The month of challenging my mental health.
November - I knew it was going to be an exciting but also exhausting. Mentally this was going to be the biggest challenges since facing my anxiety provoking school years (see blog post). I had three prime moments to challenge the Martha muscle and see what I could do.
My 20thbirthday I was very lucky I had a group of three girls that all came and celebrated (although I am not a massive fan of birthdays) it was going to test my anxiety of being around people for long periods. Martha, this is silly? Why do having friends around make you anxious?
Well you may or may not know that this academic year I decided to live on my own. Mostly due to the fact that I love (and need) my own space from time to time to ground myself. So being with people (who I love) but also challenge this mental health aspect was going to be something new for me to learn. Amsterdam was fun, I really got to do some amazing things – my highlight was doing the highest swing in Europe. Wow… what a view!
Family events – bonfire night.
My social anxiety is still a battle. Even with my family, for years I would miss out on social occasions because (if I am being completely honest) my family are lovely – but overwhelming sometimes. Personalities are in good spirts and always happy for a good time. However, as someone who is quite shy (and gig groups are NOT in my comfort zone) the family dynamics are hard for my head to process. Sensory overload is the only way to describe. Although I have gotten better with time, our family has extended with more and more being brought in. It means even more social hurdles to jump through. This year I managed to find my place within the family dynamics and structure. Finding that place is (I think for me) knowing your boundaries and relationships between certain family members. It’s also being comfortable and confident to know that if there is someone who you really do not feel you can engage with, that’s okay do not mix with them (as much). Families are complicated, and no families are the same therefore do not treat yours the same to other people. However, when at bonfire night, it was a perfect setting and atmosphere to feel relaxed. THIS IS A HUGE STEP!
My most recent venture was getting on a plane… ON MY OWN!!! One of my friends I met through the PT course, Hugh, lives in Gothenburg, Sweden and kindly invited me out to visit him. Like when you book many things in advance, you don’t really worry about it till the last minute. Until the day arrived I didn’t really think about my anxiety much. My anxiety flare up came when I was switching trains within London. It was the anxiety of moving in different environments and preparing for the next departure that weighted a lot of pressure on my mind. When arriving at the airport – due to m flighting out previously for Amsterdam a few weeks ago this part seemed the most familiar. And strangely, I felt calm. Also the reassurance from Hugh helped to know someone was waiting for me on the other side. I think if you find someone who understands how to assure someone with anxiety, that helps a lot! I had a really fab time visiting Sweden and as someone who hasn’t really though much about travelling, it’s gotten me in a really good headspace to venture out more in the future.
I’ve spoken about this before, but challenging your mental health is what is going to make you stronger and grow as a person. Yes, easier said than done. But if we keep using that as an excuse then nothing will get done. Breaking things down into bite sized pieces has been (and will always be) a strategy that works best for challenges. Don’t look at the whole task, observe what needs to be done and find similar steps to help achieve the whole picture. It does work!
My November has been one of the most growing months this year and has even inspired me to book another trip next year to Prague with my friend and plan a trip to Oz with my cousin. I think I caught the travel bug, life is exciting when you plan things that excite you. Big or small, enjoy what you plan and do.
Until next time,
Simply Martha x