What was the first step I took to heal my mind?
I stopped, I rested, I relaxed. I prioritised my health. I took some time out and I was kind to myself, my body and my mind. I did this in my own home. I didn't go anywhere special, or adopt any specific routine (mainly because that wasn't really an option), I just allowed myself to sit with everything and absorb it all.
This, I believe, is very important. To heal anything you must rest. My own experiences and those of others has led me to believe that rest for the mind and body is crucial to preventing or curing anything.
Sleep is one of the main ways in which we rest but in this post I want to focus on resting whilst awake. Taking time out to 'just be', to make time for conscious breathing, relaxation, reflection and doing nothing.
I realised that trying to hold up the image that 'everything was fine' or simply 'push on' with life was not going to help. To continue on the current trajectory was not an option. It was hurting me and it was hurting those around me. It was stressful. I was stressful. Something had to change. Quite simply, I couldn't do this anymore.
To emphasise this I had a car accident, I ended up on a spinal board with a head brace (precautionary measures because I couldn't move my neck) in the back of an ambulance. Thankfully it turned out to be bad bruising but it was enough to send me a strong message that I needed to stop. Right. Now.
I felt awful. I felt like I had disappointed everyone around me, I felt a failure, I felt like I wanted to hide. And I did. I hid and whilst hiding from the world I reached out to anyone and anything that spoke to the depths of myself, that seemed to understand, that inspired, motivated, encouraged, resonated..
I watched ted talks on youtube, I watched documentaries about the earth, nature, how we're made. I read and read quotes about anxiety, panic, solitude, people, society and SO much more to connect with those who had spoken these wise words and knew what I wanted to know. As a result I found some interesting people.
I read about anxiety, about the mind, the body, what did the ancient people used to believe? What did our ancestors believe? What was natural for us? How were we supposed to live? What was wrong with our society? Why did anxiety happen? What was going on, really going on, in life?
I peeled back all the layers and connected with my soul, my spirit.. I had a desperate desire to 'get rid of everything' and reach the source. I loved the idea of simple humanity, connection with others and with the earth, with nature.
It was not answer enough for me that I had a variety of 'disorders' that I 'suffered from', 'struggled with' and therefore had to learn to 'live with' or 'cope with'.
In the depths of my being I believed that there was a reason why this was happening and this was my chance to understand, to learn and to really, truly connect with my body. I didn't know how but I knew that although I was in a dark place, I was on the verge of something very exciting.
I had been bought up to believe that mental health was not an issue with labels and diagnoses, it was a natural part of health, wellbeing and life.
It was okay to not be okay.
So I rested. I relaxed. I reflected.
Rest created a breathing space for my mind. A space in which to step back and deal with this influx of emotions. A space in which I cried, slept, thought, writhed, wrestled, loved, laughed, talked, wrote, listened, watched, learnt, went forwards, backwards, sideways, sat, walked and spent a lot of time 'zoned out'. This period of complete rest didn't last that long but it was intense. Intense rest.
I had it somewhat enforced upon me but as it says in the twenty third psalm “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”. He maketh me. I am thankful for that.