Feeling Distanced?

Feeling Distanced?
Photo by Nick Fewings / Unsplash

Do you ever have those days when you think - "I'm so different, what's wrong with me?" Well, pause and breath - there's nothing wrong with you! Those oddities and quirky thoughts , behaviours and characteristics are awesomely unique to you so don't be so quick to dismiss them just because you feel distanced. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has some type/s of distinctive characteristics that can often rear its head at the worst of times. These characteristics could lead to feeling distanced from others, anxious about who we are, depressed because we feel helpless, low in confidence and feeling highly unmotivated.

When we receive a mental health or learning diagnosis it's easy to feel like our whole world is caving in and we start to wonder why this could be happening to us and from there we start to make assumptions (often daily) about the impossibilities of coping and managing expectations thrust on us from those around us. So, what often happens is that we withdraw back into ourselves or, in layman's terms - we hide as much as we can as a sort of - avoidance technique which is a natural 'protective' instinct that kicks in whenever we feel overwhelmed.

This was certainly very true for me as a young person although I never knew why I was doing certain things until much later in life when I learnt about mental health. For me, my escape was alone in my room doing art, playing my guitar or writing songs. All my artwork depicted sad emotions on faces and I never knew why. My composing was also the same - sad, slow and normally very tragic as was the music I listened to at the time. While I might have felt 'safe' during these times, being this isolated was actually doing more harm to my mental health than good. Here's why - when we isolate ourselves it's easy to have your mind open to all sorts of assumptions which can often be about death, mayhem, self-doubt and self-pity. It can be a hole that gets deeper by the day if we don't reach out and connect with someone to help.

I was fortunate in my later teens to have a friend who, I guess you could say...was very concerned for my wellbeing! He could see where I was heading and because he genuinely cared for me he made himself available to listen. He was also the one who at times had to be firm with me to get me out of the house and out doing something active. At first, this approach scared me. When he started to challenge me I just wanted to tell him to go away! I'm glad I didn't because his perseverance ended up saving my life and because he cared so much I started to develop these caring skills towards myself.

Can I say this about mental health - accept it and learn about it, don't give in to it! The more we learn then the more we can take control of our life and feel more proactive and happy with our purpose and place in society. It takes time. There is no 'magic pill' - time and healthy relationships with others is the answer - trust me! And there will be bad days - that's ok - so long as we have strategies in place to move forward. One good strategy is to have a journal and write down thoughts or emotions from 'a bad' day so that you can refer back to them when they rise up again so you can recognise certain patterns. And the same is for 'good' days. What made them good - can we refer back to these areas to set us free from the bad days?

I could go on for ages about this subject but for now I'll leave it here. If you would like to hear more - email me any time - [email protected] - I would be happy and honoured to listen. Your learning advisor is also there to help. If you have an issue unrelated to study that you need support with, please let them know. While they may not always be able to assist you directly, they can help refer you on to somebody who can.

Actually - I'll say one last thing. Find that one thing you love doing and tell someone about it and see where that conversation goes. If it goes nowhere, honestly, you're speaking to the wrong person! Find someone who will listen and can help you to release this passion.

Below are some amazing links to apps and sites regarding mental health. Feel free to take a look:

Mental health and wellbeing apps | Health Navigator NZ
Mobile phone apps can be a useful tool for helping you to manage anxiety, stress, depression and general mental health. However, not all mental health apps are recommended, and some are suitable in some situations but not others. Find out about a range of mental health and wellbeing apps that we hav…
Mental health and wellbeing apps (for teenagers and young people) | Health Navigator NZ
The following apps for mental health and well being are specifically aimed at young people.