While I mentioned last week that November was a very challenging month for my mental health, I was still uncomfortable to share anything to detailed out of fear of jinxing myself (yes, I am definitely scared that I will jinx myself about most good things in life, but that is not a problem for you to hear, just my therapist). But things actually turned out pretty well – I signed on the dotted line for a new job (I start in January!), and I’ve been able to secure a roommate who will move in without interrupting my rent payments. Things worked out! But, as with everything else in life, making these things happen was not a simple process, and it took a toll on my anxiety. And even though I didn’t always remain calm, I found comfort in how I handled these things.
The name of this post comes from the “Keep Calm and Carry On” motivational posters from the British government before World War II. And while those posters are really great and convey a solid message of keeping calm in the face of uncertainty, I thought I’d play with the phrase a bit. My adult life has been a challenge to carry on; I think the same can be said for most people. And we’re better humans for it.
But what makes my challenges unique (and common for the millions of us who live with mental health conditions) are that remaining calm or levelheaded aren’t always in the cards for us. Whether it’s internally or externally, an anxious brain can feel like you’re going a million miles per hour while the world stands still.
It’s a reflex to tell someone to “calm down” when they’re dealing with a lot of emotions or feelings. People get hyped up, torn down, turned into an emotional wreck or become more stoic than ever. But unless someone does something that effects your wellbeing, it is entirely within someone’s right to handle those feelings how they need to (provided it’s in a safe manner).
One of the ways you learn more about yourself is by understanding how you react to events in your life. Whether they’re good or bad, your reactions can teach you so much about yourself. Your emotional intelligence can soar, even as a result of dark times. And they can make you stronger as you prepare for what’s next.
So no, I can’t always ‘keep calm and carry on’ all the time. In fact, most of the time I’m not keeping calm at all. But I will always do my best to continue to carry on despite the circumstances, and I know I’m not the only person doing so. Whether we’re dealing with positives or negatives in our lives, our mental health will have an impact on how we react to those events. And whether it’s the next week, the next day, the next hour or the next moment, we must carry on however we’re able. Here’s hoping we can continue to carry on this week!