I waved goodbye to my colleagues as I closed the door behind me, “see you tomorrow, Lise,” they called after me. I doubt it. I mumbled under my breath but called back, “yeah, see you soon.”
To friends and colleagues, I passed on the stairs, it looked like I was breaking up for the holiday of a lifetime. The smile I plastered on my face, the cheery waves and the jaunty, “see you later’s,” I was calling out as I exited the building. But, I wasn’t, I was going to the doctor. If indeed, I’d make it that far.
The knots in my stomach felt like a coiled spring and my heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest.
I don’t remember the journey but, I made it to the doctor’s. I filled in the requisite ‘how are you feeling’ form which I could have summed up in one word. Shit. That’s how I was feeling. I didn’t want to be here, on planet earth, I’d had enough and couldn’t cope. Even the smallest of tasks, washing up and chipping a mug, felt like the end of the world. I was in the right place. I was going to get the help I needed. Or was I?
I handed the form to the doctor who diagnosed stress, anxiety and depression. I nodded and stared at him. Waiting for him to wave a magic wand then all would be right in my world. He didn’t. Instead, he handed me a prescription and told me I would receive an appointment with a counsellor in a few weeks.
With my prescription and instructions to ‘go and enjoy myself,’ I left the surgery, lost and bewildered. I wandered around town looking for inspiration.
Healing & Self-Discovery
This was the beginning of my journey of healing and self-discovery. I took the tablets for a short time then decided I needed to do this without medication. It’s been a challenging journey, but a necessary one.
The universe called me, it showed me the Tai Chi and relaxation classes I did straight after my diagnosis. It connected me with many people who would help me on my journey: counsellors, coaches and therapists. I owe a debt of gratitude to them all and some have even become friends. I’m very blessed to have met them all.
It’s been over a decade since then and I’m still learning about myself.
When the world went into lockdown in 2020, I believed my mental health would spiral downhill again, but, it didn’t. I had off days, doesn’t everyone? But I put my time to good use. I wrote my debut novel, Katie, A New Chapter, based on my life experiences. This was again part of my journey of healing and self-discovery.
Do More of What You Love
More recently, I have taken time out to reflect and I’ve been quite shocked by my realisations. During my mental health battles, one thing was missing. Me. I was doing what I thought I ‘should’ because that’s what we do, isn’t it? I wasn’t enjoying most of what I was doing personally or professionally. I look back now and think Is it any wonder I was ill?
I have stopped doing things I don’t enjoy, (like scrolling through Facebook.) I’ve discovered new passions, (I’m currently writing a children’s book and I’ve found a gym class I love doing.) By standing back and assessing my life I’ve made some small and some drastic changes and feel much better for it. I’m not the perfect human being, I don’t think we ever reach that stage but I am happier than I’ve ever been. If I can do it. So can you.
I hope this blog has inspired you to stop and ask yourself, are you being true to yourself?
I want to make a couple of notes here:
*No one can help you unless you are prepared to help yourself.
*Help is there if you need it, but, you need to ask.
*Being yourself is hard. There, I said it. We are expected to act in a certain way or be something we aren’t. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole as they say, and you shouldn’t try to.
Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day.
Lots of love & gratitude