So a lot of you know the basis of my story, and have probably seen me go on about mental health and mental health awareness on my Facebook page and my blog. But why do I do it? I do it because when my mental health journey kicked off, it became a big part of my life that still to this day I have to maintain and control. It’s a part of me, I have struggled shaking off, time and time again. But over time, I’ve learnt to accept that it’s a part of who I am. My experience with anxiety, panic attacks, and recently my depressive relapse spell, has shaped the person I am today, in both good and bad. The truth is, life just isn’t about the things that haven’t even happened yet. They’re about things that have already happened, and dealing with them in the present. After all, you can’t change what you refuse to confront. Simba found that out when he needed to scoot back over to Pride Rock and challenge his evil Uncle Scar, even with Hakuna Matata in his life (yes I did just say that). Happiness is just not linear. I’m slowly learning to accept, that I will go through huge ups and sometimes huge downs. But over this time, I’ve developed what a good friend of mine called recently, a toolbox, of things to get my feet back on the ground. Sometimes, I’m great at it. Sometimes, I’m useless at it. The latter I discovered when I relapsed over Christmas with a feeling of dread and distress, that had me contemplating my whole life.
I’m currently in one of the happiest places I’ve been in. My return to Belgrade was based on my happy connotations with the city and my time here, and my desire to help others who have also had times of distress, and have been in, undoubtedly, worse situations than I could ever contemplate. But in helping others, I’ve once again been reminded what real, wholesome love feels like, and I’m learning about life in yet another perspective.
So I thought the timing of this couldn’t be more in tune! Hear me out, let me introduce my idea. For those that don’t know me, I’m Nat, and I’m one of the most useless beings on the planet. I’m lazy, imperfect, like my bed, like a few drinks, and like eating burgers. And that’s ok. But in a bid to do what I should be religiously doing to prevent mental health relapse and inform others about ways in which we can allegedly keep our mental health at bay…I’m going to be going T-total, exercising around the gorgeous Ada Ciganlija each morning, leaving happiness notes across the city of Belgrade, eating ( a tonne ) of decent meals, attempting to get enough sleep, but most importantly, TALK. And the talking part is where the next exciting bit comes in…
So, I had this really mental idea right. Usually, I post a video or poem or post or whatever all over this blog and social media to raise awareness. But some of you already know a lot about my story. Some of you, are probably sick of hearing me ramble on. So this year, I’m going to be having discussions with some of the most influential, awesome, inspirational people in my life, along with (hopefully) some psychologically aware experts in a series of videos and podcasts over the next ten days. Different topics are going to be discussed in each video/podcast, so hopefully you can all check them out and feel extra aware about the depths of mental health, and why we should fight the stigma in simply opening up about what we have been through, how we feel, and what we have experienced as a result. And specifically, learning about the ins and outs of mental health you may not have thought about before!
This time round, I’m also posting this just giving page (CLICK ME!) so that if you happen to watch any of the videos/podcasts I’ll be making over the next ten days, it would be cool if you could also make a donation. I didn’t really know how much to set as a goal, or if this would even be a good idea, but hey! Why not! So please donate on the page. All of this is for Mind (Because when I first started having my panic attacks, I had zero clue what was going on or what even mental health issues were, until my Mom gave me some awesome booklets made by Mind which started my journey in learning more about mental health. I figured since they were so vital in educating me to begin with, why not make them a part of this!)
I hope all this makes sense (and doesn’t fall flat like a pancake!) and as per, congratulations for getting to the end of this post. I’m aware I have a lot of words….
Oh, and of course…I need people to discuss things with! So if I haven’t already contacted you either before this post or in the next half an hour or so, pleaseeeeee don’t be shy and send me a message! I’d love to hear from you, the more, the merrier! Even if it was a short video of something you’d like to say and for me to share on one of my videos or podcasts – JUST DO IT! It would be really, really awesome.
So, here’s to the next ten days, and here’s to continuing to fight societies stigma regarding mental health and the expression of emotions.
Stay Smiling, Nat