Seren Kiremitcioglu • 23 August 2020 • 3 minutes

My Mental Health: How I’m Doing

Hello everyone – it’s been a while!

As I sink back into the comfy armchair that is my work routine each day, I’ve been pretty whacked out by 6pm. However, I’m so happy to be back – it’s great to feel productive and get things moving again!

I’m in an odd stage of my life where I actually feel… dare I say it… happy!?

A photo of me and my boyfriend Charlie. Charlie is smiling, I am poking my tongue out.

Obviously I’m not depressed and anxious 24/7 – mental health is much more nuanced than that. But, since my relapse of mental illness last summer, a good six months were simply a case of getting through each day and trying to find the happy moments to get me through. Lockdown has been really up and down for everyone, but ever since I finished a course of CBT in the spring, I’ve felt a new lease of life.

A photo of dark clouds in the evening

It’s probably because, for the first time in my life, I heard the words “according to the questionnaires, you are officially recovered from both depression and anxiety.”

The power behind that one sentiment was unbelievable. Over lunch today, my boyfriend commented on how well I’d been doing lately, and I realised that I actually was! I feel content, good, satisfied, on an even keel, etc.

I haven’t felt like this in at least a decade. Yes – 10 years!

A photo of myself taken yesterday

I think a huge force behind this has been putting myself first. I’ve always been so quick to put the needs of others before mine, but it was making me unwell. Literally. Stress makes fibromyalgia so much worse, so when I received my official diagnosis, I decided it was time to stop being so self-sacrificing.

This summer, I’ve been investing my time (and I do see it as the biggest investment I can make) in being the best I can be at work, spending quality time with Charlie, and doing the things I love.

A photo of me and Charlie having a picnic on the beach. The sun is setting, so most of the beach is in shade. We have grapes, crisps, and drinks.

I’ve rediscovered my love for drawing and painting, and I’ve been racing through books in my spare time. Volunteering for Shout has felt meaningful and rewarding, and spending more time in the kitchen to cook delicious and healthy meals has also made the world of difference.

A photo of me reading Villette by Jane Austen

A huge shift came with the end of shielding. Getting back into the world has been freeing, empowering, and overall just incredible. Being outside has always been an enormous element of maintaining my mental wellbeing, and taking my first sea swim of the year felt unbelievable.

A photo of me sea swimming - I am smiling in a red swimming costume, which you can see beneath the water's surface

I need the fresh air and open landscape to reset. It feels like a primal necessity. I have always intrinsically linked my wellbeing with the ocean, and yesterday we walked through howling winds on the seafront. It felt incredible, and reminded me of how wonderful it is to live by the coast. Charlie and I have also recently found a beautiful place to watch the sunset with our hot chocolate and jet boil, and I can’t get enough of it.

I’m grateful to feel liberated from the weight of depression and anxiety. Of course, I’m not cured. I do have wobbles throughout the days, and I know my illnesses could come back at any point. But for now, I feel free.

And that’s quite nice 😊

A photo of clouds and a blue sky
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