On Mental Health And Productivity... #WorldMentalHealthDay

By Lucy Harbron - 18:02

Journal entry from 7th October

'Celebrate every tiny victory', I see it on pastel pink backgrounds daily, I've said it to others, I just can't do it.

I've lost track of how many times I've joked even just this week that I'm a has-been, or half-laughed through the phrase 'I peaked at 18'. And I really do believe these things, using them to both bully myself into action and doubt myself, vocalising the voice in my head that says no one care about what I do or don't do, so why bother. I tried to tackle this a couple of years ago by speaking success into existence and becoming what I wanted to be, I started calling myself a writer. It's a stupid little thing really, changing my instagram to a business account and calling myself a writer before I call myself a student, I signed off my emails with 'writer and editor, Lucy Harbron', I tried to be more forthcoming about what I was working on and what I had achieved. I say I am a writer, I am an editor, I am i am i am, but I haven't done any of these things in quite a while.

Despite having things published recently, I struggle to think of when I last wrote something that I would consider 'significant', shaming the rest of my work, shrugging it off. I beat myself up daily for not releasing an issue of Kiloran since February, voiding all the other work I've done in that gap. I count the years and months, since the release of my book, 1 year 5 months, considering each day I'm not releasing another to be a day further into insignificance and failure, ignoring the fact that I know my writing has improved since.

And in all of this, I give no value to the fact that I've survived all this time, that I've managed to keep up any productivity at all, pass uni, do an internship, recover from various things, and maintain relationships. Whatever I do is never enough.

In the worlds of fashion and writing, and I guess young creatives in general, that might be considered a good thing. Work hard play hard, grind until you own it, never stop, build your dream, always chase what's next. But I'm tired, where there is no finish line, I can't find a medal to give myself.

This isn't the first time I've written about this. I wrote about it at 19, and here I am at 20 unable to throw the feeling off, instead it gripping tighter and tighter with each passing month. The best way to put it is that I feel like I'm on a conveyor belt pushing me towards the end of the cliff. The cliff is the end of my degree, or maybe even my youth. The conveyor belt is time. And the only way I think I can stop it, or build a net, or make it at all easier or less scary, is to build things or make things or just do something so at least the belt isn't empty.

I think I never quite shook off the childhood idea that I'd be a star or a princess by now. I'm still wondering where all the success and satisfaction is. Slowly realising that it's in front of me, behind a sheet of glass I built.

It's hit a peak. I'm struggling, and each day of struggling makes me struggle more, bully myself louder for not managing to do something. Uni work, laundry, painting my nails, writing, painting, interviews, Kiloran prep. It stacks up into a microphone stand for the voice in my head, 'Lucy your past successes and all the ones coming in the future are now void, because you haven't written the blog post you said you would today, you are a failure.'

Somedays I manage to take my medication, shower and go for coffee. And I wish I could see that as enough, see my survival, my recovery, my self care as enough for that day. I wish I didn't have to always be more for myself. I wish I could find myself worthy as I am.

The stupidest thing is that I would place this on no one else. I tell my best friends to rest, to treat themselves kindly and remember that they are no their productivity and sometimes we all need a day. I just don't allow that to myself, too caught up in the pressure to maintain the pace of past achievements, do more, make more, stay active or else. I have no doubt in this world that my best friends will do incredible things, become important people and achieve amazing things, regardless of whether they spend today in bed or only manage to get coffee. But my depressed days sound like a death knell, today's sadness always seems to affect forever.

Even stupider, I still do it all. Here I am writing a blog post, I will release an issue of Kiloran this year, I'm up-to-date with uni work. I'm balancing things, still. My productivity is maintained and largely constant, but I treat myself, still, like a failure. I don't know what it will take to please myself. I pray one day I'll be enough.

Deep down I can recognise that I'm doing well. I know logically that I've done a lot, I do a lot and I do it well. But I don't feel it, always jumping straight to love for others but critique for myself. I hate the phrase 'you have to love yourself before you love someone else', because I love deeply, care deeply, believe so deeply in everyone else, and I seeing my friends give me that back. I don't think it's uncommon, I give my voice to the success of my friends and they voice mine back to me, blind to our own beauty and power, slowly letting each others words sink in.

We are trying our best. I am trying to believe in myself, to speak softly to my reflection, whether she's stuck in bed, or starting to write again.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like