Not Keeping Calm, But Carrying On – My Brain’s Not Broken

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While I mentioned last week that November was a very challenging month for my mental health, I was still uncomfortable sharing something too detailed for fear of hexing myself (yes, I’m definitely afraid that I will be over I’ll bewitch most of the good things in life, but that’s no problem for you to hear, just my therapist). But it actually went pretty well – I signed up for a new job on the dotted line (I’ll start in January!) And managed to secure a roommate to move in without interrupting my rent payments. It’s worked out! But, like anything else in life, making these things happen was not an easy process, and it took my toll. And although I didn’t always stay calm, I found comfort in the way I handled these things.

The name of this post comes from the motivational posters “Keep Calm and Carry On” used by the British government before World War II. And while these posters are really great and give a solid message to keep calm in the face of uncertainty, I thought I’d play with the phrase a little. My adult life has been challenging to keep going. I think the same is true for most people. And we’re better people for it.

But what makes my challenges unique (and common to the millions of us living with mental illness) is that staying calm or level-headed isn’t always important for us. Internal or external, an anxious brain can feel like you are driving a million miles an hour while the world is standing still.

Telling someone to “calm down” when dealing with a lot of emotions or feelings is a reflex. People are being hyped, torn down, turned into an emotional wreck or more stoic than ever. But if someone doesn’t do anything that affects your wellbeing, it’s entirely up to someone to deal with those feelings the way they need to (provided it is done in a safe way).

One way to learn more about yourself is to understand how you react to events in your life. Good or bad, your reactions can teach you so much about yourself. Your emotional intelligence can also increase in dark times. And they can make you stronger as you prepare for the next few steps.

So no, I can’t always “keep calm and move on”. In fact, most of the time I don’t stay calm at all. But I’ll always do my best to keep going despite the circumstances and I know that I’m not the only person doing this. Regardless of whether we deal with positives or negatives in our lives, our sanity will have an impact on how we react to these events. And whether it’s the next week, the next day, the next hour, or the next moment, we have to keep going as we can. We hope we can continue this week!

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