I hadn't been aware until earlier in the week that this is National Mental Health Awareness Week. There seem to be so many special event days/weeks/months/years that I rarely know which ones happen to be occurring. Indeed, until I just searched, I had no idea that it is currently also National Doughnut Week as well as National Walking Month.
Well, I don't have much to say about doughnuts, but I've long been aware of issues around mental health since I was diagnosed with depression as an undergraduate around 20 years ago, and having probably suffered from it for a few years prior to diagnosis. Even when I realised that there was something wrong, I put off going to the doctor for fear of the stigma. In the end, I went on antidepressants for a few years and had a small amount of talking therapy. I suppose that combination must have worked to a reasonable extent as I did get over it, though when the depression was at its worst it didn't seem like I ever could or would get past it.
More recently, problems with depression and anxiety have returned and hopefully this time I was quicker in seeking help. Certainly I don't worry about being stigmatised for having mental health problems any more, and have no qualms about writing a public blog post about it. This time I am on antidepressants again (different ones to last time) and have had some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions. I've even been taking physical exercise as a therapy, which is something my 20-year-old self would probably not have done. It has proved quite helpful as one component of trying to keep good mental health. My partner suggested I sign up for a 21-day yoga challenge that was being run by a yoga place in Guildford. I thought "why not?" and am now one week through it. The place is called Red Hot Yoga and their thing is that their sessions take part in a hot room. It can be pretty gruelling, but I generally do feel positive after each session. I could do without some of the more spiritual aspects of it, but mostly the teachers don't belabour that part too much. To get myself through it, I just think of the Peppa Pig episode in which Daddy Pig seeks to regain his world puddle-jumping record, where he takes a kind of yogic approach. If you cannot instantly recall most Peppa Pig episodes, then here is the scene for your enjoyment: