I’m not going to lie, this week has been testing, and as I wallowed in sadness, annoyance and more negative feelings I started to think about things I could distract myself with.
So I threw myself into organising a charity raffle and bake sale in November with work colleagues to raise money for Leeds MIND. It was whilst doing this I found out it was Mental Health Awareness Week this week. I’m no way an expert on mental health and my only experiences are having supported colleagues and friends going through various mental illnesses and I feel it’s something society still needs to talk louder about to raise awareness and de-stigmatise which is the aim of the week.
It got me thinking about an analogy I created about ten years ago , with my friend, who at the time had started to see a counsellor.
On her first session when asked what she wanted from the sessions she said ‘to be happy’.
Most people would class that as a reasonable request but what the counsellor said next stuck with me:
So as she was recounting this story back to me I realised it was right. True unadulterated non stop happiness doesn’t exist, just like ‘perfect’ and ‘normal’ don’t either, and why should they?!. We can sometimes expect too much from ourselves in the search for these and can end up disappointed when we don’t reach or attain them.
What we came up with next was the Unicorn Theory. As we both agreed that this perfect utopia of full time happiness (the full unicorn) didn’t exist, I decided that it doesn’t stop us from having positive moments that bring some happiness. They can sometimes go unnoticed throughout the day too as they are outweighed by the negative things happening to us or by us wanting them to be more meaningful.
The Unicorn Theory is simple: Treasure all the moments you have throughout the day (unicorn parts) and build your own version of happiness (the unicorn).
What it helped me do was acknowledge the good parts of the day even if I was having ‘a bad day’ or going through sad/bad times. My friend also used it to help get focus on good things and to help her through her tough days whilst battling with her mental illness. It’s a very light hearted theory and its not meant to trivialise mental health but provide a focus to help and just bring the odd light in dark days.
I’ve given the unicorn theory to many friends as I’ve supported them, and to colleagues who have gone through trauma, loss and more. I decided this week was the time to dust it off and build my unicorn.
Here’s what made my unicorn this week, it’s the little things that have made me smile:
1.Finding a car park space on a Monday morning at 11am at work after I was late as my car broke
2. Getting lovely comments on my blog this week on my food post
3. Those scrummy Lindt Lindor bars being stocked in the cafe at work
4. Helping someone at work to resolve an important issue and them thanking me
5. Coming back to my desk to find a Malteser reindeer awaiting my consumption
6. Lovely people from Epernay Champagne Bar and Pastille Beauty Bar donating prizes for my teams raffle
7. The waiter in Thurrock who listened and made my Eton mess with extra cream and no strawberry ice cream
8. Mr E getting me a hot water bottle to use
9. My cat Poppy letting me cuddle her and not escaping
10. My uni friend in Australia sending me a nail art vid ‘because she thought of me’
I could go on forever about what bad things happened this week, and how negative Ive been but I won’t as I’m using my Unicorn Theory to work through it and cherish my happy moments to help me de-focus on the sad/bad.
By calling out the unicorn parts I gather as I go along I cherish the little things. Some days I might only get a hoof but others I might just get close to the whole unicorn…
Remember if you are going through tough times or sad times or suffering from mental health issues don’t suffer in silence, speak out and ask for help or to talk to someone.
I’d also love if you can share your tips for lifting your spirit below or on Twitter.