My Mental Health in 2020: Part 3, Bonus Edition

I didn’t think I’d be writing another post on my mental health this year, but here we are! The reason I felt the need to write again was because of an unexpected blip, perhaps a small slippery patch of mud on the side of the hill I described in part 2, but as I was climbing up, I lost my footing and thought I was about to tumble down.

Luckily I managed to regain my grip, and we are steadily climbing again.

Before we start, if you haven’t caught up on where we are so far, you can check out my previous posts here:

Unexpected Events Occur

On what seemed to be a normal Tuesday evening in mid-August, a family member suddenly became extremely vulnerable medically. When this has happened in the past, especially after so many years of dealing with my nan and granddad’s health conditions, I usually switch into a focussed mode immediately and start working on solving the issue. This time I was absolutely powerless.

I couldn’t help, nor could I physically see the person and support them due to the distance required to travel and COVID-19 restrictions. I didn’t know what to do and neither did Stacey. The normal plan is for Stacey to worry and for me to drive, and then I carry out logistics whilst she sits with the person to keep them company. This shouldn’t have been both of us sitting there worrying with no action being carried out whatsoever! It didn’t feel right, and it still doesn’t.

For various reasons I will say no more on this situation, but this is what caused me to start feeling rubbish mentally again.

Why?

I purposely used the word ‘rubbish’ in the previous sentence – I didn’t anywhere near as I did previously, but I had finally recognised the signs of how my own mental health can deteriorate, and that in itself was an extremely interesting journey.

As a result I decided to take up the therapy service from work again in which I had previously used the one-off service, but I felt it would be better to take the six sessions this time which required a consultation prior to having any. I seem to have fixed my surface-level issues through new activities such as writing this blog and cycling, but there’s something else niggling away in the back of my mind which I can’t quite grasp. Whilst someone who is depressed doesn’t necessarily fit a particular profile, I noticed I have started describing my days as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days. A classic sign.

Anyway, this consultation took place on the 24th and I realised that I have two major problems as a result of talking to the therapist:

  • I have so many ‘Why?’ questions that I simply cannot answer, and some have already come up in this blog! I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the bottom of this, but at least being able to manage the expectations of what I can answer will help me moving forward.
  • My anxiety kicks in and overtakes everything I do if I can’t find a path forward. I don’t necessarily feel a need to be in control, but if there’s a challenge ahead, I like to be able to see a few stepping stones ahead to identify progress. This runs through my veins at home and at work, particularly as my role is based on software delivery where everything will always fall back to logical statements that are binary, or, ‘the science’ as we all like to call it since COVID-19 hit.

Thoughts

Admittedly there’s no real beginning, middle, and end to this post, but I just thought it was worth sharing with you that a mental health journey isn’t an ‘A to B’.

You’ll get diverted along the way, hit every single red traffic light along the way, and sometimes you might even feel like you’ve driven for miles only to find yourself at the same junction again and again on the same journey.

So many people are suffering with their mental health right now. Remember, it’s ok to not feel ecstatic every day, and it’s about learning from the whole journey, not just the good times.

To conclude this mental health series, I leave you with this ~11 minute video by CPG Grey – “Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You”. It is worth a watch, and so are his other videos!

In our house we’ve tried to reflect some of the elements explained in this video:

  • We swapped our dining rooms and living rooms around. We spend more time at the laptops than we do entertaining ourselves, and with our ‘normal’ layout work and play were starting to blend. Now, our dining room is no longer a ‘through’ room between the living room and kitchen, so our work activity and visibility of our laptops stay firmly away from us during the evenings and weekends.
  • We try to avoid early nights which actually mean watching the TV or playing games on our phones in bed, and only go upstairs for bed. This means our relaxation activities stay within one confined area of the house, and we seem to be able to sleep better.

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