In the first part of this series, Neue spoke with four readers who suffer from mental health struggles, and shared their experiences in grappling with the difficulties of living normally, happily while fighting their own mental battles.
However, it should also be said that it’s in the darkness that light shines the brightest, and this is one thing all of us need to take away from our own experiences and battles.
Just as they have been at their lowest, all four have also found ways to help them cope with each of their mental health issues.
While there is no one, surefire method to fix one’s mental illness, it’s worth finding out what helps.
It’s in the little steps you make that you begin to find moving forward, while difficult, isn’t impossible.
“Maintaining one’s emotional well-being has always been a working progress. We don’t always have control over what happens to us, but there is power in our choices,” Spinelle says. “One of the things I do is ‘compassionate self-talk’. Self-talk is about how you talk to yourself, and starts with the way you think. It takes a lot of practice, so one way to approach it is to start treating yourself like how you’d treat your friend.”
And if that doesn’t help, perhaps find a few things that might work to soothe your emotions.
“Listening to the sounds of the piano playing helps,” Otter97 shares. “Going to the beach -- the sound of the waves, the way the sand feels and the smell of the air just tingles all my senses and puts me at ease.”Sometimes, doing physical activities help as well.
Otter97 says, “Hitting the gym and doing weight training gave me a space to ‘lash out’, and even a sense of direction in terms of the goals I want to achieve, and how I can improve.”
Azka agrees with the sentiment.
“Football helps. When I play, for the first time since this happened after I came back from overseas, my mind is clear and I’m at peace. No dark clouds, then.”“Doing something outside of my daily routine helps too,” Azka continues. “Breaking the loop — for example, if I continue the cycle of going to work in the morning, and then coming back home in the evening to do my freelancing work, that would just drive me crazy.”
One of the things Neue’s guests raised up in our latest At The Table video on mental health was the importance of having someone to talk to.
Who’s your person?
“While I have meds and little coping mechanisms to help me get through the day, my girlfriend also gives me a reason to try every day, so we can have a future together,” John says.
“Talking to people who are important to you helps too,” Azka says. “It was hard for me to open up at first, but I’m glad I did.”
With mental health issues, there will be good days, and not-so-great days for anyone who has come face to face with said issues.
But everyone is deserving of being treated with kindness, and if not understanding, then at least acceptance.
“Not everyone knows what you’re going through, but being treated like a normal person is comforting,” John says.
“I’d feel worse if I noticed a change in the way people were treating me before and after I told them about my issues. I don’t want to be treated any differently, and the reason I told them was to help them understand why I was behaving in a certain way,” Otter97 shares.
Azka adds, “I don’t really expect or want people to sympathize with me. Instead of wondering and doubting if I really do have a mental illness, I just need them to be a bit more understanding and considerate.”
Words to uplift, heal and help
Mental health exists and is experienced on a spectrum; there are no exact copies of mental health issues, because everyone’s wired differently.
Some probably have it worse than others.
Some may have more good days, and still others will find it the most difficult thing to lift up their head and leave the bed to face just one more day.
But this doesn’t invalidate anyone’s experiences in the very least.
Hurt recognises hurt -- and there is more than enough of it going around without everyone putting one another down for the way they feel.
Because at the end of the day, perhaps what you might need to hear the most is simply a word of encouragement, to give you that much-needed lift lift in your spirits.
“Take good care of yourself. At the end of the day it’s your body, your life. You come first before everything else.” -- Azka.
“You need to love yourself before you expect others to. To know that your feelings are your own, that they are valid. I used to throw myself at people expecting them to be my saviour but life would have been a lot easier or convenient if I had loved myself the way I wanted other people to. Take action to better yourself and your circumstances, and don’t expect it to happen without the work and effort.” -- Spinelle.
“Your mental health is as important as your physical health and that it is not a sign of weakness. Please do talk to somebody or seek help. This doesn’t mean that you’re weak but it is a sign of strength. You are stronger than you think, after all, look at how far you’ve come! I believe in you from the deepest part of my heart and so does everyone who is a part of your life. You got this.” -- Otter97.
Neue hopes that our readers, wherever they are and whatever mental health state they’re in right now, know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
And while it is our choice to walk towards it, the journey we experience, the battles we fight, and the struggles that make us slip up and the small victories that keep us going -- all of those will only make it all the more worth it when that warmth hits our skin, and our smiles come a little easier, our shoulders a little lighter.
For more information on available medical help regarding psychology services and specialist psychiatry services, click here.