May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so to kick it off, I want to talk a little bit about my own mental health journey and how my self-care practice has impacted it.
In spring, 2019, I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, which means I experience periods of mania and depression. For me, that looks like weeks at a time in which I either have a lot of energy and want to accomplish everything I possibly can without thinking about the consequences of doing too much, or weeks at a time of having low-to-no energy in which the thought of completing my day-to-day tasks is daunting. I have also lived with panic disorder for six years and been in recovery from an eating disorder for ten years.
My journey has been long and winding, with many bumps in the road both big and small. Almost a year and a half ago, I started sharing my mental health and self-care journey through this blog, and it’s helped guide me through some tough times.
Each week, I know I have time set aside to truly think about what’s going on in my life and how my mental health is doing. I also have time to think about the actions I can take to improve my mental health through self-care. Taking this time to myself to think about both the negatives and the positives has made me more self-aware and taught me coping mechanisms outside of those I’ve learned through therapy.
I’ve learned how to ground myself through gratitude, how to respect myself through setting boundaries, and how to trust myself in the face of failure. Among other things, I’ve also learned to prioritize my mental health, to accept my mistakes, to take breaks when I need them, and to communicate my emotions in a healthy and positive way.
My journey is far from over, and I still have plenty of work to do in both my healing process and self-care practice, but I’ve learned the value of taking time to appreciate how far I’ve come. I know that healing is not linear, and I know the road ahead will have twists and turns, but in this moment I am so proud of where I am. I have learned, grown, and evolved, and I look forward to where my journey takes me in the future.
This month, try to take some time to focus on your mental health journey. Think about how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned. If you’re just now starting your healing process, think about the ways you can prioritize your mental health. Every journey is powerful. Every journey is beautiful. Every journey matters.
As always, stay safe + stay healthy.