Updated: May 27, 2020
It’s time for some role-play. Not that kind (internal eye-roll). This is what we do every day. Playing our role. So here we go…out of bed (ughh), get dressed, prep the mind for what is coming today (who are you are seeing or looking after? What version of you are they expecting to meet? What do they need?) Ok, now plaster on the smile, deep breath and away you go! Script in hand, happy face, expectations met. Boom! Success. I survived. This was (and still can be) how I lived for…well…forever it feels like. It now makes sense to me that this is how I had to adapt – to enable me to simply function! There are so many things to do, give and accomplish EVERY day – how else would I meet these expectations? At first it can be impossible to identify that this is how you live every day. From where I am now, I can see that I have been doing this for as long as I can remember. My game face existence was entirely normal, got me through, and there was really no need to question it. In fact, I achieved A LOT with my game face! Sure my bully tagged along for the ride (you can acquaint yourself with her in my first blog entry) which made it pretty c**p at times and perhaps should have signalled to me that the way I was functioning in the world was seriously NOT a good, healthy, fulfilling way to live. However, this was my normal, my status-quo. Who questions status-quo? Well I can tell you now that status-quo gets a reality check when it stops working. Unfortunately (or fortunately??) my mind and body eventually let me know that “this s**t can’t go down no more”. Hello depression and anxiety! I ran out of the energy and resources it takes to apply the game face every day and to everyone. Mental illness was the result. It was how my body communicated its unhappiness to me (which my game face had over-ridden for so long). So you could say that my crippling voids of depression and persistent anxiety actually proved to be a positive feature of my life. A weird thing to say but bear with me. At first, I was able to hide these two illnesses with my game face (of course). However once they became too difficult to shield from the world, the cat was out of the bag. I had no choice any more. I simply HAD to question my status quo. Either that or my mental ill-health would consume me and dog me throughout my life. No thanks. Hence my long, painful and liberating mental health recovery began. What I would like you to think about is what your game face looks like? Do you even have one? Of course, we all play a role at particular points. The student, the partner, the parent, the colleague, the business-owner etc. Shifting into the frame of mind that is required is entirely normal I would say. However a glaring difference between the healthy, everyday roles we play and the impermeable game face we deploy is the level at which your REAL self is present during these times. Are you applying a slight shift in mindset or completely hiding who you are in order to fulfil your function? Can you be yourself in one way or another? Are you giving real answers to people’s questions about yourself? Do you struggle to connect with others? Do you constantly worry about what others think of you? Do you fear rejection? Are you mentally exhausted from everyday situations? Taking a few moments to notice your feelings before, during and after certain scenarios can go a long way to ascertaining whether you are using a game face – to enable you to function. If this is the case for you, then YOU ARE NOT ALONE – far from it. Once you recognise this aspect of yourself, it could be the beginning of something. Of changing how you feel about yourself. And who knows where that can lead?? So here’s to breaking the silence and knowing that together; as we truly are (no game face in sight!) - #WeGotThis.
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