Looking after my mind

Diary, Mental Health

I’ve had a pretty eventful week in mental health and it’s only Thursday! It has also been quite the roller coaster in terms of emotions for me.

I attended a meeting with the staff from The Mount last Thursday, to talk about my proposal for a photography project. Walking into a room of 15 ladies was really rather daunting! I was already flustered from getting lost on my way there. However, after fighting the desire to run away as fast as I could, the ice was broken with a joke and I talked passionately about my idea for the project. They were really interested and made me feel at ease, which helped me to deliver the ideas without hesitation and panic. Some of the staff are keen to get involved too. Hopefully I will be able to share more about the project as it commences.

I completed my Mental Health First Aid training at the beginning of the week, which was hard going at times. On the Monday, we covered Depression and Suicide, which sadly stirred up some pretty dark memories from my past. Not something I’ve readily spoken about, or even feel prepared to share publicly, it put me on quite a downer for the rest of the evening. I learnt from this experience, that whilst being open and honest about my current state of my mind and selective episodes from my past, it’s not easy for others to hear what you have to say about darker times. I’m lucky I have some really good friends though, and receiving a phone call from one such good friend, later that evening, put everything into perspective, she is empathic and doesn’t judge which is what I needed. It is important to find a support network, friends or family with who you can trust, this doesn’t mean you are always dependent on them, as that can be pretty draining for a person, but having a give and take relationship in terms of care, is mentally healthy for you both.

The following day, we covered anxiety and psychosis. I have been experiencing increased anxiety which has come about due to my depression, and something I am currently working on with my therapist (more of later), so this was the section I was most interested to learn about. Self care is something I am struggling with, it’s quite tiring constantly worrying, and listening to the voice telling you you aren’t worth anything. I’m hoping what I have learnt I can put into practice with myself, I need to treat myself much better. I’m very interested in Mindfulness, and really think it is something I should take seriously.

I have started my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and this week we looked at situations and triggers that create my negative critical thinking. My therapist told me from what she read in my diary that I was extremely hard on myself. “Would you call somebody a failure because they couldn’t complete that task”? I replied, “that’s a bit harsh”! Exactly, why call yourself a failure when you wouldn’t label someone else that? I hope I can reeducate my way of thinking, I know it’s a long journey, twenty years of beating myself up is some punishment. My goal is to silence the poison parrot on my shoulder for good.

Following my morning session with CBT, I travel over to South Leeds Community Radio for the afternoon. Myself and other volunteers from Time To Change Leeds are currently learning radio production and will be hosting a monthly show after the training is complete. I have discovered I have a radio voice! Who’d have thought, I generally hate hearing myself speak! I’m looking forward to getting more involved as the project progresses.

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See that smile and remember it.