Updated: Aug 25, 2018
I am in the process of becoming an Associate Coach with an incredible mental health organisation (but more on them in due course when, you know, it's official.)
And it got me thinking about my own mental health journey, which would probably look something like this:
highly sensitive child
undiagnosed introvert (Why oh why did I not discover that word earlier in my life. I'm sure it would have made my teenage years less miserable)
highly sensitive adolescent (I was either mute or drunk. Everything else was too hard)
highly anxious, depressed, bulimic, agoraphobic student (Suffice to say my Uni years were not the best)
confused sexual being (As in, am I being lesbian? Being straight? Being bi? Being fickle?)
exposed to more charlatan healers than you can shake a stick at (If I've come for shiatsu, no, I don't want you to do 'hug therapy'. If I've cried tears onto my chest, I don't need you to wipe them off for me. That's called groping. If I'm struggling to share some painful memory from the past, please don't take your shirt off to show me your tattoo. It'll distract me. Yes, all these things happened, and more.)
lots and lots of fantastic therapy
a wonderful relationship, doing work I'm passionate about, happy, healthy, fulfilled
But of course, the journey doesn't end. And mental health doesn't end.
So, whilst I have my wonderful life of fulfilment and excitement and ambition, I also have days that I call my Self-Esteem Sinkholes.
Days when it's just too hard to 'me'.
When the phone rings and I'll actually hide behind a chair. Just in case the caller can see me not answering their call.
Days when my skin prickles at my audacity to breathe in and out.
Days when my muscles don't work right and my face just sort of...hangs.
Heavy, dreary days where I can feel the breath of hopelessness on my cheeks.
But what I know now, at the ripe old age of old, is that they're just days. And they do and will pass. They're largely out of my control. My part is just to know that they will pass. To believe and really trust that they will pass.
And you know what? They always do.
With the foundation of some good support - whether that's coaching or therapy - anyone can build a foundation that will sustain them through the darkest of days. And that's why I think anyone who's prepared to face their shit is a full blown super hero in my eyes. Super heroes not because they tackle it and it's 'job done'. But because they tackle it again and again. As often as is required. Accepting that the work may never 'be done'.
My therapist used to use an expression that it took me a while to understand. He'd say:
We're in time, but not of time.
I'd smile and nod sagely, not having a clue what he meant, hoping I was passing some sort of test. But now I think I get it. Because on one of my Self-esteem Sinkhole days, it's like I fall through a crease in time and land back into the worst of any of the days when I couldn't drag myself out of the house. All the efforts of linear time can't stop that happening. All linear time can do is line up the next day and my job is just to breath in and out till I get there.
So to any super-heroes reading this right now, from the depths of a dark day, you don't need to see it to know there's a super hero cape draped on your shoulders. Trust me, it's there.