Mental health is a journey that is unique to each traveller and may never have one true destination
I hear the clock ticking and the seconds trickling by. I feel my heart pounding, threatening to break out of my chest. I see my hands shake, the cup of coffee I’m holding threatening to spill over the to do list in front of me. I smell my fear, bubbling from the pit of my stomach and suffocating my lungs and leaving a bitter taste.
No, I’m not overreacting. No, I’m not doing this for attention. No, you don’t understand how I feel. What is wrong with me, you finally ask…I’m having an anxiety attack.
As someone who has always been an emotional, empathetic, and sensitive soul, I used to believe that I would never struggle to sort my feelings. When I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) a year ago, a part of me felt confused and a part of me felt relieved. My bewilderment towards my diagnosis was because I assumed I had it under control and an episode like that would be a highly unlikely recurrence. At the same time, I was grateful that the amalgamation of emotions that engulfed my body, finally had an explanation.
Growing up in a Desi (Indian) household, we spoke very little about mental health and much of my knowledge, prior to my GAD detection, was through the Australian education system. I am fortunate to have parents who supported me through my therapy sessions and worked with me on building my coping mechanisms. During my counselling process, I discovered that a key aspect of our lives is that as humans, we don’t practice enough self-care.
Self-care in its simplest form can be best understood as the actions an individual takes to prioritise their holistic well-being. When I reflected on the past 5 years of my life, I realised how often and easily I would make excuses to myself, putting my needs behind to go above and beyond in my professional and personal life. Soon I discovered that I was burning out, getting frustrated and giving up on the things that should have been aspects of growth for me. That’s when I understood the importance of taking a break, learning to say no and to give my body, mind and spirit the space and opportunity to rejuvenate.
When I first considered how to practice self-care, all those Instagram videos with fancy spas and expensive restaurants came to mind. I’ll admit, it wasn’t simple learning what worked best for my mental well-being and how to achieve true contentment. However, with time I realised that little acts of kindness towards self, every day, is what accumulates over time to bring you a wealth of inner peace and joy. I remember going to a café after my run one day, ordering a coffee and sitting at a table with a book. It felt odd at first as I would often find myself at cafés for social occasions; I kept wondering if I looked lonely. A little while later, an elderly woman came and sat before me, ordered her coffee with a big smile on her face and began reading a book as she soaked in the sunshine.
They say you meet many people in your lifetime but the only person who stays with you from the very beginning till the very end is…yourself. We are often quick to aid those who ask or to always carry a pleasing persona, yet we ignore the pleas our soul makes on those weary and difficult days. Personally, positive mental health does not end with the close of the door at my final counselling session or the day I wake up feeling vibrant and energetic. Mental health is a journey that is unique to each traveller and may never have one true destination. In the fast paced and complex world, we live in. being kind towards ourselves has become more imperative than ever before. My GP once told me- “you can either be perfect, or you can be happy” …well you know what they say, perfection is overrated! Next time you think of who you are, remember, your greatest responsibility is to love yourself and to know that you are enough.
Written By - Vaishnavi Venkateswaran
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it!