by Edith Botan.

What is well-being? Is it being well? I presume well-being means being well mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. In which case, I haven’t been so well lately. I was recently sectioned under the mental health act for attempting suicide. However, I am on my road to recovery now, so I guess with that in mind, I am in a state of recovering my wellness, my well-being.

I can share things that have brought me out of the darkest, lowest ebb of my life to where I am now, being able to survive each day at a time. Hopefully one day I will move from surviving day to day to thriving, but for now, surviving is where I am at. Which is a step further forward from trying to die.

I got beyond the blackness by making one tiny change at a time. First I had to acknowledge my pain, why it was there, where it had stemmed from. I had to take ownership for myself, for my life. Though I have a past I wouldn’t wish on anyone, it is mine, it is my story. It is part of making me who I am and who I am not today.

Secondly, I had to learn to speak, say how I truly felt, vocalise what matters to me, communicate my needs. Overcoming this was not an easy feat, my past has taught me that I can be used, not valued, and that I do not matter. Starting to talk about what is good for me was a huge step in the right direction. I am learning self-worth. I use to gain self-worth from achieving stuff, the more I achieved the better I felt about myself. But I realise now that achieving accomplishments is never enough to replace what is missing. I was missing a sense of me, that just being me was OK. That me, myself and I is enough.

Thirdly, I got active. Sport has been a big part of my life; it is great for releasing endorphins (happy hormones). I got walking, then started playing racket sports again. Using my body helped me realise that bodies are good, it doesn’t matter what has happened to them, what they look like, but that we have a body and it is designed for the physical. Using my body in this way again gave me value for my body in a way that no make-up, hair-cut or dress could ever do.

I have come to realise it is the intrinsic that matters, everything else is just stuff. How we feel inside, in our hearts, how we feel the blood pump around our bodies, helps us keep connected to ourselves and to this life.

I aim to keep talking, keep acknowledging myself, keep active. Hopefully, my being-well will keep improving and I will keep learning and doing what is good for me. One day I will not just be surviving, but living the life I choose to live, living fully, thriving.

Like a plant needs nourishment to grow, so do we. It is vital that I keep putting in what is healthy for me. No more nonsense, just kindness. Being kind means listening, paying attention, nurturing, treating yourself with compassion. I still have a long way to go, but one day all this theory and practice will become my norm, and I will not be tormented by the current battle that I try to win each day to ensure I make it to the next. I will be at peace with myself if I keep following the – ‘acknowledge’, ‘speak’ and ‘be active’ choices, that are all within me to make.