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What Would I Tell My Younger Self

27 May

by ola subair

Blogs

In this piece, Ola reflects on how much she has changed since her younger years, and how her mindset has changed to be more open, honest and to focus on what she can do to help herself.

A few weeks ago I was looking for some old documents at home. After a good rummaging through my plastic storage boxes, I came across some diaries and drawings from my teens a few years back.  I came across a letter that I instantly recognised, and it gave me a weird feeling. It was a letter to a higher power. I wanted my time to be up. I genuinely didn’t want to see another day.

As I stood there contemplating what I’d stumbled upon, I remembered moments of not wanting to look at the mirror, holding a pen shakily against my skin or sat crying against my bedroom door. I was fed up with myself. I just didn’t care about anything and everything.

But I overcame it –  almost completely.

At the time, I was religious and so my confidence that things would get better rested in a higher power and I guess praying gave me comfort to an extent. Looking back now, even though I do gets bouts of negativity from time to time, my mindset has changed.

It all starts with the mind.

Sometimes we just can’t predict the weather. There will be days of thunderstorm, days of gloom and days of sunshine, sometimes we might even have a smashing rainbow of day. There are many things that can affect our individual forecast, like a coworker saying something annoying or being unable to achieve something due to external circumstance. Ultimately, it’s our thoughts that provide the driving force to our decisions.

There are some aspects in life that I have come to realise are really important. I find myself referring back to them when speaking to friends and family about their woes and probably would have provided comfort to when I was at my lowest point.

Everyone will have their own ways of achieving peace, focus and happiness.

To be at peace for me means to be at ease, resolving bad thoughts and feelings, scrapbook, write how I feel, speaking to those closest to me. Anything that will help resolve lingering thoughts that aren’t good for me. I generally am not an outspoken person and find it hard on occasion to say what’s really bugging me. But I can tell you, when you make the plunge to do it, you can do it again and again if you need to. Recently, I opened up to my partner about how I’d been feeling. I’ve been living with him over 2 years and still found it hard to let off  steam. Bottling up distracting thoughts is not worth it, they can be damaging, link themselves like chains and emboss themselves in the head. Opening up about what had been bugging me deep down inside such as general global news and my personal life wasn’t easy, but it bonded my relationship with my partner that little bit more and brought about a lovely bit of solace.

Being at ease means to be content. To get to the root of what is disrupting my sleep and cherry pick things that were on my mind, to find a solution.  I have always been keen on fitness and have been avid in areas like netball. Since sustaining a long term injury, have learnt to be patient with myself and found yoga. Yoga is like a medication for both my body and mind. It helps declutter my mind,  brings me back to what is really important in life, just chill the hell out and have a few moments of peace with myself! Taking some time out away from some form of digital screen and embracing the moment helps me to recalibrate my focus.

You’ve got to do what you need to do to maintain your focus on what you want to achieve, no matter how small they are! I find myself quoting Tesco’s tagline from time to time “Every little helps”. If you need to, block out what you need to help you reach that little further to your goals. I would tell my younger self to stop wishing I was different and channelling energy into comparing myself to others and trying to be something I’m not. I’ve tried it and it’s really not worth it. It may provide a some form of satisfaction, but it’s only short term. Those kind of thoughts I found hindered my ability to move on, to really reach my potential in what I wanted to do.

As much as I want a sunny forever forecast of life, I always have it in mind to take each day as it comes and to have an open mind to possibilities. I find ticking tasks off daily not only helps my productivity, but gives me a happiness boost too and improves my mindset. It helps me feel more purposeful and the desire to continue, to look forward to doing more and achieving more. Happiness can come in so many forms and its important to be happy in a way that is true to oneself. During my more gloomy days, I resorted to drawing, painting, volunteering, finding a reason to laugh, find meaningful activities outside of home away from where I felt locked down and tense.

I would have told my younger self:

Hey you, you’re doing awesome. It may not seem like it, but I can assure you, you really are. Things may seem pretty crap now and there’s nothing more to do on earth but there’s only one of you.  You’re unique and you should embrace that! Don’t think you’re worthless, you are someone’s reason to smile. Remember that. You should try finding a moments of stillness. Trust me, it’s really good for finding that ounce of peace, that mental clarity. It will help you focus more. You can’t give up. It’s now that you need to be stronger than ever. You’re not doing it for anyone but yourself. Spare yourself the negative and limiting thoughts and put your focus on the good news and things that bring about positivity out there. Feel more inspired! Laugh more!

I know external things like the arguments and violence at home can be so rattling and distracting but you have to maintain focus. You need to change the way you think. Develop internally and you’ll permeate your external surrounding fruitfully.

It all starts with the mind. You can do it.

 

If you have something you want to say about mental health send us a pitch to cai.burton@freedomofmind.org.uk

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