So, we are on the last leg of this weird year. How everybody is feeling?
Can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! How did that happen? It’s gone so quick and I am exhausted. So much happened over the past twelve months, not only globally, but in my life, and I think everybody is feeling similar to me – it’s definitely a year not to forget.
One of the biggest lesson I will take out of this ‘experience’ is not to take anything for granted. I am a strong advocate for mental health and as much as I believe physical health is super important, how we look after our mental wellbeing should matter the most. Looking back at how some of us are usually feeling at the beginning of each new year, we are hopeful, full of new resolutions, excited for new goals and chapters, but that moment quickly disappears due to lack of sun, short days, cold temperatures and before we know it, we are depressed and miserable again. And it’s just February. You know the story, right? You keep waiting for spring and summer and all those blooming flowers on trees because you know your life will get so much more fun then. So this January the story was no different, you know the drill – Dry January, Long February, Wet March, etc… But then, just as you thought it’s going to get pretty awesome again, you hear stories on news about this virus in Asia that is spreading quicker than melted butter on toast, but you calmly think: ‘nah, it ain’t gonna catch me, it’s on the other side of the world!’. Fast forward to few weeks later and well, I don’t understand myself what happened then. Global lockdown, terminations of jobs, deaths, suicides, hospital admissions, a ban to travel or to see your loved ones, economic turmoil… I mean what the hell happened?? How? Why? Again, WHAT??
This year has changed things for everyone.
For me, it was a year of many challenges and emotions. I started to take antidepressants literally at the end of February not knowing what the future holds. I only wanted someone to help me with my depression and anxiety. I was in a horrible place mentally. My fifteen year relationship was breaking down, back then I was already one leg out of the door. I had this new job that I loved, but my head was still vulnerable and fragile. I was shitting myself of the thought of spending lockdown with my partner who back then I was locking horns with on a daily basis. Will we survive this? Will we even talk to each other? And I had a new job, didn’t know anyone yet. Will they keep me? Will I be their employee in three months time? How is working from home going to work? And what do you mean there is shortage of food at our grocery store? I was petrified. I was still experiencing side effects of antidepressants, so I wasn’t myself either.
I had to adapt to a new way of living. Covering face in all public places, disinfecting hands, being extra careful and vigilant, but not being able to see my family back in Poland was probably the hardest thing to adjust to. Yet somehow in all of this, without even realising it, my life priorities changed. Things that I took for granted didn’t exist any longer for me. Suddenly turned out that life without social media is one of the best thing to experience. And cooking or baking for someone you deeply love can be extremely rewarding. Or that exploring the nature around your village is therapeutic. Somehow in all of this madness I have found the greatest gift – a peace. Of course you could argue that antidepressants were behind it, and I would agree to some extent, because they have definitely helped, but I think the biggest change that happened over the past nine months is how I reflect on this. And the idea of me discovering myself, my own compassion, empathy, sensitivity, and who I want to be, that’s what currently brings me peace. I had almost an entire year to think of my goals, priorities, challenges, responsibilities and I finally have found what I was looking for.
Before I finish this post of, I do have one more reflection to make of not only this year, but pretty much every year. People are still afraid to say out loud how do they feel. Let me tell you something what I think if you don’t want to say it. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to have a bad day. It’s ok to have a great day. It’s ok to be grumpy, happy, weird, boring, a geek, a cowboy, a draq, a man, a female, a homosexual, a trans, a blonde, or brunette. It’s ok to have freckles, be fat, be skinny, be sad or miserable. It’s ok to be having a different skin colour, or eyes, or your nails. It’s ok to be rich or not. It’s ok to be single, married or cohabiting. It’s ok to live. But don’t live by others standards. It is your own journey, your own destination, so don’t let others direct you. They are either part of your life trip or not. And it’s up to you if you let them to join you – not other way round, remember that.
Most importantly, it’s ok to be you. So just be you.
I wish to all of you to find peace and be ok with who you are. Being an anxious, depressed or suffering from other mental health problems is a hard cookie to swallow already, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be ourselves or have a good life. Perhaps sometimes we need a little bit of help from therapists, doctors, family, friends, medicines, but all of this, is a courage – not an embarrassment. And we should be proud of who we are.
Happy Christmas my readers!