You know on Facebook when you get shown a photo from a couple of years ago? It pops onto your timeline and you go “aah weren’t they cute when they were small” or “Oh I remember that enormous pizza”. That works because we pretty much only post photos of lovely things. Plus even if you wanted to it’s hard to post a photo that shows how you feel inside.
When you’ve blogged for a long time a similar thing happens. Up pops a blog entry on my facebook timeline from three years ago. The difference is I don’t only write about smiley things and sometimes I really don’t need reminding. Some days it’s just the wrong day for a post about rats living under my shed to zip into my consciousness. Especially when there are rats currently living under my shed and I’m trying very hard not to think about them.
The thing is I guess there is a lot of repetition in life. Things that happen totally out of our control. Then other things where we feel accountable even if we shouldn’t.
The most notable for me being sodding mental health issues. If I look back at my blog entries over the years I can see me trying the same tactics year after year to battle negative mental health. #100Happydays where I endlessly post pictures of cake and children much to everyone’s annoyance. Journaling where I write three things I’m grateful for for twenty days and find it hard not to mention cake and children daily. Multiple blog entries about how I’m going to take more exercise/eat healthier/take up mindful meditation. Sad entries about feeling anxious.
But that to me is the biggest problem with mental health. It bloody well comes back. Each time I think I know what the advice is and that I can fend it off. Send the low mood packing by walloping it with some kale and tennis racket.
I try for a bit but can’t keep it up then feel bad about how hopeless I am. We all know that we should be eating mackerel, running 5k a day and turning a lightbox on to boost vitamin D. We all know our friends are there for us and we should just pick up the phone and ask for help, but that doesn’t make any of it easy. This week I sat at the kitchen table on my laptop forgoing the light box on my desk upstairs because it was further away from the biscuit tin. I watch my husband running 10k a day and just think “he’s mental” (see the irony) without even putting on my running shoes. I cook gnocci and ready made sauce for tea because the kids love it and in reality who the hell wants mackerel when an alternative meal can be cooked in a minute and a half.
We’re all bumbling along I guess – repeating patterns and often not making the right choices. Trying to do the right thing for us in the moment we are in.
I suppose on balance as long as things are moving slightly in the right direction that’s ok. If only my brain thought there was no guilt required and told me it’s not my fault when I’m feeling down.
There are some answers out there for anxiety but I have yet to meet someone who manages to put them all into practice. If I manage one or two, like a walk at lunchtime or almonds instead of a sausage roll once in a while then that’s ok. That’s progress.