Members of the Restore Me team and community have come together to talk about their journey with mental health, offering support and guidance by opening up and sharing what helped them through such turbulent times.
When I was around 17, over 12 years ago I had chronic anxiety and depression. What started off as panic attacks, quickly turned into health anxiety, where I was convinced I had every illness under the sun. I went to my first yoga class and once I’d allowed myself that space to sit and breathe with myself, I already felt subtle shifts. I started reading self help books which gave me clarity that I am not my thoughts and emotions, but rather they just pass through me. I went through a year of therapy, had multiple different teachers and have now found methods that work for me. Meditation, breath work, movement, inner child healing and much more. I still have days or weeks where I struggle because I am human and our mental health is going to hit negative points at time. The main thing to remember is that these negative emotions should not be framed as ‘bad’, they are simply emotions just like the high ones and we must experience all of them to be truly human. It is totally ok to not be ok, but having the tools to help manage challenging times is essential.
Today I realise listening for those subtle cues are vital to catch yourself before you fall too deep; you can then give your body and mind what it needs. I now teach yoga and hold healing sessions for others so that I can hold space allowing energy to pass through and come home to ourselves.
For years I always felt that mental health was such a taboo subject and not something I could never open up about. Honestly, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I took the first step in opening up to two close friends of mine. I never really understood the power of communication until I experienced their love and support. This encouraged me to start making a conscious effort again with those close to me and those I haven’t spoken to in a while, which made me realise I wasn’t the only person going through this and that it is (and I can’t stress this enough) so normal. It is completely ok not to be ok.
After opening up and confronting my feelings head on, I rediscovered my love of being active; walking almost everywhere instead of taking the bus, doing regular workouts, whilst also taking time out to relax with some yoga or reading. This is what I have found works best for me at this moment in time and how I maintain my balance. I do my best to be active everyday, not necessarily to look good but to feel good, whilst taking some time for myself and those around me.
Personally, I’ve found that yoga helps me. I never seem to have been able to meditate but I can switch off completely when doing yoga now (which took me a long time!). This moving meditation helps with my focus and allows me time to relax and de-stress.
For years my mental health is something I feared and felt ashamed of. For years, I was desperate to be fixed and like ‘everybody else’. However, it is only when we share our stories that we realise how common these feelings are and how brave it is to embrace them. Nowadays, I take pride in who I am, I shout loudly about how wonderful it is to seek therapy, medications, and whatever help you need. It’s easy to forget these things, but the old proverb of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and asking for help and support has always given me a beacon of hope.