Be Your Own Shoulder

“You know you can always call me”

“Check in on your friends”

“My DMs are open”

These are tweets and statuses I’ve seen posted across social media with the increase in society “Normalising the Conversation” around mental health. But it is really interesting knowing just how many people you can count on. It’s a difficult one…

I’m forever thankful for the people who did check up on me during my times of struggle and who still do now. They’d always suggest going out to eat, to an event or just send a text to see how I was whilst cracking a joke. But a majority of the time, while struggling with anxiety and depression, there was always a niggling feeling that it wasn’t enough. Then at other times there was no one around at all. So you begin the constant cycle of questioning everything and everyone, further driving yourself into the state of isolation and falling into loneliness, developing the feelings of long periods of sadness (i.e. depression) and constantly worrying about what people think, say or don’t say to you (i.e. anxiety) …. you know where I’m going with this! You then realise that you can’t always call someone up, can’t always have the support you want or get the strength you need from others.

When I came to my wits end I decided that enough was enough. I wasn’t able to wait on someone to save me or wanting a friend to be there for me. Because if you do, you’ll be waiting for a LONG time. As my sister once told me “Other people can’t save you from your mental health issues. You can only save yourself”.

And she’s right!

Yes, there is medication to help. Yes, there is therapy to begin the process. For some, me included, there is religion, faith & prayer that provide helpful tools to pull you out of your pain & struggle. But at the end of all of these options it is YOU that has to put in the work for you!

Below are helpful ideas you can adopt that I learnt and applied to myself, helping me find my inner strength to improving my health:

1. Write down your short and long term goals

Doing this allows you to focus on your personal, career and relationship goals and ambitions, knowing and understanding the process you need to embark on and how to handle the journey to achieve and win.

2.  Surround yourself with people who love YOU

These people may not be who YOU love. It may not be your oldest friend or family member (as they may not be as good for you as you may think), but surround yourself with people who want to see you become better. They can form part of your circle to help improve your health and surroundings.

3. Feel affirmed as you affirm others

Showing love and affirming others enables you to find the words not only to bless someone else but also apply to yourself. As mentioned in the “Encourage Yourself” post, words are so powerful. The more you speak positive things into the atmosphere the easier you’ll be able to see them become a reality. Encourage a friend, compliment a stranger and spread love online. Before you know it you’ll be receiving and accepting those same words yourself.

4. Take each step and day as they come

You will have bad days. It’s life. But it is how you react to those days that determine the outcome. Know your triggers and when you experience them, know the healthiest way to deal with it.

5. Remember where you once were and never want to be again

This is my life motto. I know where I was when I was at my darkest and I never want to experience that period of my life again. Use that as your focal point and something to remember when making the needed changes, without letting it trigger you, and see how things can transform for the better.

All in all, it is a privilege to have someone check up on you but keep in mind that is not always guaranteed. It is good to build and strengthen your own inner support system as well as a physical one.