Lessons Learned in Mastering Your Mental Health

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If you asked me over a decade ago when I first diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression as a teenager what a mindset was, I honestly would have looked at your with a blank face and blatantly said, “what the fuck are you talking about?”

Ask me today, and it’s pretty much the whole basis of my career. 

It’s funny how times change. Back when I was thrust into the deep end of mental illness, I sat on the edge of the pool, looked at my dad and said “Does that mean that I’m just sad all the time now?”. I had no idea. I didn’t know about depression and I didn’t know about anxiety, but what I did know is that I didn’t feel like myself anymore and the only feeling I seemed to acknowledge was the one that made me feel like absolute shit. 

I had just turned 17,

Was in a violent and toxic relationship,

And had been freshly diagnosed with an illness that nearly took my life down the track.

Thinking back to then, being in high school and having mental illness was scary. No one knew what was going on, my friends didn’t know how to act and honestly, neither did I. My doctor prescribed me medication and therapy straight off the bat, doubled my dose when it didn’t work and then I began to abuse it as much as I could to escape the feelings that I was living with in my everyday life, for many years. I also had a strong dislike for my many therapists that I went through.

Not once did someone tell me to hit the gym or exercise, 

Nor did anyone have a look at what I was eating.

Mindfulness wasn’t a “thing”,

Self care was non-existent,

Neither was awareness.

Yet the amount of stigma based around mental illness was absolute bullshit. Massive.

People acted like you had leprosy.

Fast track to now and not only is the awareness around mental illness and mental health in general absolutely mind-blowing, the emphasis on self-care, mindfulness and everything that is looking after yourselfdaily is just normality.

Over the years I’ve tried many things and I’ve found that there are things that work for me, but they may not work for someone else. I tried things that sometimes made me feel worse, I’ve tried things that challenged me in good and bad ways, and then I found my absolute golden nuggets, however as I said, what works for me, may not work for you.

Mastering your mindset is a process that you’ll be experiencing for the rest of your life. It is not a quick fix, it’s nothing that I believe you’ll ever truly master because you’ll always have new challenges thrown at you throughout your life, ones that at times, you think that you can’t overcome, but I absolutely know that you can. 

I’m beginning to cry while I write this because when you really start to focus on your mindset, you begin to realise how fucking powerful you really are. You have the power to conquer the worst of situations in your life even when you don’t feel like it.

This is coming from someone who has attempted to take their own life many years ago, so when I say that you can overcome the worst of the worst shit that’s thrown at you, i fucking mean it.

Taking charge of your mindset means that you are in control.

The way you think ultimately creates the life that you have and is influenced by your beliefs, your influences and your experiences, however, although those things have a massive impression on your mindset, you can absolutely change the way that you think if you want to.

I mean, if I wanted to use my past as an excuse to just lay in bed for the rest of my life, I could, but it means I’d be playing the victim. Instead, I use my past to fuel myself into a future to help people going through dark times, feeling like their lives cannot change.

Whether it takes exercising, therapy, medication, meditation, reading or whatever it may be to get you back in control of your life, just know that the power is always deep within you.

My favourite saying is, “Give energy and love to the things that you can control, take focus away from what you can’t”, and this gets me through my PTSD, my anxiety and any situation that leaves me in a heap with my mind saying, just give up Lauren.

Give energy and love to the things that you can control, take focus away from what you can’t.

Just imagine if I had given up all those years ago, I wouldn’t have learnt how strong I am now.

I had the power within me that whole time, I just needed to go through a whole bunch of shit to find out.

You’ve got this. I promise.

Lauren is a qualified personal trainer, freelance speaker and registered speaker with One School Queensland, devoting her time to motivating and inspiring others in all things physical and mental wellbeing. You can find Lauren’s blog at https://www.madmaxmum.com.