Two years ago today, I had a blog a bit like this one. It’s not around anymore. It was my academic blog, to be used alongside the PhD I’d just started. (The PhD’s not around any more either, funnily enough). I deleted the rest of the site, when it became apparent I wasn’t going to be heading back to academia any time soon—but there were two posts I felt a bit attached to, and couldn’t quite bring myself to bin.
One was a memorial for a man I loved very much. The other was a post where I spoke publicly, in quite some detail, about my views on mental health, and how we needed more awareness, more visibility, of this problem that seemed so rapidly to be becoming an epidemic.
It was a good post; lots of people read it, and told me so. (You can read it here, if you like.) I wrote about being a student and having poor mental heath; the negative effect of social media, the crushing weight of imposter syndrome. I also wrote, quite candidly, about the incident of poor mental health I had suffered. Had, past-tense, done and dusted. I was ‘feeling better’ now, I coyly suggested; I may even have buoyantly claimed to be ‘absolutely loving’ (!) where I was at. I was cured. Maybe even as happy as my former self. (But probably never as happy as my toddler self).
Hindsight’s a bitch. I was just warming up.
But, regardless of what was to follow (spoiler: HUGE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN!) I still remember a feeling from that time; of sharing my innermost thoughts, and being met with warmth and kindness. There’s much healing to be had in sharing. I didn’t continue writing publicly, busy as I was with the whole ‘constructing myself into something resembling a functioning adult’ business.
But I did continue writing, and learning, and talking. After hitting a rock bottom lower than a 2008 Flo Rida hit, and slowly dragging myself back up, I tried every method going to improve my mental health, and after that, my fundamental happiness levels. I rebuilt as a person, and I wobbled, and I dipped again, but every month was a lesson. And now, two years on, I know there is no such thing as cured. There’s only learning to cope, and more importantly, learning what you need to live a happy life after suffering with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Along the way, I’ve written thousands of words about how best to live my own happy life, and the mental health crisis currently on-going in Britain in the 21st century. I’ve also had hundreds of conversations with people across the world, who’ve shared their stories and their wisdom.
I literally get paid to spend my days writing, so I always had it in mind that one day I might find a place to publish some of these thoughts.* Like Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday, my return to blogging has been long-expected by myself if no-one else. Now, on the 2-year anniversary of that post, I thought it was about time I shared some of that good stuff. It will definitely help me. It might even help someone else.
*Also: opinions, rants, recipes, and potentially some snaps of me marauding around London, or going on holidays I can’t really afford.