn’t scare me.
Being in the outdoors helped ground me. If I was feeling anxious or could feel an anxiety attack approaching I knew to get outside. Get into the open and breathe fresh air. Mother Nature helped me relax and find my feet. She pushed me physically to strive for better fitness and wellbeing. She gave me a focus in which resulted in giving my mind a purpose.
I guess where I’m going with this post is that I want everyone to know that you’re not alone. You may feel alone but you’re not. If you don’t feel like you can reach out to those close to you then start within. Step outside, take your own time and get to know yourself again. Conquer those mountains in your mind by climbing physical mountains, walk through the tree’s, find your calm space. I promise you this your mind will thank you later.
It’s scary when you look at statistics surrounding metal health. Mental disorders affect 1 in 4 people. 70% of young people don’t receive the proper support they need and people will steer clear of help because of stigma and discrimination. We have become accepting of anything in this world breaking down apart from our brains and that is ignorance. We live in a world that doesn’t understand therefore they discriminate. We need to educate ourselves to help others, don’t join the ignorant statistic. Be the change this world needs, be what the people of this world need.
My door is open, my kettle is pretty much always on and I know how to make a good brew, don’t suffer in silence, I will always be here for you.