As I wrote last week, I’ve been feeling a lot calmer and more positive recently.
To be honest, I think I’ve always seemed this way on the surface. I’ve said it before that you never know what someone’s going through and often we become experts of our own disguise.
Although I have suffered (and continue to suffer) with anxiety, until I started to write about it, few people had any idea. I’m outgoing and in some ways confident and not your typical depiction of ‘mental illness.’ Maybe this contributes to the problem as you can feel pressure to live up to expectation.
I’m going off on a tangent, anyway.
Up until recently, putting my mental health to the side, my life was actually very stressful. For even someone with the most robust mental health, it would have been testing.
I had suffered serious illness after serious illness, faced the prospect of having to change my entire career path and nothing really seemed to be going right.
None of this was in my control and I was fed up, as most people would be. Of course, these circumstances did also send my anxiety into overdrive. I had so much to think about and worry about that my head-space was well over full capacity.
Fast forward a few months and life is much better. I’m on the mend (physically), have some sort of plans for the future and feel generally happier in myself.
Consequently, I have more time to focus on my mental well-being and my anxiety is more under control.
However, in a conversation I had about mental health last week, a person close to me remarked, with no bad intent ‘you’re better now, aren’t you?’
What does better even mean?
Yes, right now, things are going better. I’m learning to cope more and pushing myself. I have more time to focus on my mental well-being. So I guess, in the root form of the word you could say I’m better.
But, I often feel that ‘better’ is thought of as a conclusive destination. Especially when it comes to mental health.
If life throws another round of curve balls at me, I’m sure my mental health will take another tumble. Does this mean I’m not doing ‘better?’
I don’t know.
Mental health is fragile. It’s ever-changing and often subjective to circumstances beyond our control.
Recovery from mental health problems isn’t a straight path with a golden light at the end and a door you can never return through. It’s not like recovering from the flu or a broken arm or a tummy bug. It just isn’t.
Just because someone is coping better or doing well, it doesn’t mean their struggles have gone away.
It’s just something to think about.