Earlier today I was chatting to a friend of mine. She happens to be one of my oldest friends, dating back to when we were Psychology students in Greece. We were discussing how we have been rather challenged this past year and this should come as no surprise:
mental health professionals have had to cope with an immensely difficult year, trying to support their clients whilst going through the very same crises themselves. No wonder me and my friend felt worn out, tired and out of balance.
We spoke openly about how we felt our mental health took a “plunge” in 2020 especially as we were heading into winter. Winter tends to be a period where a lot of emotional difficulties arise. Also, there is considerably less sunlight which can negatively affect our mood, plus we were (are?) all flat out exhausted by the INSANE events of 2020 and the overall uncertainty that came with it.
Naturally I am no exception, but I am also a passionate believer that we have our biggest breakthroughs during difficult times. Not sure if that is truly the case – even if it isn’t, the fact that I believe it is really what matters – but regardless that is my personal viewpoint. So I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting… like a lot. And in that moment chatting to my friend I really focused on the word she used: “plunge”. And I considered it in the literal sense of the word, meaning that you dive into the sea, you jump in the water. So I decided to flip the script and re-frame the meaning of the phrase “my mental health took a plunge”. I didn’t want to take away from the painful and challenging experience of my friend (myself and everyone else) but this is what I said to her:
“We always come out stronger after taking a plunge…. For one simple reason. This is how we learn how to swim!”
We both smiled..
Sometimes we are able to do this on our own and other times we want some external support in the form or friends, family, or therapy. Whatever we choose is great as long as we have our best interest at heart.
So today, this week, this new year that already started off rather crazy, I invite you to not be afraid of a “plunge”. Instead welcome it, process it, stay curious while you experience it. Acknowledge that you have been courageous enough to handle it.
And last but not least, don’t forget to give yourselves a massive hug; because of this you became a much better swimmer!!