Times are tough enough
Becky works as a Peer Support Worker in our Child and Young Person Mental Health Services (Lincolnshire), using her lived experience to support young people struggling with their mental health.
The last 6 months have been strange - for us all. When it all first started I was terrified; I desperately didn’t want to go back to how I was when I felt unwell with my mental health, so I did everything I could to be ‘ok’. For the first few months it worked, but slowly things caught up with me.
We often talk about the importance of self-care (particularly in my role as peer support worker) and I used to think I was a master of this. I would incorporate this into my daily life, such as having certain routines and doing activities I enjoy, but I didn’t quite realise the effort it took to do this. A few months ago I found myself beating myself up because I was struggling to do the basics, and I became frustrated at myself that I could see my mood dipping.
Thankfully, through conversations with friends and family, I realised I was not the only one struggling to do the basic day to day things. I found that, although I struggle with my mental health, I’m not the only one who has found this difficult. People I know with no history of mental health difficulties have found this time tough… and that’s because it is tough!
So many people have become worried, struggled with feeling isolated, or generally felt overwhelmed by the constant changes we are experiencing. Naturally all this will impact on our wellbeing because we have never had to experience something like this before.
Through these conversations, I didn’t feel as alone and I stopped being so hard on myself. Rather than constantly worrying about me ‘relapsing,’ I instead began to think about how resilient I have been instead.
Though I automatically thought that I would go back to some of the darkest days in my life, I remind myself that I am nowhere near that. Yes things are still hard, but I’m taking it day by day and trying to do things each day and week to keep myself going. And that’s okay.
If I could offer advice to anyone at the moment it would be, stay connected to those around you and think about the little things you can do to improve your wellbeing (sometimes this may mean going back to basics). This does not have to be the cliché bubble bath or hot chocolate, but could simply be having your favourite meal in the evening or watching a 20 minute episode of a new/favourite series (although I am a big fan of bubble baths and hot chocolate).
Lastly, remember, times are tough enough. The last thing you need is to be tough on yourself.