Mental Health Awareness

Panic. Heart beating so fast it feels like it’s going to burst out of your chest. Gasping for breath, feels like you’re breathing air through a straw. Heavy weight is crushing your chest. Mind is scattered. You feel like this is it. You’re going to die.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I experienced my first anxiety attack. I knew by then I had anxiety but this, was crippling. Thankfully for me, they don’t occur frequently. But for those who suffer with the almost daily struggle to get up and leave the house without a pit in their stomach, or cry at the thought of having to go to school or work then know, I’ve been there many a time.

The month of May in the USA is Mental Health Awareness month. October is the official month here in Australia where we are encouraged to ask, “R U OK?”.

With today’s premiere of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, it got me thinking about how absolutely crushing it was to watch the first season and just want to be the one to reach out and save Hannah Baker’s life.

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This under $5 nail polish became widely recongnised in the series.

The blue nail polish is by Sinful Colors, Endless Blue and it became the statement colour Hannah used to paint numbers on each tape. I won’t spoil the end however there is another time she uses this colour. Cast members of 13 Reasons Why even took to wearing the colour on their nails at the season 1 premiere. My message in this post is, what can we do for those around us and how can we help ourselves? Let’s talk about Mental Health Awareness.

I’ve suffered with anxiety since I was a small child, always a thinker and a worrier. Some of us just have a predisposition or the personality type to develop mental illness. Others may be influenced by family and friends attitudes and behaviours, environmental impacts on our lives as children or genetics can also all come into play.

I didn’t of course realise what I had until I read it somewhere online and made the shocking correlation between myself, my actions and behaviours and the black and white text on the screen. It’s a long journey to find inner peace and certainly not one that’s mastered over night. A continuous learning curve that leads you through some of the darkest points of life and moments sometimes you don’t wish to re-live.

Everyday I begin with a few of these techniques to create a meditative period for myself. To be alone with the good thoughts and weasel out the bad. Focus on goals and opportunities I wish to create in my life.

Notice I said I wish to create? We are the creators of our lives. Every step you take and decision you make is leading you through the path of life you wish to take.

Quote 2

The above quote summarises exactly my point. Happiness is just a state of mind you choose. You choose to be positive or negative. You can either choose to look at the reason why your friend hasn’t text you back because, “they don’t care and are ignoring me because they hate me” or perhaps they’re super busy and got caught up with something and are waiting to text you back ASAP.

I find it’s human nature of the mind to lose our thoughts in endless ways.

Picture this, you’ve finished work/school for the day. You’re already in a bad mood because ‘xyz’ happened and are at a local supermarket picking up food before home. As you walk to your car carrying bags in your hands, your mind is running through a list of endless thoughts.

Internal dialogue, “I’ve got so much shit I have to do when I get home, clean up, wash the dog, cook dinner, then I have to pack everyone’s lunch for tomorrow and then if I’m lucky I might be able to go to the gym, then take a shower or take a bath, then…dammit why is this person parked so close to me? Do people not know how to park these days? Honestly who gives them a licence to drive? They better not have scratched my car with their door. I hate people who are so inconsiderate of others. I hate people! Idiots! (then your bag of groceries breaks open and a glass jar of something spills everywhere onto the asphalt). Oh great. That’s just my bloody luck isn’t it? Now I have to go all the way inside again and waste more time and now I’m running late! F my life.”

You can’t say your mind hasn’t ever done this before? Spiraled out of control where your mind is full of unclear thoughts that only leads to more disastrous things appearing like a domino effect.

To combat this these are just some of the ways I actively create a more positive start to my day and encourage mindful thought patterns. It’s recommended to do this earlier on in the day as the longer you put it off the more you probably won’t end up doing it.

Affirmations

  • Keep these short and simple
  • Keep them positive
  • E.G – “I am calm, I am calm, I am calm”
  • Use these when you’re doing something like walking to your car, walking your dog, waiting in line for something.

Repeat out aloud (if alone) or in your head for 5 minutes.

Acknowledging

  • Write a list of the things you’ve accomplished in life, things that make you happy i.e “I’m a safe driver, I’m a great cook” etc.
  • Continue the list when you think of more.

Read this list daily for 5 minutes.

Vision Board

  • Create a board, piece of cardboard heck even a Pinterest board of images you love.
  • See a marvelous sunset? Pin it, stick it.
  • See some pictures of your favourite holiday destination? Pin it, stick it.

Look over this collage everyday for 5 minutes.

Meditation/Creation Period

  • Meditate and imagine yourself where you want to be, imagine the feeling of already having what you want, imagine the sensory experience such as scents you would smell, things you could touch, things you can see and hear.

This takes practice. Aim for 10 minutes but start in small increments.

20 – 30 minutes is all you need to commit to yourself a day to evoke positive, feel good emotions. Then continue with your day. Do it for yourself.

I truly hope you found this post helpful, I encourage you to talk to someone if you have concerns.

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist. None of the information provided is substitute for an actual consultation with your healthcare professional. Always speak to your healthcare professional when unsure. Seek help if you are struggling with mental illness.

You are not alone in this.

Love yourself, love your health.

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