I have had mental health issues since I was young. I guess now I would be considered as having chronic depression and anxiety with a little PTSD thrown in for good measure. There have been times where I have had talking therapies and times I have been on medication. In fact most of my adult life I have been on medication for my mental health. I have never felt perfectly okay. Knowing that is a strange feeling and I want to share that with you in this post. Maybe it will help someone else to see they are okay with not being okay.
Why I am not okay
I have had issues with my mental health and my feelings since I was probably about 8 if I am really honest with myself. The first time I really remember my feelings though is when I was about 12. I felt worthless and like I didn’t fit in with the world. There are many reasons why I feel this way and I will share some of those with you.
If you have read about my relationship with my dad you will know that I struggled with that. I guess when you have been let down your entire life by someone who should love you unconditionally it hits hard. The way that my dad affected my life I think is that I felt worthless because of this. Why wouldn’t you feel worthless if one of your parents had treated you this way?
Abusive relationships have of course not helped the way I feel. I have spent a lot of my life being let down by men who should have loved me and treated me with nothing but love and care. The way they treated me only compounded the feelings I had of not being someone anyone would like.
Why I know I should be ok
I am so happy with my life right now. I have a great relationship with a man who understands me more than even any counsellor ever has. Stuart makes me so happy in a way no one ever has. He is everything I always dreamed of and treats me like I am his everything. I have an amazing son who is my world. Ben is such a funny and loving boy who has a quirky sense of humour and really is everything to me. Ben is growing into a fabulous young man who I am so proud to call my son.
I have some amazing friends and have learnt how to see who really are friends and who are what I would call fair weather friends. I am working on not allowing myself to be used by anyone claiming to be my friend and to say no to people when they are taking advantage. I am also working on not feeling the need to be accepted by everyone and not letting it get to me.
I am absolutely loving working for myself with my blog and have never felt more in control of my future. It works so well around me and if I am not well I can have time off if I need to. Having a bad period with my mental health is not well in my eyes. Some may call it a breakdown, others a bad patch, but to me its just not being well. It just happens the not well is in my brain not my body.
So why am I still not okay?
Despite counselling and medications I am still not okay. I still struggle because my head has grown to see me as worthless and useless. When I am well and logical I know that I am happy and have a great life. I can see that the way I have been treated in the past is not my fault and that I can make my own future. When I am unwell though I am not in control of my emotions and I feel worthless, unhappy and a failure at life.
It is okay though that I have periods when I am not well. If my illness was physical and I had weeks or months when my arms just wouldn’t do what I needed them to I would accept that wouldn’t I? I would know that was out of my control and learn to accept that. Why should mental health be any different? I am working on this and accepting that it is okay not to be okay and that it isn’t my fault.
The symptoms I have when I am not well are that I try to make everyone happy by doing anything for anyone. This doesn’t mean people can take advantage of me though as I am more aware of those that do that now. I cry a lot and feel like nothing I do is good enough. I struggle to feel accepted by people and avoid people so I don’t feel like a failure. When I am not well I push people away and don’t want to see them, this is because I feel like they can do better than spend time with me.
Counselling and Medication
I have accepted that I will probably never be able to take away the way I feel because I can never change the past. I can however get as much help as possible with reducing these symptoms. I know medication will never change everything and isn’t a miracle cure but I do know that if I need it then it is nothing to be ashamed of. I am going to talk more about the issues I have both with people I trust and professionals. Most of all though I am going to be honest with you guys too because I share so much and want to be sure to share the good and bad. When I started Just Average Jen it was to share my life with anyone who wanted to read, the ups and downs and how weight losses and gains affect your life.
How are you?
Next time someone asks how you are, instead of answering “good thanks, you?” try being honest and help me to break the stigma behind depression, anxiety and mental health in general. It is okay to not be okay. If someone asked how you were and you had a terrible sore throat and were off work with back problems you would likely admit that wouldn’t you? So admit you are struggling mentally. You do not have to go into detail because I rarely do, but you can say, “I’m not great to be honest, my depression isn’t good at the moment. I will be okay though, how are you?”. Maybe you wouldn’t say that to the checkout assistant at the supermarket but a friend who is asking, why not?
It’s okay to not be okay
So, how are you today? I am struggling but I am going to be ok because I have got through these feelings before and I know I will again.