Over the past fortnight, I’ve noticed that more people (myself included) have found their mental health slipping.
I’m very grateful for the fact that I have managed to move far enough along in my recovery that I didn’t spiral completely, but I know that not everyone is as lucky. I’ve trained myself to step back from the brink, but it’s still scary when you’re looking over the precipice.
If you’ve found your own mental health slipping a bit recently, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
For some, the sense of fear or instability is borne of the fact that we’re opening up again, after 18 months of lockdown. It was hard to get used to the sudden changes to our lives, routines, work-, and home-lives. It’s nearly as difficult now, to get used to reversing some of those changes, while accepting that some changes are here to stay.
For others, the fact that it’s back-to-school time is the cause of their current mental health slide. It’s bringing back memories of returning to school, when we were children ourselves. Even if school was a reprieve, or a ‘safe space’ for us.
Many people, however, aren’t entirely sure why they’re feeling a bit wobbly. If you’re one of those people, it might help to journal and ask yourself what’s going on for you. I’m a big fan of journaling, and I’m also fond of using my dominant hand to ask myself what’s going on, and then answering the question with my non-dominant hand.
There are a few reasons why I recommend this method: For a start, using your non-dominant hand slows your writing down. It ensures you take longer to answer the question, so you might find yourself accessing a response that didn’t immediately spring to mind. Secondly, it can help you to access emotions differently because you’re almost regressing – hand-writing with our non-dominant hands almost infantilises us so we connect with our emotions on a different level. It also helps to strengthen neural pathways, and can even create new ones.
Identifying the reason you aren’t feeling great now is the second step to feeling better (the first is admitting that you’re not feeling great). Journaling can be a great way to help with this identification.
Finally, if you’re feeling a bit wobbly, I would suggest you seek support sooner rather than later. Those of us who have slipped, slid, or stumbled in the past, know how rapidly the descent can come: I’d urge you to avoid the tumble.