May is Mental Health month, which I have found through the years to be the leader of your overall health.
If your mind and heart are healthy, then your body can follow suit. But it is very difficult, maybe near impossible to have one without the other. And I have learned that through difficult, and very personal experience. But I am sharing that with you today because I find the openness of this topic to be so important. It is rarely spoken about but affects more people in your life than you can imagine.
There are so many variations of mental health and so many ways in which it can effect and debilitate your life! I’ve been there. I’ve spoken about my eating disorders before, but what people many times forget is that mental health is beyond the consumption or non-consumption of food. It effects your happiness, your emotions, your self esteem, and can taint the relationships with those closest to you. There were days that I couldn’t get off of the couch, and not in the let’s-binge-watch-our-favorite-show kind of way. It effected my relationship with my family, my productivity at work, and who knows how many friendships!
For me it took a few years for me to really acknowledge that there was something real happening that needed to be addressed. I started going to therapy, I ended a relationship that was LONG overdue and, in fact, was making everything worse, and I changed my job! All in an effort to get myself in a positive and better place.
Don’t misunderstand this as saying these were quick fixes, or that those even exist. But they were changes that, in the long term, helped to alter my mindset and perspective. Therapy is a long process that helps even more every time you attend. And while the job change and relationships purge (:-D) helped, there was more deep down that was of a higher priority. And once that was addressed, other things are slowly allowed to fall into place.
I always used to get frustrated when people would tell me “things will happen when they’re supposed to happen”, or “they’ll happen when you’re ready for (or open to) them”. I used to think that was hogwash (for lack of a better, or PG, term). These days it is a world of instant gratification. So, if I can have everything else at my fingertips and within minutes, why should this be any different? I learned the hard way.
I cannot stress how important this next part is to my entire outlook on a positive mental health and outlook on your life. So pay attention!
Changing your perspective on the world will change your world’s perspective. And no, that’s not just a cliche or a poster I read somewhere that thought would be useful in this post. I read this in a book years ago and have reminded of myself of it everyday! If you wish that better and more positive things would come your way, then go into every day being more positive! Because otherwise, you will have a negative outlook on everything, making those positive possibilities less likely, merely because you aren’t seeing them. They could be happening to you every day, but you’re just not paying enough positive attention.
Less than a year after I made all of those changes in my life, I got a message on Facebook from someone from elementary school. Four months later, I went on a road trip to meet up with that person and have dinner. Three years later, we got married. Now, people can call it fate, they can call it whatever they want, but I know that if I hadn’t changed my job, started working on myself, my happiness, and openness to these positive things in life, then none of this would have been possible. So everyone can now say “I told you so!” because the things that I was hoping for came to me when I was ready and open for them. No sooner.
Now, does this mean that every day is sunshine and rainbows? Absolutely not! It is still a daily struggle and constant effort to keep all the work that I have done up until now from unravelling. And there is still more work to be done! New challenges in life will come up, new stages in life bringing new and scary opportunities. I have faced a ton of those these past few years; new cities, friends, jobs, opportunities! It would have been easy to sit quietly and let those pass me by. Probably a little less stressful too. But I’d rather be where I am today, then where I was five years ago.
But like I said, mental health is about so much more these days than just one area of our lives. I am dedicating all of my posts this month to things that make me mentally and physically happy. Because with one, comes the other, right?