Mental Health Month, Part 2
After learning that you can’t just run away from your mental illnesses, I’ve been actively trying to learn what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to my anxiety. It was kind of a shock at first, that I could be so far away from my life and in such a beautiful place and still feel anxious and depressed. My memory, as a defense mechanism, tends to forget the bad and only remembers the good. This is a really nice thing, but it also means that I so easily forget that this happens every time I go on a trip. I’m always disappointed that I can’t just leave all my stuff at home and have a good time.
That isn’t to say I haven’t been having a good time, because I have been having a wonderful trip and I think it has been exactly what I needed. I’ve been learning a lot about myself and taking the time and putting in the effort to work on myself. I thought I would share some of these things, so below are three things I have accomplished in the past few weeks during my vacation:
- I’m reading more.
This might not seem big, but it is a huge accomplishment for me. Until this trip, I hadn’t read a book cover to cover since January. That’s almost embarrassing to admit, as I used to be such a book worm.
I wasn’t that I was unable to read these past months because I was too busy. It’s that I actually could not sit still long enough to read more than a couple pages at a time. And when I did read, I wasn’t interested at all, likely because I couldn’t keep certain thoughts from racing through my head. I literally could not relax long enough to make it through a chapter.
I brought numerous books on this trip, hoping that I would be able to relax long enough to read them. I’m a little late to the game, but I just finally finished one of them! I’m already onto my next one, and I am hoping that I’ll be able to continue reading once I am back home.
- I’m not obsessively checking my email, or my phone.
In fact, I’m not even checking my email at all really. This is big for me. Checking my phone turned into a bad habit and something that I would do far too often. I don’t know when or why I started obsessively checking my phone, but it got really bad these past few months. I felt like there was always something else I had to do, or that I would miss something important if I didn’t check my phone. Sometimes it takes physical distance to learn that your world won’t collapse if you check out from it for a while.
- I’m learning when I need to force myself to get out, and when I need to stay in.
Sometimes making the hard choice is the right thing, but not always. I have struggled for a long time with knowing when I am allowing my anxiety or depression to take over or when I just need a break from the world. It’s a fine line. I do not want to let my anxiety or depression win, so I often try and force myself to go out or to do something that I don’t really want to do. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it makes it worse.
I’m slowly learning how to navigate this. The other day, my anxiety was bad and I did not want to leave the house. But then I felt trapped. I compromised and went for a run. I still had to interact with humans in some capacity, but I could still be by myself. The view during my run, which I snapped some pics of and included in this post, made it worth it.
Today it was stormy out and raining pretty hard, my favourite weather. I wanted to stay in bed all day, but I knew that wasn’t a smart idea. To get myself up, I made myself pick up a coffee instead of making some at home. But then I came home to spend the day reading (and writing this post). It was exactly what I needed.