I have been struggling recently and I want to share some strategies I have been using to try and help myself.

Over the years I have worked really hard on my mental health. I know my brain can struggle, I get fixated on certain things and completing the day to day tasks can become really difficult for me. I have been like this for as long as I can remember. 

This is why creating a space like United ArtSpace fills me with passion. Art has always helped me – saved me in fact – which is why I feel so passionately about creating a space for others and being able to offer help to other people. I have found this so helpful over the years myself and this is why I have been so transparent and shared my struggles with you. 

Riding the wave

My life feels like I am riding a wave and when the good hits it is great and I am coasting along. Naturally that won’t last forever and challenges come up, and I have learnt how to deal with these feelings over the years so I can stay focused and keep going. 

My year…

Since the start of this year I have been hit hard and it hasn’t been so easy to get back up and keep going. There have been three major things in my life that have just thrown me. I will touch on them briefly here: 

  1. I separated from my ex a couple of years ago. We’re on great terms and still get on really well and do things with the kids together but he has now met someone else and I have found this really difficult to deal with.  A part of me is really happy for him and the other part is really sad, hurt and upset.
  2. Then there are certain situations with my son and we are looking into things with him. I have found it really difficult to detach his pain from my pain. When I was younger, I remember going through something similar and the struggles he is feeling now are similar to what I felt. Both of these things I have found really emotional and I find myself crying almost daily. 
  3. Lastly, is United ArtSpace. United ArtSpace has grown so much which is amazing and back in the beginning it was just me doing it all. Everything was in my head but it got to the point where I couldn’t do it all alone. 

The hard part

Now, I have a team (who are amazing) and I am navigating how I manage them and how I get the whole business out of my brain and into processes so others can help me manage UAS. But I hate this part. It isn’t what I wanted to be doing as a business owner. It isn’t fun – it is boring, but it is something that needs to be done so that we can continue to grow. 

On top of that, at the start of the year, I decided to make some changes and I was open to this, but obviously with changes comes mistakes. There was one week in the first part of the year where I lost a lot of money. I will do a whole episode on this at some point but it was an eye watering amount. 

All of these things have come to me at once and it has been an awful lot to take in. I feel like things have been piling up and it just feels tough. It all got really intense and too much around the time when I stopped my live sessions as I was in such a dark space. 

When it’s all too much 

Some days I feel that I am being pulled underwater and I just can’t get back to the surface. I have been doing all the things that I learnt over the years to help and nothing has been working. It was really scary and I just couldn’t shift this mindset.  

I feel like all that has happened this year has crumbled my shield – I lost all my armour and I feel so vulnerable about that. Things are getting to me that wouldn’t normally bother me and it is so consuming and tough that I felt compelled to share this with you all, as the perception that people may get about someone can be very different from the reality that someone is living. 

You can feel like you are the only person who is struggling. You see someone and you think they have it all together. Quite often they haven’t. No one has a perfect life and this is why mental health can feel so scary and why I wanted to be open and honest with you all. 

Thankfully, now I can see light at the end of the tunnel and I am feeling more like me. I know this as I am sitting here sharing it all with you.

My new safety nets

As hard as all this has been, it has been so important for me to go through and I have learnt a lot. To get through this I have created some new safety nets to help me, as going back to my usual safety nets wasn’t working. So here they are: 

  1. I have slowed things right down. I had to take a step back and just change some things to help me cope. 
  2. Process the feelings – I learnt that I was masking a lot of feelings by working. I’d work in the evenings, when the kids were at their dad’s and sometimes on the weekend. By slowing down, I realised that I was hiding a lot of feelings. I have had to cry it all out and really question what I want. 
  3. I have had to find different ways of thinking and new strategies to overcome these emotions. 
  4. Journaling the opposites and reframing my thoughts – I can cope. I can do this. I am okay. I am well. I am not struggling. 
  5. Learn to just be. What will be will be.
  6. Asking for help. (A massive thank you to Sharon). Sharon has helped me so much over the past few months. 

From doing this and having these tiny little moments of control, I can now meditate and visualise again. I am starting to gain more control of my thoughts. I am not there fully, but I am getting there. 

I hope this helps someone who is struggling or maybe you notice someone you love is struggling. Reaching out to someone and talking was so helpful for me. Just knowing someone was there was such a comfort. 

My Mantra

So I will leave you with the little mantra that I have been working by – “slow down to speed up”. Please note this isn’t advice, it is just how I’ve been feeling and working through things in my own way. 

If you are really struggling, there is so much support out there. If you need help, find it. Never feel alone. 

Much love, 

Michelle