Welcome back and Happy Hump Day!
From 14th-20th May in the UK, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this is definitely a topic I feel quite passionate about and therefore wanted to share and discuss with you all…Firstly, let’s start off by addressing what it is in the most simplest of terms:
“A Person’s condition in regard to their psychological or emotional well-being.”
I feel like it’s necessary for people, especially people of colour, to be more aware of what mental health is and how it can drastically change a person’s life. I say it in this way because as a young adult coming from an East African family, it was very difficult for me to be expressive about my concerns with my emotional well-being, when struggling with depression whilst at University.
During University as a whole, I had a complete whirl wind experience; my first year was probably the best year for me, but this was followed by quite a lot of turbulence in my personal life in the coming years which resulted in me having to repeat my second year of University and losing a lot of company along the way.
University is stressful enough as it is, so with that said, I recommend anyone who’s going to University or currently in it to find out about the services available to you at University in case you need that extra support; this is something I didn’t do, but on reflection would have probably enabled me to handle certain circumstances a lot better.
My second and third year of University were the years that I recognised I was quite emotionally erratic, having really extreme highs and really extreme lows. My lows were inclusive of sitting in doors, in my room for days, without the curtains open and basically extract myself from any interaction. One thing I found when coming out of this dark place in my life, was that simple actions like waking up at a particular time each day and simply opening my curtains each morning, had a huge impact in how I carried out the rest of the day.
My depression alone meant that I was unable to extract myself from circumstances that were causing my mental health to deteriorate, such as having a consistently poor choice in the company I made and kept as well as not seeing the ‘red flags’ for circumstances which caused me to put my happiness, health and just general common sense last and as a result of this, I was in a turbulent and physically abusive relationship.
Moving on from this, and a few years later, I don’t have the perfect answer for anyone going through depression or anxiety. Both are very hard to see coming but when you know you have it, there’s no denying it.
Coming out from a very dark place in my life, I reconnected and strengthened relationships that were positive and I allowed myself to ‘breathe’ again. It’s hard to explain or to make sense of, but I genuinely woke up one day and decided I envied the happy person I use to be, and did everything in my power to reconnect with her.
A lot of my strength to move on from what was holding me back, was that I literally had to hit a certain stage or ‘rock bottom’ you could say, but this really elevated me back to a place that I’ve not turned away from since. It takes strength, determination and a lot of faith to fight off urges to return to depression but more importantly than that, the feeling of freedom, happiness and general healthiness over weighs any urge or ‘negative’ state of mind.
Following on from this, I’ve learnt to love my own company and to be wise with the company I keep. The fact that I enjoy my own space in a healthy way, means that I’m not succumbed to sitting in a dark room and wishing the day away, but rather being proactive in doing things that I enjoy and that will overall make me a happier person.
I’m sharing a snippet of my own story in hopes that it can positively impact someone else’s life. I hope that those who have experienced any kind of mental health strain are strengthened through their circumstances. If you are currently going through it, firstly find comfort that you aren’t alone in this and there is a substantial amount of support available to you… Most importantly find the courage to love who you are and start to create healthy habits which will gradually develop into consistent patterns of behaviour. I did this, and in doing so I created a positive and healthy routine in my life, which to this day I haven’t broken away from!
If you would like to know more information about Mental Health as a person who’s affected by it or you know someone who is going through it, please refer to the below websites for further support: