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We’re in the 21st century, so if you still believe that mental trauma, pain or illness isn’t a real thing, kindly refresh your brain. I think it’s wonderful that we’ve finally started addressing the stigma around said topic and for the most part, people do have the awareness that one’s mental well-being is just as important as their physical health.
If you or anyone you know has ever had to suffer mentally, regardless of how extreme or not, first of all, I am sorry—I am sorry for how people may have treated you, how the world may have treated you and how you may have treated yourself. Here are a few reality checks you should consider if you haven’t already;
- Time will only heal wounds if you let it.
- Pain only passes if you first let yourself feel it.
- If something’s on your mind, it’s not ‘nothing’.
- TALK to someone—even if it’s Siri, seriously. (just get it off your chest before deciding on anything or taking any action).
- Going to a psychologist/therapist doesn’t mean you’re ‘crazy’.
- Running from your problems won’t make them disappear.
- Confrontations suck but anxiously waiting for them is worse, get it over with.
Before we move onto the list, do keep in mind that everyone deals with pain differently, and so, your strengths, weaknesses, ways of interpretation and literally everything else won’t necessarily be something that others can understand or relate to, which is all right. Your journey is different but that doesn’t make your pain any less important or painful, and if no one in the world is understanding, let yourself be the one who understands. Likewise, your way of healing won’t necessarily be the same as others’, which again, is okay—all it takes is determination, trial and error to find out what suits you best. Below are the steps that helped me best;
STEP 1: Distract Yourself Until You Find Yourself
I’ve come to the realisation that it’s pretty ignorant of us to be so stubborn with our preferences when we haven’t bothered trying out everything or even most of the things in that same bandwidth. This applies to literally everything—I mean, for example, I blog instead of vlog because I believe that the latter makes me uncomfortable EVEN THOUGH I haven’t ever tried it, or for example, I don’t think Rugby’s the sport for me, again, EVEN THOUGH I’ve never played it. These are just two examples that popped into my head, and if you really think about it, the majority of us use this ‘process of elimination’ if you will, to keep us safe and protected in our comfort zones, when honestly, there isn’t much room for growth in comfort zones.
Healing is difficult—really, really difficult, especially in the beginning when you don’t even know how to or if you even want to. So, the easiest thing for me was to bury myself in a-million-and-three activities so that I didn’t even have time to think about anything. This is where my blog/website, book, extra coursework, internships, sports and spontaneous decisions (like hosting an event or interviewing for the student council) come(s) in because I knew that the one thing I needed the most was a break from my own brain.
STEP 2: Connect to a Constant
In the previous step, the main goal was to look for and eventually, find yourself but uncovering a new identity or looking for a purpose is pretty exhausting work, if you ask me, and so, it’s absolutely vital that you have something to fall back on (a constant, unwavering support system) when you want to take a break to avoid spiralling downwards. In many cases, people make others their rock without understanding that humans or humanity isn’t a constant, but a variable, which is probably why when your favourite person acts different, needs space, has mood swings, you feel awful or you blame it on yourself or your sense of self-esteem greatly depreciates—it’s all because when you needed a constant, you added another variable to the equation.
We all need a rock, a home base, a safe space, something to fall back onto without fearing its durability. This support system can be unique for everyone but all that matters is that it’s a constant. For me, it was and is my religion.
STEP 3: Contribute to Society
By the time you start understanding the importance of respecting yourself and actually start enjoying spending time with yourself, you’re ready for this step. Being humans, we’re social creatures, and so, alienation usually has adverse effects on our thoughts and behaviours, which is why once you feel like the light’s just in your reach or you’re almost there, the push you need is from others.
Society isn’t always the devil or the evil witch we make it out to be—sure, it has its negative faces but not all of it’s bad. By participating in community service or volunteering to help others, not only do you uplift the ones around you but yourself too because it helps you feel less alienated and more a vital part of something bigger than you. If you feel like you can’t verbally or physically help the people around you, maybe start an anonymous Instagram page that can help others out etc. There’s always some way you can contribute to society, so make sure you do your part.
Wrapping it Up
At the end of the day, just make sure that no matter how much you want to give up, not giving up is always worth it, whether it’s through your own successes or through the smile of a stranger. Hope this article helps!