'Not every day is happy but I love the days that are, and accept the ones that aren't' - We love this ending to Julia's email. Her story is here...
Mental health is at the centre of my day whatever I am doing. I can’t always be a master of it but I have learnt to accept it and understand it is as much a part of me as my body is. It effects everything I do and in turn everything I do can effect my mental health.
I never knew about mental health and how massive a part of life it was and is, until I started to feel the effects of sad/bad things happening around me in my teens and early 20’s. I know exactly when I realised that I had to get help and since then I have learnt that actually I should have listened sooner. So many things I look back at should have made me do something sooner. But these were things which I was conditioned to believe were just normal and that I should get over.
My older sister lost her Boyfriend in a fatal car accident at age 23 and it shook her and subsequently the ripple effect it had on us her extremely tight family was monumental. As a family we tightened our grip on her and each other. She was my best friend and to see the sparkle leave her eye and her lose interest in nearly everything was hard. As we tried to protect her we in turn pushed her away. It wasn’t until she accepted that she needed to grieve that she noticed what we had been doing was loving her. I struggled to understand.
I became anxious about being without the people I loved and in turn started to push those close to me away for fear of losing them. I also didn’t want to let people down and make them sad or upset. Add in hormones and bad relationships and my mind soon became a mine field. I had a terrible breakup that left me living in a massive house in Kent away from everything and everyone I loved. Age 30 and all the things I had thought I would have at this point in my life didn’t existed - I was failing. So I did want I had trained myself to do for years and that was smile and get on with it. I moved back to London and became a YES girl. - problem solved. No even close!!!!
I knew I needed to make a change when I meet my now fiancé 4 years ago. I was ruining myself and what was a great relationship because of my worries and fears. So I went for help. Best thing I ever did, I learnt about me and what the first 30 years of my life had meant, why I react the way I do - the defence mechanisms I had built up. The core believes I didn’t even know were there. It was so damn hard! I hated myself and I also had to be ok with being angry at my parents and family for what I felt they had done. Its not easy to admit that you are totally different to the person you thought you were, and that in turn you have been holding the people you love most in the world to blame for it. I had spent 30 years never feeling good enough. I had spent 16 odd years thinking I had to be something, do certain things and behave a certain way. All things projected on my by my amazing family or so I thought.. I didn’t understand that we are all so very different and rather than be happy about myself and who I was, I was beating myself up for it. I was comparing my life to my family and friends and if I wasn’t living the best life I was failing.
It came to a head 2 Christmas ago I was near the end of my CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and I wasn’t feeling better, (CBT challenges your to find the answers and to ask the questions Its not an easy fix at all.) I had a meltdown and found myself wanting to sleep through the pain. I was losing the man I loved and pushing everyone away. And then one day it clicked, I don’t know why and want happened but I knew what I was doing wrong, I knew to be happy I needed to love who I was and believe in want I wanted. I started asking the right questions and then the answers were easy! It wasn’t the end though. It was only at the beginning. I quit my job and I started to make decisions for me! I still have help and everyday I work hard to remember all the things that I learnt and how I am who I am and proud of that. And that it is ok to be exactly that… ME!. I have a better relationship with myself and subsequently with everyone else too. Not everyday is happy but I love the days that are and accept the days that aren’t.
Thank you Jules