When I’m tired it’s very easy for my mind to go ‘blank’ – to dissociate. It’s during these moments that I also seem to think about things – really hard – it’s almost like it’s a different type of thinking. Sometimes I think about – or try to figure out how to actually make words, and how to get my mind back to business, and other times I have no choice but to let my mind slip away into deep, deep thought. It’s as if I can’t think about anything else other than what I’m thinking about, but at the same time I have no awareness of how long I’ve been thinking and how intensely I seem to be thinking. I understand that this might not make any sense – to have a ‘blank’ mind that is seemingly full, very full.
I had a bit of a realisation earlier today – I was travelling back from Manchester to Birmingham after a fantastic, but intense day – I was quite tired, and was also feeling quite anxious due to it being rush hour. Previous train delays meant that my train was packed with commuters, all tired and inpatient. I sat in the last available seat, next to a man who was proofreading a book/article or something – so I decided to do some work myself. However, the train was so packed that it meant there was people standing right next to me, and I felt very enclosed, and even a little trapped. That lasted for a good forty minutes, until things started to quieten down a little – by this point my ability to focus had long gone, so I decided to stop trying to read, and just chill. I then noticed about five minutes later that I’d been in deep thought – reflecting upon a certain situation and trying to figure things out in my mind. I’d completely ‘zoned out’ – but at the same time I was thinking a lot – it’s difficult to describe how it’s possible to think – to really pay attention to something, but to also have no idea of what’s going on.
At the point of realising that I’d lost my thoughts to this particular situation, I also realised how I’d been letting this particular situation (a past event) impact on the relationships in my life, including my relationship – my thoughts and attitude toward myself, and my relationship with my mental health.
For years – for long as I can remember – I have been on the winning team in a battle for self-hate. I cannot remember a time where I’ve had a healthy relationship with myself. And my relationship with my mental health means that I’m at war with the belief that I am struggling and the belief that actually I was just ‘made wrong’ and everything is ‘my fault’. At times I believe that I deserve to suffer – my mental health struggles convince me that actually everything is a lie and I’m just, for lack of a better word – weak.
There are also times where I understand why I am struggling, I understand and accept that bad things have happened, that I have been unable to process them and low-self esteem, depression and anxiety is actually ‘okay.’ My relationship with my own mental health and self-esteem has convinced me to believe that mentally I am weak. I have a very unhealthy relationship with myself – which has consequently led to me to often accept that mental illness is actually a thing.
Relationships: Mental Health Awareness Week
I’ve been thinking a lot about how my mental health has impacted the relationships in my life as the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is relationships. I interpret this theme in a variety of different ways – one being my relationship with myself. Another being one that I mentioned at the start of this post – the relationship between my brain and my body; by this I mean… when I ‘zone out’ or dissociate I seem to really struggle to form a relationship between thinking things and actually getting myself to speak/do those things. The relationship between my mind and my body/my focus seems to disintegrate, and everything is cloudy – but I think this is a whole other blog post!
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 visit the Mental Health Foundation website: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/why-relationships