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Sunday ramblings: good books and mental health…

Hello,

It’s has been far too long since I last written here because, to be honest, I just haven’t had the time or motivation but today I felt a little inspired. My new year’s resolution this year was to read a book a month, not for work and not for uni. Just for pleasure and myself. I am a little short of my target but I’m sure by the end of the year I’ll have evened it out.

My only issue has been finding books that I want to read and am interested in. Novels haven’t been attracting my attention recently but I have been enjoying biographies etc. I went to WH Smith to try and find something to read and stumbled across a book called Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon. I will say that right off the bat, this book isn’t the most fantastically written piece of literature I’ve ever read. Bryony Gordon is a notable journalist and columnist. That’s very evident in this book, it’s written as if reading a column.

I will say that right off the bat, this book isn’t the most fantastically written piece of literature I’ve ever read. Bryony Gordon is a notable journalist and columnist. That’s very evident in this book, it’s written as if reading a column. What this book is though, is eye-opening and honest. Mad Girl is an honest account of Bryony Gordon’s battle with mental health and addiction.

Mental health illnesses aren’t something I’ve had the most objective view from in my life. I have grown up in a household where my mum spent more than half the year in the local hospital. Ironically, I have always been able to sympathise with others who are or have, suffered from mental illness but not my mum… That, I suppose, is my own battle.

I can’t image this book was the easiest thing for her to write, but what it did was open my eyes – particularly to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It’s not something I had had much experience with. There’s a running “joke” in my family that I am very OCD, which I definitely don’t agree with but something this book did for me was make me reflect on the way my own brain works and the way others works.

Since reading this book I’ve actually heard far too many people joke about OCD and it’s genuinely frustrated me how flippant people can be. Far too many people are naive to the struggles of those around them, that invisible illnesses are equally as threatening as physical ones and that often what most people needs is compassion.

I’ve been brought up to always be compassionate to others and never to assume that you know what someone is going through because often what you see isn’t what is really going on. It’s become too obvious recently, with everything going on in the world, that these aren’t the say messages or morals that many have been taught. It seems that we are living in a world where most would either be naive to a problem or to just out right oppose it and mistreat others for their lack of understanding.

This book reminded me to always be compassionate. I have to admit, there were times where I didn’t sympathise with Bryony Gordon because I also don’t believe in blaming bad decisions and life choices on hardships or self-pity, but to be honest neither does she. She comes across honestly and admits the mistakes that she has made and doesn’t try to blame them on anyone or anything but my mindset on that comes from the experience of someone who does.

My “role model” in life has never been my mum, never been the person closest to me who has suffered because she is full of self-pity and blame. None of this is her fault, it’s always the fault of someone else. I love her, I do, but she has been no role model. She has been someone that I have learned from. Who I have built my strength from, determined to be stronger and braver than she has ever been. To be there, to be honest, to be compassionate, to be understanding but most of all to be true to myself.

Earlier this year I found myself sitting in my doctor’s office in tears, confused and not understanding. I could understand where my own head was out, why suddenly I was so anxious all the time, why getting out of bed had become so hard, why some days all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and pretend the world didn’t exist. I realised quickly that this wasn’t where I was supposed to be, that this wasn’t me. I sought out help quickly. I was offered so many options from my doctor; everything from tablets to some time. I opted to be signed off work for a short period of time. For two weeks I did no uni work, I didn’t think about my job… I thought about me.

I sought out help quickly. I was offered so many options from my doctor; everything from tablets to some time. I opted to be signed off work for a short period of time. For two weeks I did no uni work, I didn’t think about my job… I thought about me.

This is still surprisingly hard to write about because at the time I felt so ashamed that I didn’t tell my family, I didn’t tell my friends. Only a few of my colleagues knew but no one else. I’m someone who is constantly busy, always helping others or working or educating myself. I don’t like to sit around and do nothing and for me, eventually, that had a consequence. I let myself get run down because I wasn’t caring for myself. Frankly admiting it all to myself was the hardest part.

Everyone, at some point, is going to have a low point in there life. It’s inevitable. How you deal with that, either personally or in understanding for others, is personally where I think that strength lies.

This is all just my own observation and thoughts; I’m not qualified nor am I an expert. What I say or what I think has no bearing on anyone. What I have experienced is only my own. Life is different for everyone, but if there is only one thing I could ask of anyone it is to be kind. To love and care for those around you. Humans are humans at the end of the day, we are all the same. Everyone deserves to be loved.

I’m sorry, I know this post has been quite serious and I’m going to end it here. Sometimes saying things, or writing them down, can really help. Anyway, I’m spending today doing just that. Writing. I have a couple more posts to write. Some that are a little more light-hearted and one that I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Love and kisses,

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