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32. He Tirohanga Anamata

He Tirohanga Anamata is the Māori translation of 'a vision of the future'. And it is the Māori slogan used for our national mental health awareness week alongside the english slogan of 'reimagine wellbeing together'. New Zealand has been celebrating its mental health awareness week this year, beginning last Monday 21st running up to today which is Sunday 27th as I am writing in this instance. What this piece will entail; I am not exactly sure. But with it being mental health awareness week in the first place is surprisingly fitting. This week and year in fact has brought with it an incredible mental strain on the brain (immense apologies for the atrocity of a rhyme). I won't get into what those specific issues are per-say because some great personal comprehension is yet to be done. But I think that being amongst mental strain in this very moment may actually produce some words of authentic significance. And I don't normally do these types of personal recounts on this blog, but buckle in boys because today you are in for a good dose of it.

Part of me is writing this with the ideology that my current insanity (definitely not alluding to me being asylum-worthy insane), will result in some critically acclaimed Nobel prize literature type shit. Virginia Woolf - someone who damn well should have won the Nobel prize for literature - epitomises my thought process much nicer than I ever could: "as an experience, madness is terrific... and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about." So with this intention described by the genius herself, I write on. Another subconscious running thought is how British music from the legends such as the Beatles, the Smiths, the Rolling Stones and so forth have lyrics that hit the soul a little bit more than their American associates because of the miserable weather that they wrote them in. I hope you can see where I'm going with this by the way. And because my headspace at the moment is rather cloudy and grim as we speak (as I write, if you will), that surely means that my fingers tip-typing away right now are obligated to manufacturing some form of poetic magic that would somewhat resemble a modern-day John Lennon's lyrics, right? Enough with the blabbing on about nothing of real substance, really what this is a personal dump of a mental health review. So I hope that was entertaining but let's crack on!

Mental health in the mainstream media has been placed in a much brighter light recently. But I still ponder on to wonder whether that has made much of a difference. Don't get me wrong, by no means do I intend to undermine the efforts being made to normalise the conversation of mental health. It's just that I more so am concerned that NZ society has still yet not been able to hit the nail on the head with the right approach. For total disclosure, this is an entirely personal perspective and really is just a subjective opinion piece. But I have not witnessed a mental health ad that has surpassed the first glance realm into the realm of actual consideration.

I think that just comes down to the fact that mental health is so mind driven and controlled. When you're amongst a state of mental distress, never would or could even considering a highly produced mental health ad inspire an innate desire of wanting to seek help (personally speaking). In my current state and in past distressed states, sometimes getting out of bed is the hardest thing, anything beyond that is an astonishing bonus. Things and thoughts are so embedded within one's own mind that it becomes near impossible to escape to an alternate external sphere. But more than anything, I think that in moving forward with mental health awareness, it has to be centred around the normalisation in combination with education around mental health. Afar from just the sole sufferer of a mental illness, we should all commit to supporting those who are suffering.

In recent times, I have realised the upmost importance of the close relationships that one is lucky enough to have. My family and friends have been wicked support systems that I couldn't possibly be more grateful for. Whatever it may be: listening to me rant or cry, taking on me random adventures and just being there for me means so much. I hope that everyone who is struggling can also appreciate those relationships and have those outlets as options. And if not, talk to me and have a convo if you're down for a bit of that.

Your mental health is the starting point to everything that you do. When your mental health is tuned in the wrong direction, so is the corresponding rest of whatever occurs in your life. Right now, I can feel how not being as mentally stable as desired is affecting my life. Unfortunately, its presence has in fact been able to weave its way into whatever I happen to find myself doing. Then again, that only reinforces how important it is to give your mental health the attention that it deserves. Restoring equilibrium in mine at the moment is what I am focusing on. Simultaneously, keeping myself busy and saying yes to opportunities that I would in the past say no to is a convenient way to occupy my mind. It eradicates a lot of dwelling behaviour that I would otherwise be involving myself with, which is not ideal and unhealthy. Often, I struggle to address arising mental problems and suppress them right down until they reach a breaking point in which they intrusively beg for some attention rather than politely asking for it. Now more than ever, I must make that time available. Feeling the way I feel rather than ignoring or attempting to manipulate that feeling into something else is key. Address not repress (apologies for the drastic rhyme measure again)!

I hope that whatever this blog post has become will give some reader out there some form of brain food. The idea of this awareness week should be implemented always, into every week of the year. But take this week as it has just passed to consider your own mental health. Make it your priority. Put that time into bettering it and acknowledging it. Talk to your loved ones about how you're feeling. Weakness never comes from being vulnerable, it is only courage that comes from sharing these feelings. When you find yourself amidst a stressful mental period, seeing the light at the end of tunnel can be one of the most difficult things to do. Let me remind you that you are not alone. Let yourself seek and find outlets that aid your mental health. He Tirohanga Anamata or a vision of the future begins with your wellbeing - make it your priority.

Illustration by Ella Strickland De Souza, sourced via Vice.

Learn more about NZ's Mental Health Awareness Week via this link:

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This blog will encompass the life of a 19-year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations, videos and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface.For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected twice a week. Take this present moment now and rock it!

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