As I entered the final week of the election, where I was a volunteer, I experienced a gradual decline in my mental health. In contrast, the week leading up to the election, I was feeling well, mentally and was well for the best part of two weeks. It was great to be freed from the feelings of threat, stress and near-constant anxiety. I never say it out loud but when I am feeling well I am always so hopeful that psychological tournament has been mysteriously extinguished.
I believe that being off work for as long as I have been energized me enough to try and get back into some sort of everyday routine and as a result, I was excited at the opportunity to test the waters; like a child on Christmas eve, I was so excited to see what a shot of normality would bring. After all, I was feeling better and felt like I had turned a corner. The Results Are In, Am I Healed?
Sadly, No, being out of the safety of my home where quiet and feelings of safety reign supreme, the exposure took a hammer and chisel to this happy reprieve from my minds struggles and by the end of it, my startle response was a constant seven or eight and the consequence of exposing my mental health to the onslaught of noise, sirens and constant busy have demonstrated to me that I am not where I had blissfully thought I was.
So, what does this experience teach me, teach you? Well, there’s more than one way to look at the experience and its outcome. I could feel defeated at the knowledge that the periods of mental wellness always fades like the sunset as it is overtaken by the night’s darkness, or I can acknowledge that I can’t always have sunshine and roses and understand, that when a period of post-traumatic stress and or depression blanket me in their symptoms, I have little choice but to ride the wave until I hit the shores of calm, happier points in time.
When in the throes of the heavy, exhausting feelings of mental illness, I must keep in mind that I will be granted temporary leave from my mind’s tournament. Perhaps most importantly, I have to be good with that, the way the cards have been dealt.
When I’m able to do that, I feel like I live a fuller, more manfully life because when I’m feeling well I don’t throw myself forward in time by saying, “This good time won’t last.” Instead, I live in the moment using mindfulness
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