I like making quick spur of the moment decisions, in case you hadn’t noticed with my last project (please, check out my soundcloud bits on the side or click HERE to listen to my mental health podcasts for mind!) HOWEVER I’m now doing something else entirely out there. Some of you may think ‘Nat, for gods sake, what are you doing.’ And you’d be entirely right. What possessed me to decide to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? And what the hell am I doing back in the UK?
Ok, so calm down. Let me answer the latter for you. I’ve just had the most incredible three months of my life. I’ve been an English Language teacher for refugees in Serbia. I met the most incredible students and entirely motivated and passionate individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I did not want to stop, and I did not want to leave them. But life has other callings, sadly. Firstly, my bank account started screeching at my in my nightmares and told me I needed to get a job to support myself, which sadly could not happen abroad nor in my volunteering experience for various reasons. Secondly, my family like to bother me every five minutes and criticise what I’m doing or subtly hint that they would prefer me to be doing something else (doesn’t everyone’s family do this?). And finally, I am unwell. Quite, unwell. So it was about time I got home to refresh myself, find some job to give me some money even if it isn’t as rewarding as teaching English to refugees, and make my family happy (for now).
So while I’m bed bound recouperating on a tonne of tablets I can barely pronounce, unable to eat, barely able to sleep, staring blankly out of my bedroom window wondering what happened to how awesome my life was before I came back to the UK, I’m going to write a novel. Now, I should be looking at jobs. In fact, I’ve actually had job offers, and have got so cold feet about them I’ve been unsure as to whether to take them. But I figure, I’ll leave that for when I’m feeling my proper self again. To be a boss, you just need to be better. So far my diet of soggy cornflakes, tomato soup and plain pasta isn’t exactly making me feel or look the part for scoring some mother of a graduate job. So, I’ll stick to my passions to stay as motivated as possible during this dreary existance. Writing.
I won’t lie, my mental health since being home and being this ill has been questionable. I’ve barely spoken to my family, and I’ve barely smiled or laughed (also because it physically hurts to do so) and for the first time in a very long time, I’ve felt pained and sad. Which is not good at all. But I won’t let myself feel too guilty about it. My body needs time, and it needs to rejuvenate and recuperate, and it’s ok to feel a bit down and sad when my bod is feeling so gross. So, I’m writing a novel during the space of the month, for the banter, and also because my younger brother told me I should write a book because all I do is write and I have virtually nothing else to do with my life now (apparently I’m even good at it, but the claim is questionable, considering the only things he has ever read of mine have been funny children’s stories).
So, what is my novel going to be about? Well, of course, all about mental health. With a twist. It wouldn’t just be a normal book with me, obviously. I don’t do normal. I’m not very normal. In fact, aside from my younger brother telling me to write a book, my younger sister told me I should become a unicorn hairdresser “because working for a shop is what normal people do and you’re not a normal person, Nat.”. Touche. If I wasn’t aware of that before, I am now. I digress. The book is called ‘Mindfulness for the Utterly, Ridiculously, Positively, Undoubtedly Useless’, because I’m so, so useless. Like I literally am probably one of the most useless human beings any of my mates know, for sure. Not only that, but being useless and suffering with mental health issues do not go hand in hand. You need to be able to manage it, and not be useless towards it. Why do I not take part in intense yoga sessions every day and meditate every other minute? Drink avocado chicken smoothies and thank nature for blessing me with the autumn leaves and take baths in the wind? I just don’t. I just simply, get lazy, and would binge watch Corrie in bed if I’m sad and eat biscoff biscuits. And you know what, I’ve come to realise in my time away from home, that it’s totally ok. It is totally ok to not be so great. It is even totally ok to deal with it in that way sometimes. t is ok that I am not perfect. But have I been managing my mental health in other ways? Why is it without the down facing dog pose I’ve been able to be happy? How have I come accustomed to managing my happiness, and how have I been thinking differently that has been positively impacting my mental health?
And so, there you have it. I’m writing a novel all about how you are entitled to happiness and can still be happy even if you are not some rainbow guru. It might even be a little bit funny if my bizarre humour comes through clear enough. The point is, don’t beat yourself up for not being on form with stereotypical mindfulness when you suffer with low moods. Let’s see how this goes, and let’s see if this even makes sense. It’s just for a bit of fun, but I’ve got a word count target and everything. If the amount I write in these blog posts continues I’ll for sure have it done within the month…