PSA: You Are NOT Alone

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The journey you take in this life may feel as though you walk it all alone, and in some of the most beautiful ways, sure you do… but, even though there may be moments where you are in a room all alone, or rather are in a room with someone else and feel all alone, you in fact are not.

Isolation is an incredible deception because it tells you that you are the only person going through what you are experiencing. Yes, there are unique factors to the situation you find yourself in, it is after all your life; however, in reality, there are roughly 7.8 billion people on the planet, and many are experiencing the same thing as you are, just different versions.

I’ll never forget when I spoke at a Reclaim Your Voice event in Toronto back in 2016. I discussed my experience being hospitalized for mental health issues against my will and how difficult that was for my trust connections afterwards. At Reclaim Your Voice events, participants will write down notes for the speakers to read when the day is done. I received a note from one person in the group saying that while I was speaking about the psych ward and what happened with my family, he felt as though I was describing his life. He thanked me for speaking that day and then the note came to a close. I will never forget looking at the cue card sized note and thinking to myself, “wow, other people have been through this as well. I am not alone.

Isolation is a liar, and a popular one at that. Feelings of being alone in your experience are not necessarily accurate.Yes, you may experience periods of solitude or even estrangement from others in your life, but even in that solo journey comes the reality that others are going at it alone as well.

This holiday season, do what is right by you when you celebrate. Make the day special for you even if you cannot be with your loved ones outside of your home. Do something you love to do, or even just something comforting, and enjoy your time to yourself. 2020 has presented unique challenges for us all, and even though we are all going through it alone, we are still in this together.

Dear London Mind Fit Reader,

I am in this with you.

I recently saw a tweet that said something about being cautious when it comes to “toxic positivity” in the spiritual community. The point of the tweet was to make the reader aware that it doesn’t have to be “good vibes” all of the time and that being human involves feeling low in some moments. Some healers make it seem as though they are constantly happy, and maybe for some it is not an act but most human beings experience highs and lows. Some experience highs and lows in greater extremes; however, for the most part we all respond to stimuli that is positive and negative that has an effect on our emotional regulatory systems and mental health patterns.

My last post was about being sexually assaulted by someone that I cared about, and while it may be difficult for some to read it is important that you know that just because someone is a mental health advocate does not mean that they are “cured.” If anything, it means that they have a certain level of insight into mental health and are advocating based on that knowledge set. Some people advocate based on personal experience, others because it is the people they love who are afflicted and so on and so forth. Every source has a particular reason for speaking out…mine is that I’ve come so far and feel as though I can help others through sharing my story.

At this site, I want for you to feel as though your mind is sparked on the subject of mental health. I want for these words to instil thinking, and hopefully healthy thinking in the long-term. Everyone is on a mental health journey whether they recognize it or not, but this website is particularly intended for those who are on that journey actively. I am looking to reach those who want to be reached, not those who are close-minded. This is not a diss, but a strong alliance I have for people who are “in the thick of it.” People who have gone so deep they see no way out. I was one of those people. Hope pulled me out of it and faith kept me going.

Sometimes with mental health issues it can feel like there is no rulebook for regaining stability. The truth is the path to get well is really deep within you. It is rooted to your happiness and learning to follow that path in order to bring positivity into your life and higher vibrations to your being. Happiness smiles through all of your cells. Speak kind words to yourself, be patient with your path back to you if it is going slowly. Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither is a mind that needs to be rebuilt after a struggle.

I want to leave you with one final thought. Mental health issues can be likened to a house fire. Imagine your mind is your home and there is a fire in one of the rooms of the house. There are multiple options for how this fire can be put out, and there are multiple scenarios for how much damage this fire can potentially do. This is like your mind in crisis. If the issue is dealt with correctly, swiftly, and with care, there could be minimal damage requiring few repairs. However, if the fire becomes out of control, is not dealt with in an appropriate time or manner, the fire can devastate the home and potentially burn it to the ground. Now, either way, we assume in this scenarios that the person survives the fire, however, they still need a home. They have the funds to rebuild (i.e. the physical capacity/inner will) and they have options for how to rebuild their mind.

The fire in my mind required me to rebuild my mind entirely. I sought to have as sound of an infrastructure as prior to my mental health issues, filled with even greater knowledge sets and skills sets structured to fulfill my purpose in this life. This looked like doing self-interviews in real life, reading books on mental health, watching documentaries, creating as much as I could, and praying to God that I would get my mind back.

Trauma may be able to set a fire, but you have the power to put it out. If you need help from a professional there is no shame in that, my best advice however is to thoroughly research the individuals you are going to entrust with your care. You are in charge of your mind, the work you put in to make it stronger, and the knowledge you feed it to make it wiser.

Feel your power, claim it, and own your experience.

Wishing you love & light,

Arielle London

How To Conduct A “Self-Interview” While You Heal

To kick off Mental Health Awareness Month on London Mind Fit, I am going to start with a very important technique that I used during recovery. In fact, it’s something I continue to use and see myself using for a long time. It’s called a “self-interview.”

At a time when the majority of the world is in, or emerging from, some sort of lockdown, collective mental stability is essential right now. Maintaining our critical thinking at this time is more important than anything but making sure not to lose ourselves and what is important to us is another.

No matter where you are on your journey of healing or self-discovery, I find it helps to periodically conduct a “self-interview”. I started this practice when I was in a debilitating depression where my self-expression was practically null. When I began interviewing myself I did it verbally because I wanted to hone my verbal skills back to the level of expression they were at before, or better, and through this practice and other exercises as well, I recovered.

Recovery is a process, one that I continue to be in every single day. This is what I committed to and what is most important, and I have seen the results of putting my mental health first help transform my life for the better. Improvement is what is important here, not achieving some sort of image of perfection.

A self-interview is simple, although for some it may be harder to complete than others. That’s okay though. Some self-interviews are very emotional because we are the ones asking the questions, and when it comes down to it, we want the answers to the big ones. If you’re not sure where to start, perhaps consider setting the lighting to one you are comfortable with and meditating first. Or, if you’re ready, dive right in!

Aim to ask yourself around 5 questions but don’t be disappointed if you start with less or even go over. The idea is to not overdo it but also to get to a good place in your responses, and believe me, the responses can be revealing.

You can conduct a self-interview verbally or in writing, and I would recommend doing the writing by hand and the verbal interview definitely when you are alone. I am a writer. Sometimes I use dialogue to illustrate a point, so writing in someone else’s voice is something that comes naturally to me. But this is something ANYONE can do. You just have to believe that you can.

If you find that it’s just not working but you’re committed to seeing what you find out about yourself and how it helps you with your freedom of expression & communication skills, start with brainstorming labels of identities that you associate with. Then use some of those labels that you identify with to help guide your questions like an interviewer looking at you would.

If you want to hear a little bit more about the self-interview and the origins of this practice in my healing process listen to the episode of The Eric Ibey Podcast where I discuss it.

Healing is a journey we all take, and mental health is something that affects everyone. You have a mind right? It’s in your body, right?  So, therefore by law it must also be subject to at least some of the same principles as the rest of the physical form even if it has its differences. Well, I applied the concept of repetition in exercises like for a physical workout towards my brain at a time when everything looked bleak and got out of it. Now that I’m in this place, I’m going to do everything in my power to stay here and continue to improve. In the process, I am also in a place to share the journey with others.

Balance is essential, but learning who you are in life can help any person, whether these words resonate with you or not. For me, the self-interview helps when I need some unscrambling, venting, clarifying, or healing. For you, perhaps you can find that it is helpful in different ways. But whichever way you look at it, you really don’t have anything to lose in trying it out.

The one fear you have to overcome prior is finding out the truth about yourself. The intention and expectation is that you will answer these questions honestly, otherwise you will get no where. You are supposed to learn what you want to know about YOU, not someone else.

Another great tip is to envision your favourite interviewer asking you the questions. I visualized Barbara Walters and Oprah to start, and now I don’t need to envision anyone else doing the asking.

An example question and answer from a written self-interview I did in 2019 is:

Q. What is it about mental health that makes you so interested in the field?

A. The fact that I had accomplished as much learning about health, had experience in the field, and an attentive eye on the mental health crisis affecting our global community and yet, until my bipolar diagnosis, I didn’t know the full extent of what mental health was. How deep it could go and how complex it can be.

The answer goes on for another long paragraph, but you get the idea. Ask yourself things you would want to know about yourself and go from there. This sample question is from a 6-question long interview that I conducted at a time when I needed to make, what to me was a big decision. I may not have come to the decision through the interview immediately, but it helped me in the process to see things clearer.

Make no apologies for what you do to maintain your mental health and never assume that it does not apply to you to do some work because there was a day when I had no diagnoses or real issues to speak of. Prevention is key to avoiding any type of crisis. Who cares if you look silly to someone else? It’s your mind, and it deserves some attention and challenging exercise sometimes.

If you’re looking for a place to start with your mental health, this is an effective practice to throw into the mix.

And if it doesn’t work for you, cool, but it could work for someone else who needs it.

It worked for me.