I must admit, I can understand why people dismiss mental health. To be honest, I was one of these people. Well until 2019, when I returned from my travels from Asia to London. For so many reasons, I felt the stress of this. Due for an operation, I was freaking out as I had never had surgery before. Not only that, but 3 days before I arrived back home, I had a motor vehicle accident that muddled my brain. To top it off, I was thrown right back into the chaos of London, which I have struggled with even in the calmest states of mind.
Naively thinking that I possessed immunity to mental health problems, or that they didn't exist to a crippling extent, arriving home I threw myself straight back into the rat race. Within 5 days, I got myself a shiny new job in HR. Sitting in the induction opposite my new manager, I gazed out the window and saw Nando's, a wildly popular restaurant in the UK. At that moment, it dawned on me that I was home, and unease flooded through me. Looking at my brand-spanking new manager in the eye, I shat myself. No, not figuratively, literally pooped. Quickly making excuses, I headed straight for the bathroom a mental and physical mess. My heart racing, feeling faint, my head whirling, I debated whether this was it, was I dying? After a few minutes, I pulled myself together to understand I was experiencing a panic attack. Instead of just telling my lovely new boss, I pushed through the whole first day, team lunch and all! Queue the start of my panic disorder, PTSD, with a little bit of depression sprinkled on top.
Now, paying National Insurance since my first job at 16, made me feel confident about getting support from the wonderful NHS in the UK. After mustering up the strength and courage to reveal my situation to the kind support worker on the phone, she reassured me that they could help. Relief washed over me. I could get group therapy... in 6 months time. WOW! How on earth could I handle this feeling for 6 more months?! Finishing the phone call, I burst into tears as I felt completely crushed.
After a bit of a meltdown, I started researching natural ways to manage my mental health. Getting outside in nature kept appearing on websites and it occurred to me that I worked close by to huge commons. This is a magnificent space filled with countless species of trees, plants, and flowers. A vast green scattered with with chill-out areas where I could just lie on the ground, look up at the trees, bathed in the sounds of the wind, birds and scuttling insects. Sensing the power of the earth beneath me, in awe of the different patterns, colours, and textures created by the plants and weather. The tranquil beauty of nature did in fact allow me to even momentarily pause the hurtling thoughts in my head as I absorbed the sights, smells, and sounds of the planet in its purest form.
Nature demanded nothing from me. At that time, I couldn't keep my word, commit to plans, or hold space for other people. Nature didn't ask me to do that and it made me feel protected when I felt scared of myself and the world around me. However, I'm not saying that this cured all mental health issues, but walking in the serene abyss definitely gave me a crutch to lean on to get myself to a place where I could even think rationally. These strolls helped me get out of my own head and regain some sort of clarity. There is so much beauty, grounding, and peace in nature. It helped me remember the insignificance of my existence, and that like nature, I can keep growing, blooming, and thriving.
Exploring before, during, and after work for around 6 months, I felt surprised to constantly discover new spots and structures built out of fallen branches. It was the daily leafy adventure my soul needed!
So, I challenge you; when you are next feeling lost, unsure, or unbalanced ... get outside. And if you can't always manage, that is okay too. 'Go outside for a walk' sounds simple when you are not carrying the weight of overwhelm on your shoulders. Therefore, I also try to fill my house with plants and flowers, to connect with the natural world around me. Marvel at a flower and how the petals create a cool pattern. Take a second to appreciate the fruit and vegetables you prepare meals with too. Personally, I can stare at a red cabbage for far too long fascinated that something that appears so intricately designed, just casually came from the ground. Judge me all you want, but red cabbages are something special. You heard it here first!
About the Creator
Writing helps me dump the art that lives amongst the party of my mind.
Writing helps me share the lessons I've learned from being a human.
Writing helps me try and make sense of life which I am finding to be an endless adventure!