I don’t think I’d be overstepping the mark by saying most young people are physically pretty damn resilient. Throw us a week of 12.30am bedtimes, followed by 7am wake-ups, and we’ll still see you at the pub on Friday night for drinks. Then back it up Saturday with a brunch date, gym sesh and a friend’s birthday get together that kicks on until 4am. Sure, we may take a breather on Sunday morning with a sleep in, but will make sure to be ready for that afternoon tea with the extended family, which will be followed by a frantic 3 loads of washing at home, getting ready for the week ahead. Our bodies deal with the mayhem well.
This whole system goes pear-shaped when we there is a glitch. When all of a sudden your throat is getting scratchier and scratchier by the minute, your head feels like the size of a bloody watermelon, and your tummy has decided that nothing you usually eat wants to stay inside you. Your body is saying, “OI, CAN YOU TAKE NOTICE PLEASE, AND THINK ABOUT HOW YOU ARE TREATING ME!” And for the most part, we listen.
What’s more, others around you recognise your body begging for a break – they can see the puffy eyes, the flushed cheeks, and can hear you sniff every 30 seconds. We can all see the physical warning signs. The bugger of this tale is that mental health troubles are not so easily noticed.
Too often, young people dismiss feelings with excuses – “I’m just stressed with uni at the moment” or, “I just have a lot on” or, “I just really don’t like my job.” Hey, who knows, these excuses may be true in your case. And that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean the way you are feeling is any less valid, just because what you think is causing your mood to drop is temporary. You don’t need to bare all of this on your own. You can unload. It may be to a friend over a cup of tea. It may be to a parent while helping put dinner together. It may be to your uni counsellor between lectures.
Getting worries out in the open helps. So much. It cuts these negative feelings off at the knees, and stops them from spiralling around inside your mind, getting seemingly bigger and more complex. It can stomp out the development of more serious conditions. It can make you feel more like yourself again.
Remember this; just because nobody else can see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.