Sanna Kramsi - Blog A peek into my life

The importance of good support

October 31, 2019 | Life

The feeling of not having anyone to talk to about things that are bothering you is awful. I felt like this growing up, I only had one friend I was able to confide in. She was amazing, but it would have been important to have someone to talk to at home as well. I feel like I currently have a quite good support network, and my experiences have made me appreciate my network more than I can put to words.

For mental health, it's extremely important to get help if you need it. Other people might also notice the behaviour changes earlier than the person having difficulties. This makes support network's value priceless.

Support at home

People closest to you will usually be the first to notice symptoms of exhaustion or changes in your well-being. If I'm moody or tired I can easily blame the flu or a bad night of sleep. If it becomes more of a pattern, I might still be blaming these kinds of things but people around me can see that there's more to it than just a few bad nights of sleep.

Support at home doesn't have to necessarily be your partner, it can also be a family member or a friend. Each person has different relationships with people. My main support is my fiancé, I can tell him absolutely anything. He is also the first to notice changes in my sleep patterns or if I start skipping the gym or other hobbies. This is something that coworkers cannot know unless I specifically tell them, which makes it even more important to have support at home.

After struggling with my mental health, I've tried to make sure I tell my fiancé everything I can to make sure he has the best knowledge of my current mental state. I know this isn't the easiest or nicest task for him to have, but I appreciate that he is willing to help. I think I've proven to myself twice now that I do need help from other people.

Support at work

It's important to have support at work as well. If you have too much on your plate, it's crucial that you have people around you who you can tell this to. That way things can get resolved before it's too late. If things go too far, it's much harder to bounce back to your regular self, and it takes longer.

My situation definitely went too far this spring. Luckily the month before my summer holiday was quiet around the office. That helped me reduce my worst symptoms before starting my holiday. I had agreed to reduce my flexible hours to zero, which made my summer holiday a bit over five weeks in total instead of the normal four weeks. I definitely needed this longer break to recover. After getting back to work again I've noticed feeling a lot more like myself. And people around me have noticed it as well.

My support network in action

Because of what happened this spring and how bad it got, I've had a lot of discussions with people about exhaustion, mental health and what to do when things start going wrong. The discussions themselves have been extremely helpful and it's been relieving to be able to talk about this to people. I grew up having to hide pretty much everything related to feelings and mental health, so this new openness has been amazing.

I also, kind of as a joke, made a deal with my fiancé that he will tell me immediately if he notices me starting to spiral or getting exhausted. Previously I've had trouble admitting these things when I first start showing symptoms, which is why I told him he can also remind me of my stubbornness to admit things are going wrong. I told about this deal of ours to my superior at work and we then made a deal that if I get notified of exhaustion at home, I will let him know as well, whether I'm willing to believe it's happening or not. Let's hope I will never need to test these deals but it's still nice to know they exist.

In the spring at the worst moments, I felt like nobody cared about my situation and I felt completely helpless because of it. I knew it really wasn't true but I couldn't convince myself otherwise. This is why it's amazing to have all these conversations I can remind myself of if I ever start to feel that way again.

Improving my mental health

It's very important that I learn to recognize and accept my symptoms as early as possible so I can prevent things from escalating and ask for help sooner. Let's hope things won't go anywhere near that far ever again, but if things start getting worse, I think I have a lot more tools and supporting people at my disposal this time.

I believe I've realized a few of my most harmful personality traits in this regard and now I can monitor them a little better. It's funny how a quite harmless trait becomes toxic if combined with some other traits. This is something I haven't taken seriously until now. I definitely need to continue working on my impostor syndromes, my other insecurities, and my habit of basically sabotaging my own mental health by setting myself goals I cannot reach or by being the most unforgiving towards myself no matter what the issue is.

I have a lot of work to do on my mental health but I'm slowly getting better. One thing I really need to learn to do is to listen to my body. And I need to start forgiving myself. Baby steps.