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Mental health vs Mental illness

mental health vs mental illness

Mental health and mental illness aren't the same thing. Sorry to break it to you, but you cannot cure a mental illness with a hot bath or a long walk. Mental illness is just that: an illness of the brain - you can't cure the flu by reading a book or reciting affirmations so you shouldn't expect to cure a mental illness with those methods either. That's not to say reciting affirmations or reading is bad.. they're actually very good for your mental health. 

So what's the difference? 

Mental Health is, to me, the healthiness of your brain (duh) so to keep it healthy, or to try and make it healthier you would do such things as read, have a hot bath, cry, make a brew, go for a long walk etc. etc. But really, those things are just for the aesthetic, they look good on paper and on Instagram. They contribute to a healthy mind of course but they aren't the fundamental things you should be doing to maintain a healthy brain.

Mental Illness, to me, is an illness of the brain (again, duh) so it would affect your actions, your moods, and who you are as a person. It's an imbalance of chemicals in your brain (but really, scientists don't know the exact cause of mental illness, just that something's going on and it's not right.) Mental Illness is treatable, you can have medication, therapy, or both but it takes a lot of time and hard work. I don't mean to sound patronising, but we've all had those people who have told us to do this or do that and we'll feel better - that it'll somehow cure our depression/anxiety/other mental illness. "Stop worrying" says Robert, the 54 year old CEO who's been sheltered from the world by mummy and daddy - gee thanks, why didn't I think of that? *serious side eye*

We need to stop mixing Mental Health and Mental Illness because it's sending the message that a hot bath or what other bullshit sounds good will cure a mental illness when it wont. These messages prevent people getting the help they truly need because none of their role models are showing a clear way of how to get better. We as bloggers writers, no, as humans, have an influence over those younger than us, those more vulnerable than us and those more lost than us and we are not setting a great example or sending a true message when we write fucking listicles about '5 things to do when you're depressed' and none of those pointers say GO TO YOUR DOCTOR! So I am saying it.

If you feel as though you are Mentally Ill, go to your doctor. I know it's easier said than done and I'm not going to lie to you and say you won't feel judged or embarrassed because you probably will. You will feel that way because there's still a stigma surrounding Mental Illness and a lot of people still don't think it exists, but, the only thing that truly matters is you getting the help you need. I've had some fucking awful doctors and the worst case scenario is you get referred to a therapist or you get a number to call to make a self referral. The best case scenario is your doctor makes you feel at ease and gives you loads of useful tips, websites information and refers you to a therapist. Either way, you will have made the first step to getting better so those Mental Health tips you've read so much about can start to actually work.

There's so much to say on the subject but the main point is, if you are or feel that you are in any way mentally ill, please please please go to your doctor and get help. Therapy and/or medication might not be right for you but it's a good place to start. It's a starting point to finding out what will/might work for you and your brain. I really hope this doesn't come across as ignorant, as someone with depression and anxiety I tried to ignore it for years parring it off as 'oh I've not meditated' or 'I just need to speak more kindly to myself' which isn't wrong but it's not addressing the actual issues that were going on.

Are you following your dreams?

are you following your dreams?

Everyone tells you to follow your dreams, to pursue your goals and passions like they've all read the same advice textbook. I agree that yes, follow your passions and your dreams because why the fuck would you want to do anything less than that? But do these people really mean it? Do these people, the ones who tell you to go forth and live out your wildest dreams, really believe that that is what and how you, and everybody else, should live? This advice also usually comes from people who aren't actually living out their wildest dreams.

When you do say "fuck it, I'm going live life exactly how I want to live, doing exactly what I want to do" an army of mosquitoes appear and start to buzz around your head injecting doubt, worry and confusion into your brain. "Why don't you get a real job?" they say. "How will you afford to live?" they ask. "oh no, what if it all goes wrong and you're left with nothing?" they proclaim: all very responsible questions but also damaging. It's like as soon as you take these people's advice, they completely backtrack on everything they've said and question you on why you're pursuing these weird and wonderful things you wish to do. Most of the time it's out of worry: family members telling you to get a proper job because they're worried that you'll be skint and you won't enjoy life as much as possible because of said lack of money.

If you look on a grander scale, all we've ever been taught is how to work for somebody else: in school, we are told that we needed Maths and English to be able to help customers in the shops we're working in. We're taught how to memorise pieces of information and recite it back when asked because it will help us with the repetition of our factory jobs. We're taught Pythagoras theorem instead of how to build your own business - no wonder people are sceptical and frightened when someone with the same education as them decides to say "Actually, I'm doing shit my own way from now on" because as soon as someone says that, they step into the unknown and we're not taught how to handle the unknown. 

The thing is, is that working in a job that you don't want to work at is depressing. I've had many jobs where I've literally cried before going, only to be met with "suck it up, everybody has to do it" - jobs where I've had panic attacks and then been met with "stop being stupid." All of these jobs, I have felt pressured not to quit because someone will be angry and disappointed if I do so. I've become hysterical about why can't I be 'normal' and just go to work in a shop and feel happy, rather than each day wanting to literally die if that was all my life would ever be.

When we feel this way, we also feel lonely - lonely because no-one ever talks about feeling this way, maybe it's literally just me and I'm the only one who thinks and feels this way - but I don't think I am, we especially don't talk about feeling this way towards working because we fear that others will think badly of us, like we're 'scroungers' or 'lazy' but that's not the case. Realistically, in today's society, I understand that yes we have to work - we need money to survive because that's literally just how the world is right now, but I also think that if we do decide to venture out and try a different way of living because clearly this way isn't for everyone, we should be encouraged, congratulated and supported rather than laughed at, shunned and belittled.

You're not going to start earning money the moment you quit your job to pursue what you truly love because you have to learn lessons you've never been taught, you have to spend time planning what you want and where you want to take it, you have to establish your brand and create a clientele. You will have to work hard every day and push through everything that tests your determination and your dedication just to start raking in a little bit of money, but once you're past that, then you can hopefully snowball into success. 

You will have people who, like I described before, will try and put doubt into your mind and make you question whether or not it's the right thing to be doing. You yourself will question your choices: getting a normal job & leading an unfulfilled life is the easy option so you have to keep reminding yourself that to have a fulfilled, happy life, you have to live by your own standards, doing exactly what YOU want to do regardless of anyone else's opinions or life ideals.

What does success mean to you?

what does success mean to you?

Some days, I feel successful because I've 
just about managed to get out of bed. Some days I feel successful because I've forced a piece of fruit down my throat. I congratulate myself for not over thinking or worrying about minuscule things. I sometimes forget to acknowledge and celebrate the little things in life - in reality I should thank my knees for not buckling every time I stand, I should eulogize my eyes for being able to see the beauty and magic which surrounds us, I should salute my hands and feet for taking me places and enabling me to write this.

On a larger scale, to me, success is being able to live comfortably doing what I love to do, having more good days than bad, living with my love in a cosy place we call home and experiencing the world - different cultures, different thoughts, different opinions. Success to me is saying yes to all things I wish to do in spite of my fear and anxiety. 

Life is hard when you fixate on the smallest of things - over thinking and talking yourself out of experiences you know you will enjoy, because what about all these things that could go wrong?! It's funny how the person who wants you to progress and achieve great things is the same person who stops you in your tracks with "what if's" and "no, that's out of your comfort zone, you're not doing that!" -  it's even funnier that it's yourself doing those things. Overcoming those thoughts, even just for one day, one experience, is a success in my eyes.

Success is not a checklist, nor is it achievements that are engraved in stone. You make your own definition of success. Whether it's owning a house, having a family, becoming the manager in your job, passing an exam, learning an instrument or becoming fluent in another language. Success is perception, and everyone's is different. 

Are our lives mapped out for us?

are our lives mapped out for us

The universe is a funny thing isn't it. I love that no one really knows for sure what this whole life malarkey is all about: how we got here, why we're here, what's the point in it all. 

I love that everyone you speak to about it has a different opinion and different theories; I'm a big fan of hearing people's thoughts about why they think they as an individual are here on this earth and what they feel their point in life is.

I had a pretty shit start to life, I'm surprised I made it out in all fairness but because of that, it makes me think that there was a reason for me to be here: I managed to survive so much from within the womb that there must be a bigger reason for me to make it out of the womb. 

Personally, I think I'm here to write and to help people as much as I can - not in a saintly way but in an I'm a human being, you're a human being, let's be kind and compassionate towards each other kinda way. 

I think you have your path mapped out for you from when you're first conceived - if it wasn't, you wouldn't have been brought into this world, but I don't think it's as straightforward as "this is what you're meant to do, this is how you get there."

We as humans have the divine right of choices, I love a good choice me - if someone takes a choice away from me god help them, so taking that into account, I see our pathways more are sat-nav routes. You know like those tom-tom's that somehow tell you to go down streets that don't exist and you end up nearly driving into a lake so you have to turn around and it has a mental breakdown because WHY AREN'T YOU FOLLOWING MY ROUTE?! Yeah, I think our pathways are like that. 

We have the right of choice, so we will inevitably choose the wrong choice at some point in our lives making the universe go WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Meaning it (life) has to re-write the route to accommodate for our detour. We're always going to end up where you're meant to be, but it may take a little longer depending on the choices we make. Everything snowballs; that hobby you thought you'd try just for a 'laugh' well maybe that is going to enable the idea of a business for yourself, that person you smiled at and said 'Hello' to on your walk, they could be a valuable future connection for you. 

The same goes for 'bad' choices too - we'll get into the debate of whether anything is truly 'good' or bad' at a later point - I drank a lot back in my teens, I made some shitty choices and embarrassed myself a lot. It was only until I was so hungover that I was physically shaking and spilt my Rice Krispies down my front that I realised that 1. I don't enjoy drinking and 2. I don't enjoy hangovers. After that realisation I didn't drink for 2 years, and now I have maybe 1 or 2 drinks a year. Bad choices can also lead you in positive directions, bad choices make up your sat-nav route, too. 

I think everything interlinks and no-one is invaluable. 
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