My mental health: accepting the lightness of being

April 1, 2021

Photograph by Marcelo Dias at Pexels

Alessia Cumbo shares her difficulties and explores ways of improving wellbeing

Right now, during the pandemic, the whole world is experiencing a sense of loss. Recent surveys by Young Minds show that a quarter of young people with mental health issues in Britain are no longer able to access the support they need as a result of Covid-19.

Mental health issues can occur at any age, with half starting by the age of 15, according to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England.

Mental health disturbances can affect someone’s way of thinking, impacting their day-to-day life, school, or work, and must not be ignored.

For some, experiencing depression can mean losing motivation to do things for themselves or for anything at all. Self-worth can be at rock bottom. This is someone like me. In my life, I have faced episodes of depression and anxiety, which started at school when I was badly bullied.

I’m also affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

I have intrusive thoughts, which take up a lot of time, slow me down and distract me from my work schedule

OCD affects me in a way where I have intrusive thoughts, which take up a lot of time, slow me down and distract me from my work schedule. I have thoughts like, “Get to the pole before the yellow car does otherwise I’ll be struck by bad luck” and “Read 10 comments on this post otherwise someone in my family will die”. If I don’t do these things then I feel totally overwhelmed, anxious and doomed.

An individual’s experience with OCD or other mental health issues will not only impact their own wellbeing but will have a knock-on effect on their loved ones.

From my understanding, being in a relationship with someone who has schizophrenia might mean you have to deal with psychotic episodes. The two main symptoms of psychosis are the combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking, which can cause severe distress on both sides.

It’s important to look out for people who suffer from these episodes and get them help as soon as possible, so it doesn’t become a bigger issue. Early treatment can be more effective.

School-life can have a big impact on a teenager’s wellbeing, especially for those like me. With my ADHD I find it hard to focus and get distracted easily. I often feel under massive pressure, as I know I can get behind. This can spiral out of control and I fall deeper into a dark hole. I beat myself up for struggling to do my work or turning in an assignment late, which just ends up making it worse.

I’ve found sleep, self-love and acceptance are vital for my wellbeing

Something I have experienced lately is poor sleep: insomnia. I’ve got into the habit of staying up very late just to keep up with my workload. At night I get time alone and it’s more peaceful. The trouble with being a night owl is that I have to get up early so I just end up feeling exhausted a lot of the time.

In 2020 Research by NHS digital showed a steep rise in children and teenagers in England being admitted to hospital for sleep disorders, with admissions for conditions such as insomnia almost doubling in the last seven years.

Teens need at least nine or ten hours of sleep a night; without that, there is an impact on our mental and physical health. Getting your sleep sorted is a good way to start looking after yourself. Here are some tips and here is a complete guide to insomnia and how to manage it.

I’ve found sleep, self-love and acceptance are vital for my wellbeing. I try to focus on the good things and not overthink too much. A one-day-at-a-time mindset has been very important, especially during the pandemic with its isolating lockdowns.

With more time to look inwards, I now understand that emotions are not permanent, which helps me be more hopeful and positive. The lightness of hope has helped me realise that our situations will always change and get easier.

Every passing day is a day we will never experience again, so we live in a constant state of flux. For however long they last, difficult feelings will pass.

If you are suffering from intrusive thoughts or any of the issues discussed here, try contacting the Mix today!

Alessia is studying Creative Media at Barnet Southgate College. She is passionate about music and loves films and how much power editing contributes to creating a story.

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