That's the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, 8-14 May.
What a comfort to see it 'trending' on Twitter yesterday morning: #MHAW17
Having just sent another email to my manager informing her I will not be coming into work until at least the end of May, my Monday motivation is slightly different to the pantheon of hard-workers, contributors to society, bread-winners, go-getters, all with their stories of success and starting the week right with Starbucks, spirit and sass.
My motivation today: survive.
I am currently in a state of limbo, waiting to be seen by a psychiatrist (end of May), having had a referral made the first week of February... it's been a long few months. I have gone from a severe depressive episode with serious thoughts of suicide to being back at work (albeit on less hours) with an output above and beyond my normal full-time level (but then what's 'normal' to us Moodscopers...) With over 10 years' worth of highs and lows, there is a possibility of a bipolar diagnosis and in the mean-time I find myself questioning everything, still unable to stop or slow down yet beyond exhausted, seduced by self-harm and comfort eating.
I am not afraid of labels; I am open and willing to receive whatever course of treatment is right for me. The on and offs and altered dosages of citalopram and sertraline might have helped with low episodes, but they don't seem to have prevented them nor helped achieve balance in my life. Even on good days, thoughts out of nowhere arrive and say "If you died today, at least you'd die happy."
Right now, all my energies are focused on surviving; a new one for me as most of the time they are equally spread across work, relationships, friendships, supporting others ("sharing is caring" as we say). But now I have pressed pause no matter what the cost to the above. I have had to remind myself that if I don't stop now, I won't even be here to do a job that I love. So if I lose my job is that really the worst that could happen? Perhaps we shouldn't ask ourselves that question – I'm sure most of us could come up with an array of catastrophic answers.
I count myself extremely lucky that I have family and friends to support me, who want me to both survive AND thrive.
Thriving will come – that I truly believe – but for now, let's simply survive. And be kind to ourselves for doing so; depressives are so often told to be compassionate with themselves. This comes in many different forms for all of us but what bigger act of compassion than choosing life? What better Monday motivation than: "I will survive." ?
As long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive...
Sending light, love and disco diva strength to all you survivors and thrivers.
A Moodscope member.