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The messiness of mental health

April 10th 2019

After watching the hugely popular hit TV show Fleabag, I wanted to address how messy life can be, because mental health recovery isn't a linear journey

When I was diagnosed at 15 with OCD and depression, I thought recovery would be simple. Oh how naïve of me!

I genuinely thought that, just like with a physical ailment, I would go to see someone who would make it all better, whether that was pills or therapy, I assumed it would all be much simpler. And yet, here I am, 12 years later (god I feel ancient) and I am still learning that there isn’t a path that’s set in stone for what recovery looks like. It is bloody hard, it takes a lot of constant hard work and is something that, at times, feels impossible to walk down.

One thing I know for certain, though, is that the good times make it all worth it. Yes, it can feel like walking on hot coals, but when you’ve put the work in and listened to the rational side of your brain (which is a lot harder to do than it is for me to say), you really feel like you’re flying. Now I know I know, I’m sitting here talking about this from a place far removed from where I was at my worst, but the difficult times are still there, bubbling under the surface.

I think a big part of the battle is coming to terms with the fact that they might always be there, just on the peripherals, walking in your shadow. Accepting that (again, easy to say, hard to do), is something that’s taken me many years to accomplish, but it really helps to lift the weight off of your shoulders when you’re in the ebb and flow of a tough time.

Fleabag, a marvellous show that you absolutely have to watch (on BBC iPlayer, if you’re old enough), perfectly encapsulates the general messiness of life and the difficult and complex emotions that are thrown up in everyday situations. The titular character finds dealing with her own emotions difficult, and doesn’t always seem to express what’s going on in her head in a very practical way, to say the least. However, over the two seasons of the show (which ended this week and I can’t believe it’s over *insert sad emoji here*), she comes to terms with the fact that some aspects of her life will just be what they are; messy.

This is a fantastic piece of work, and it definitely helped me be more kind to myself and accept the fact that my life isn’t this perfect journey, viewed through a filter on Instagram, edited to be seen exactly as I want it to be. Life uh, finds a way (there is never a bad time to insert a Jurassic Park reference).

So basically, what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way, is that life, mental health and everything else that can, does and will happen, is more often than not a messy affair. It will be so much easier to cope with and your recovery will be a lot more manageable if you’re able to tune in to the frequency of messiness, and learn to ride the waves (gotta love a cliché).

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