“How do you look after your mental wellbeing?”

So I actually wrote this a few days before publishing it because a) I’ve been quite busy, and b) well, I was going to re-read it before hand because I wasn’t in the clearest of mindsets when I wrote it. I initially started to edit what I wrote to make it understandable, but then I decided not to carry on doing this because it defeats the point of having something to remind myself of what happens to my brain when I don’t look after my wellbeing.

 

“How do you look after your mental wellbeing?”

I’ve been asking this question to a lot of people this week.

At the lovely ol’ Warwick SU it’s Wellbeing & Mental Health Awareness Week (all the fun…seriously, I’m finding it really great!). And what would a campaign week be without a white board being carried around campus (this time by yours truly) and random people being asked to write something and have their photo taken brandishing said white board.

Aside from the rejection (there was quite a bit, and a few reluctant agreements along the way), there’s one thing that pretty much everyone, myself included, said when having to answer the question.

“I don’t know how I look after my mental wellbeing” was pretty much everyone’s response.

“I don’t” was another.

My joke answer before actually answering the question properly was “medication”.

But isn’t that a bit worrying? That we don’t actively look after our mental wellbeing? What does that say about the attitude we have towards mental health? Sure, we talk about it far more than we used to, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing enough. Regularly we prioritise so many other things over our own wellbeing. And, sadly, today I have been yet another prime example of prioritising something else over your personal wellbeing. It’s currently gone 5pm…and my mum is going to really hate me admitting this…my food intake for today is as follows: an Alpen bar and some Skittles…yeah…pretty appalling.

Why? That’s the question I’m sure admitting this will raise. Why would you not eat?! Why would you not eat a proper breakfast or not eat lunch?!

The answer? I haven’t prioritise my wellbeing. I should. But I don’t. It’s a habit. A habit of if there’s something else that’s important to me that I could or should be doing, I’ll do that over eating (or more I’ll forget to eat because there’s so much other stuff taking up my mind). The worst part is that I’m not hungry. I’ve eaten pretty much nothing, and I’m not hungry. When I get back to my flat I’m going to have to force myself to eat, and that’s going to be really difficult because it’s going to make me feel ill, it will make me feel sick.

I’m a prime example of not practicing exactly what you preach. I wrote on a white board on Monday that ‘my idea worth sharing’ was “That your wellbeing should always be a priority.” And it should be. But yet I don’t heed my own advice.

But I should. Not doing so today is currently having a severe knock-on effect. I’m really struggling to focus and I can’t even remember a lot of what I’ve written up to this point. I’m out of it. Completely. And there’s a whole pile of things I need to do still that not having looked after my wellbeing today is going to negatively effect. And in order to catch up on what you should have eaten, to get the energy levels necessary to function, you need to eat. A lot. But I can’t. Not that I don’t want to, it’s just one of those things. I’ve never been able to eat huge amounts of food at once, and when I eat meals I have to eat fast or my brain starts to tell me that I’m full and then I can’t eat any more, when really I should eat more. Plus the point when you feel completely dazed and confused comes out of nowhere. I was perfectly fine today until about 3.30pm. But that was probably because up until that point I was keeping busy (not in order to avoid eating, but because I was enjoying what I was doing). When I stopped and had to focus on something else that required concentration I just couldn’t function. Even this post I don’t want to post until tomorrow, because to be quite honest I’m going to have to reread through it when I’m in a better mind frame to a) check for glaring spelling and grammatical errors that will make my mother cringe; and b) because I’ve no idea if what I’ve written makes any sense (in fact I know that a lot of it doesn’t but I don’t have the brain capacity to sort it out into something cohesive).

This is the annoying thing: when I don’t eat, I can’t think straight (there are many things I wanted to include in this post which I’ve completely forgotten about in the quite literal blink of an eye). When I can’t think straight, I feel stupid and useless. When I feel stupid and useless, I feel like I did when I was depressed. And when I was depressed, I couldn’t eat. And so the loop continues. And it’s a pretty self-destroying loop to be caught in.

So a word to the wise future Sophie (and anybody else who’s reading this): Your wellbeing should always be a priority (but I’ll probably forget that again soon enough).

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