This Is How We Heal

When my GP asked why I wanted a mental health care plan to see a therapist again, I answered:

Because I have Complex-PTSD which I manage until I can no longer manage it, which is where I’m at.

That’s really the simple, and not so simple thing about mental health. We manage it until we no longer can.

Until we have consistently put other’s needs before our own too long.

Until we have burnt ourselves out by emotionally caretaking for others too much.

Until we have stretched ourselves too thin, to the point we feel we are likely to break.

Until we have pushed down our unresolved issues so long they start to make us sick and sad and anxious and depressed.

Until we have stopped sleeping enough and getting enough fresh air and exercise and taking our vitamins and washing our hair and eating food that’s good for us and reading books in the sunshine and playing with our kids and doing anything that makes us feel alive and connected to ourselves.

This is when our nervous systems become dysregulated; when we struggle to cope with things we once could cope with, when we become stuck, when we lose creativity, when we feel anxious and angry and scared and lonely, when we exist in survival mode and life loses the joy it once had.

And it’s okay to admit we aren’t managing as well as we’d like to be. It’s okay to go to therapy, to have someone listen and validate and help us become un-stuck and find the joy again. It’s okay to prioritise our mental health and not be ashamed that we are finding things hard.

This is self-care, when we’ve forgotten how.

This is self-love, when we’ve forgotten what that looks like.

This is how we break the silence and stigma around mental health, when we learn there is no shame in saying out loud we can no longer manage on our own.

This is how we change ourselves. This is how we change our families. This is how we change future generations. This is how we change generational cycles that no longer serve us. This is how we change society.

This is how we heal.

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