Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and I wanted to blog about it. Every day, I tried, but I just couldn’t. It felt too raw, too real, too heavy and just too much and so, eventually, I gave up and gave in to the “just can’ts”.
I got the term from my friend, Sarah, who also lives with this Thing we call mental illness, as well as being a brilliant singer and artist and all-round amazing person and friend. The “just can’ts” are when you give in and admit to yourself that this thing you’re meant to do, or should do, or committed to do, is … too much. Not for any reason you could explain to anyone who doesn’t “get” what anxiety and depression feels like. Just … because.
When you “just can’t”, the best thing to do is be kind to yourself and not push yourself too hard, because pushing in the middle of a “just can’t” ultimately leads to disaster.
Last week, I had the “just can’ts”, big time.
I refused social invitations. I delayed unnecessary work. I put off returning phone calls. I cocooned myself with Tiger. We went on adventures, went to the faerie shop, the museum, the library, ate frozen yoghurt. And I listened to all the coverage of Mental Health Awareness Week and I felt better because I felt less alone.
But it’s only now that I can write about it.
And I don’t want to say anything too complicated. Far cleverer, more articulate people than I am spoke at length last week and did wondrous, brave things (I’m looking, in particular, at the amazing Matt Okine on Triple J. I don’t know the guy and he doesn’t know me from a bar of soap, but my giddy aunt he helped me so much last week).
All I want to say is this: Last week, a few people were especially lovely to me. They were family members and friends. They were librarians, museum attendants, even faerie shop faeries.
They helped. By doing nothing more than being kind.
Be kind to each other. Always. Because you never know when that random lady on the street has an attack of the “just can’ts”. Your kindness could make a difference. It will make a difference.
Kindness matters. It’s everything.
Thank you, to everyone who’s been kind to me.