Following on from Mike’s successful vlog, this Time to Talk Day Mike talks about how the small things he does on a daily basis make a big difference to his mental health…
My Mental Health History
My mental health journey started over 20 years ago with stress and depression, which were very difficult. Then, just after coming to terms with the illness, I was diagnosed with PSTD after a disastrous few years of dealing with personal tragedy.
I’m a normal, average type of guy; generally happy, have a good job which I enjoy, two beautiful kids, loving partner, played sports and kept in decent shape over the years. But underneath that stereotypical bloke, I suffer on a daily basis!
Since my diagnosis of PTSD in the summer of 2020, rather than experiencing my normal mental health symptoms such as depression and stress, I was hit with more physical symptoms such as chest pain, flash backs, migraines and the feeling of being isolated and scared.
The Power of Small
So how do I cope? How do I function?
No better day to share my “power of small” things, than on Time to Talk Day!
Yes, the usual remedies of medication, counselling and support from family and friends helped me and still do, but without doubt it was my own mind and body which helped me the most.
For my body, it was easier for me because I’ve always been interested in sports and the outdoors and I live in the Lakes, so just by being out walking on the fells was a great way of relaxing and improving fitness. And we know that exercise improves the mind. But what is really important when I’m out walking, is the time to reflect. Think back to the positives in your life and the positives right now, today! Even when you feel the lowest of the low, there is always a positive, even very small ones.
For my mind, as well as the positive thinking, I also think of the day ahead and how I can improve by 1%. Again, it’s the small things – a task at work, what to cook for dinner, what to do with the kids etc. and then sometimes I just think on a good day “what a good day this is today,” tell yourself that. We too often focus on the bad days and how bad it is!
It’s Time to Talk
Yes, I have bad days, don’t we all? If I’m having a bad day, I’ve learned to talk, sounds easy doesn’t it? But remember I’m a stereotypical bloke, I’m not weak, I won’t show my stress! Well that’s wrong and it took me a while to realise that. It is the most courageous thing to do, to admit you are struggling and say “hey, do you mind if we have a chat?”
Do me a favour and on the “Time to Talk Day” on the 4th Feb, just stop, think about your day, and reflect, what is good? And then think ‘how can I improve by 1% tomorrow?’