What’s stopping you from living a happy life?
Mental Health is a subject which hits close to home for many of us. I think there are many misconceptions about mental health and what it actually means. I am no expert in the field and by no means am I giving you professional advice. I have not researched any of this. I would just like to share my experiences which have affected my mentality and well-being over the years and maybe, just maybe, someone out there will relate and connect.
To me, having good mental health and well-being is a significant factor to living a happy life. When I have spoken about mental health before, some people tend to be intimidated by it, or some have been judgmental and assume that it indicates disorder. Sometimes that may be the case, but I feel like this also couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t know the exact dictionary definition of ‘mental health’, but to me, It’s such a broad phrase. Some people deal with feelings and emotions differently than others. Some people are very self-aware and can recognize their emotions and how to deal with it. Some people aren’t and have no idea how to deal with their emotions, but that’s okay, because despite what our situation is, we should be aiming to encourage each other to talk about it.
For a few years I was pretty unhappy. I had a job, family, friends, people who cared, but it all came down to my emotions, my mentality and the fact that I wasn’t speaking up and telling anyone what I was going through, or how I was feeling. I had no self-awareness. I wasn’t aware of my own emotions and the fact that it was affecting my mental and physical well being. No one else knew about it. So here is a little story about some things that have affected my mental health.
I have grown up in a family of two parents and three children (including me), so I am lucky to have had a big family. I went to school, made friends, made memories, went through all of the ‘teenage drama’, got a job, worked for four years and now I have beautiful son and I am studying at university to fulfill a lifetime goal. I am pretty chuffed with how things turned out.
It was my last year of high school when things became difficult. A person very close to me became caught up in the wrong crowd, as many do. They grew an addiction towards substance abuse, the very bad kind, and fell down a spiraling path to self-destruction. From popularity and coming close to playing professional sports, to a life of constant pain and regret. Disappearing time after time, for months on end, living homeless, even though they had a family home to go to. All of the stealing and violence, verbal abuse and worrying about the terrible things that could happen. Majority of the time I couldn’t sleep properly, knowing that they were out on the street; vulnerable. Giving out money to help, only to realize it was paying for an addiction. I was naive. I always saw the best in people, but now I understand that sometimes in these circumstances you need to stand your ground and say no, despite how much it hurts. This went on for five years or so. It stopped for a while and then it kept going. During this five year period I lived with a guy who also had a substance addiction. I didn’t really understand what addiction meant until I noticed that this person relied on using to be able to function. He used to tell me about his past and said that he didn’t have a mother or father. He had a horrible marriage and one day, he said he had been to the doctor who told him he had a . I had so much going on in my own life, I felt sorry for him. He stopped working due to his ‘sickness’, had no money to pay for rent, food, or any necessities. I worked full time, receiving an average income and decided that I would help him get back on his feet. What a mistake. My savings were non-existent after a couple of months. I felt so alienated from my family at the time and I never spoke up, or told anyone what was going on. I hadn’t spoken to my best friend in months. One day he told me to leave because his ex was coming to sort out some legal stuff. I thought nothing of it, but two weeks later he went back to his home country. I had no money, but at least I had my family. After all of this time, I don’t know if he was actually sick or not. From the way things turned out I don’t really believe it for a second. It all seems a little far fetched to me. Social media says otherwise because he seems to have a family with parents back home as well. Either way, I forgave him. I felt like it was partially my fault because I had given in to someone I hadn’t known for very long. Why spend your life angry at someone when you can forgive them and move on? It wasn’t as easy as that at the time. I never excused what he did, but I forgave and forgot, eventually.
My mental health at this time was at an all time low. I had never felt so used, so depressed, so unworthy. It was almost like I had nothing left to give. Everything I had already given was never appreciated and used for good. Luckily enough, I came to realize that the world is full of people who lie, steal and use people to get what they want, but there are so many people out there who have gone through similar situations and can relate to exactly what I’ve been through. Speaking about what had happened was the most important part of letting go of these emotions and become self-aware. Getting things off my chest and telling someone how I felt was key to improving my mental state. Whether its family, friends, or calling a helpline, there is always someone out there in the world who wants to listen. Although my situation may not be as devastating as others, we are all human and we deal with emotions differently.
Our mental health is a number one priority in life and, I believe that it is the basis of living a happy life. sometimes life doesn’t always bring you happiness; we have to search for it. I know this from experience because I have had to search for mine. It is hard to search for happiness, because we don’t always know what to search for. Is it buying that fancy car? Is it getting that new job? Is it living life to your fullest potential with family, friends and the bare necessities? We try time after time to find things that will bring us joy however, sometimes joy is only temporary. For me, as mentioned in my first blog post, my happiness comes from being content with my life. I have an average car, live in an average house, but average doesn’t matter because I have an amazing support network of family and friends, and they make me happy. Just because we are happy with our lives doesn’t mean we don’t experience stages of emotions such as sadness, anxiety, depression, but maybe if we use our experiences to build self-awareness, we can improve our ability to speak up and deal with these emotions in a beneficial way . Life isn’t perfect, people aren’t perfect and at times it feels as if the world is ‘testing’ us, just to see how much we can truly handle. At the end of the day though, we get through the tough times which says so much about ourselves. We have strength, courage, abilities we didn’t realize we had. So if we can get through the tough times, what’s stopping us from living a happy life?
I hope that from this, you can take away the importance of sharing your experiences. Talking about how you are feeling and opening up about your struggles. Establish your weaknesses and strengths, find balance, give yourself a break once in a while and focus on you. You are important and, your mental health & well being is imperative in the search for your happiness.
I would love more than anything to hear your stories, comments and for you to share your thoughts on what could help others.