World Mental Health Day was yesterday, October 10th 2019. Everyday is truly a great opportunity to talk about mental health and it's importance to our overall well-being as individuals.
I didn't get around to writing this blog until today, October 11th. I have always been honest and upfront about my journey with mental health. I have been going to therapy since I was 14 and I have been on medication since I was 15 or 16. Mental health has been a large part of my life for a long time.
This year my family started attending therapy as a group, and paired with my individual therapist I have been learning so much about myself.
I have recognized the qualities I couldn't explain as a kid were ways my anxiety manifested. Why I was so sensitive, why I hated being touched, why I was more comfortable spending time by myself, why I was NOT confident, and so much more.
The biggest focus for my mental health this year has been boundaries. Going to family therapy and working with my therapist has really shown me how AWFUL I am with boundaries.
I am very family and friend oriented and willing to drop everything for someone I love no matter what. When I was growing up I loved how much space I could hold for others. I loved that I was someone they could trust and felt comfortable with, but I neglected holding space for myself. Loving myself.
I have never really had boundaries ever in my life and I did not realize how draining that was to my being. I would and still do, fill up my own cup and it would be running on empty not to long after since I would just pour it all right back out for those I love. I truthfully did not even know what boundaries looked like or felt like up until this year.
Being an empath it is hard for me to separate myself from other peoples feelings and issues. It is hard to separate myself from others, especially family. It is hard for me to not allow their hardships to become my own. I have taken on responsibility for a lot of things that aren't mine to bear. How do you separate yourself when the people you love are hurting?
BUT, this year I have been focusing wildly on boundaries. The biggest issue for me is the follow-through and the guilt I feel from it. I feel so guilty that I am holding up these boundaries. Which is how I have been conditioned. And a lot of people don't understand. They think that I am being mean, rude, and ungrateful. But truthfully I am trying to protect myself.
This past week I have finally felt peace with creating boundaries and allowing myself to protect my mind and energy. I have been focusing on love with detachment.
My mental health is far from perfect, but I can feel a shift coming with these boundaries I am honoring. I can feel a shift and the emergence of new understanding. I finally feel empowered. I feel strong and confident. And I feel like I am able to voice my opinions and feelings clearly.
Our family therapist is always chuckling at me because she says I come ready to say what I need to say and that I am always ready to dive into the work. I think it is the many years of therapy that have allowed me to show up so openly and honestly.
My boundaries are still not great, but if you are a recovering people pleaser and lover of all, some things I can suggest are:
-Setting really small boundaries first. Not answering phone calls if you don't want to or can't, not answering texts right away, not participating in conversations that don't serve you, etc.
-Repeat affirmations that you love yourself and you love those in your life. Setting boundaries doesn't make you love them any less, just helps you love you more.
-Give yourself patience. You will never be perfect at this. But you are trying and that's amazing!
-Set up clear and open communication with the people you love.
-Be honest!!! It is crazy what happens when you are honest with the people you love about what is going on and what you need. Your people want to be there for you if you let them.