Now and again I ask this question on the blog, and I thought now was as important a time as any, given the current world we live in. As we emerge from lockdown at various paces and with varied levels of success, many of us bear the mental as well as the physical scars. Some of us have coped better than others, some have thrived, others have struggled and barely made it through. It’s been a battle and none of us have been unaffected.
Let’s start with me, then, as I’m sure many of you are awkwardly twiddling your thumbs and staring at your feet, praying for someone to break the interminable silence. Well, thanks for asking. I’m back at work full time and slowly feeling my way back into the office environment. Initially I was anxious about returning to the daily grind. I quite enjoyed being at home with my family…although my family may beg to differ.
The thing I have struggled with most are my concentration levels. My job is quite intense where I’m required to analyse and assess large amounts of dense information, manage a team and make detailed decisions in respect of strategies and policies. I’m paid well for it and I’ve worked hard to reach the level I have within the organisation. But a lot is expected of me, I’m expected to deliver. It’s not life or death but my actions and decisions do impact lives.
I’m slowly finding my feet again and regaining my stride. My OCD is under control although I’m ever conscious the next flare up could be just around the corner. We can’t take our mental health for granted any more than we can take our physical health for granted. If we don’t exercise, eat badly and pollute our bodies with toxic substances then eventually stuff will start to go wrong. Our minds are no different.
So I still studiously avoid certain situations and people. I can’t be around them for to do so is exposing myself to emotions and experiences which aren’t healthy. Some might find my lifestyle a bit dull. I don’t party, I don’t go to the pub, I don’t really go out a lot besides going to work and with my family. My circle of friends is a fraction of what it was. I keep to myself and try to live as good a life as I can. I’m not perfect, but I try.
I’ve been off the rails and have no desire to return to the darker periods of my life. It’s a work in progress and I can never rest on my laurels, given my propensity to press the self destruct button. I run, I read and write, I watch Netflix and drive Fionnuala and the kids insane with my odd ways. I try to be the best husband and father I can. I know I can do a lot better, but I also know I’ve been a lot worse. I’m getting there.
But enough about me, what about you? How is your mental health? Are you 100% and loving life or is getting out of bed a bridge too far at present?How has the global pandemic impacted upon your life? Are you excited, joyous, anxious or frightened? What steps are you taking to look after your mental health? Counselling, medication, meditation or good old fashioned physical exercise?
Have you a faith? Does it help or hinder you? Does it offer you comfort and strength when you are at a low ebb or do you feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the high standards your faith community seeks to maintain. Does it make you feel inadequate and unworthy? A lot of questions there, and plenty to chew on. I’ll stop now and open the floor to you all. Wherever you are, stay safe, enjoy your day, and please don’t take your mental health for granted.