This month it is Mental Health Awareness Month in Australia. I wanted to publish a post relating to mental health every day of the month so that I can personally raise awareness. You can find all posts, posted & upcoming on my schedule. I was diagnosed with depression & anxiety when I was 19 but I had been battling it for years before I sought help and began to accept it as a part of my life.
My primary mental health struggle is with anxiety. When my anxiety is high, I can become depressed. It comes and goes in waves but learning to accept that it is a part of me was very difficult. I thought that by accepting my Mental Health as a consistent part of me, that it would mean it had defeated me. I know now, that it actually means it is healing me.
4 Ways That Accepting Your Mental Health Can Heal You
You Understand Yourself
By accepting your diagnosis, you are understanding yourself better. Instead of rejecting your feelings, you can say to yourself “ok, I’m feeling this way because of anxiety, I now get to choose how I respond” instead of bottling it all up & reacting in ways that you aren’t fully in control of. You learn to distinguish when your behaviour is down to the circumstances, your health, or a combination of the two. This understanding of yourself will improve your confidence and resilience as you get more experience.
You Can Move Forwards
When you’re living in denial or hiding a part of yourself, you’re stuck. You can’t move forwards if you’re always worrying what others may think or if you’re refusing to acknowledge your own feelings. With acceptance, you can start to rationalise through your problems more productivity. Thoughts like “who am I to feel depressed, it can’t be so” are not helpful. You don’t need to feel guilty about your Mental Health. It doesn’t discriminate. Once you accept this, you can start to move forward.
Others Will Accept You More Easily
I hate the phrase ‘how can anyone else love you if you don’t love yourself’ and I completely disagree. This is not that! If you are confident in your mental health, that is, you can confidently say ‘listen, I have depression and things are feeling difficult right now’, people in your life should be more compassionate. If you say ‘nothing is wrong, I’m fine’ they will either believe you or leave you to deal with your problems alone. People will accept you cancelling plans, being more tired & a change in your behaviour more easily when they understand that it’s due to being in a low mental health state.
You Will Feel More At Peace
There is something peaceful about accepting your diagnosis. At least, for me there was. I avoided the doctor for years, hiding my anxiety & depression out of fear and denial. Having the doctor ask me questions & being referred for counselling was really hard, but within a few days I started feeling more at peace. I was still suffering, but knowing that it’s because of a chemical imbalance in my brain and I wasn’t feeling that way for no reason, it soothed me. It might sound strange but it’s true. By going to the doctor, I accepted that I shouldn’t feel that way & that was my first step in trying to move forwards.
Once I accepted that Mental Health is a part of me, I realised that it would never go away. This might sound scary to some, but for me it’s a comfort. It is knowing that it is remissive. It reminds me to enjoy the carefree times while they’re available.
Accepting that I will have periods of depression & anxiety in my life doesn’t fill me with despair like it used to. Instead, it gives me hope when I’m in ‘the dark place’ that I will come out of it again. As often as I’ll fall back into a downward spiral, I WILL feel joy again. You don’t know that on your first experience. It feels as though you will never feel ok again.
How has accepting your Mental Health impacted your life?