Mental wellbeing for young people

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Being friends with yourself

Grace, 23 photo Grace, 23 · 17 Nov, 2020

Grace confesses that the biggest challenge of lockdown for her was all the time on her own, and how she realised that she wasn't much of a friend to herself. She asks what it might take to move towards loving ourselves better.

This video is part of a longer interview with Grace made by Victory Uchenna for HeartHub and you can watch the whole thing here.

- Hi, everyone, I'm Grace, and I'm an aspiring human rights lawyer, hopefully one day.

Firstly, it's not a thing that a lot of people know that I have high-functioning, medically-diagnosed anxiety. And I found quite a lot of things difficult in this pandemic.

And most importantly, or one of the worst things that affected me was being by myself. I find it difficult to be alone with myself. I realised that when I'm by myself, I tend to think more really or to worry about, 'cause there's nothing else to do. You can't meet people up. You can't go for dinners. You can't do anything so you're just stuck with yourself inside your head thinking.

And then, I think it's definitely more difficult for those people who suffer with mental illnesses. And even a person who doesn't suffer with mental illnesses in general, I think it's still kind of a lonely time, 'cause a lot of people realised how alone they were.

And for somebody who has always felt lonely, even with people around, it was even more difficult, because I felt it only when people were not around. But yeah, with the pandemic, I felt more alone than, like, I usually feel.

And I felt, like, a lot of things. I started to question myself. I started to kind of understand, I felt like I was forced to deal with, like who are you, the question. Who are you without people? Who are you when no one's around? Who are you? And you normally say that, you know, in the darkness, in the light.

And I think it made me realise that I really don't know myself. I really don't know who I am. I'm not friendly with myself, because I'm usually friendly with other people. I usually do fun things with other people. And I realised, what fun things do I do for myself? It made me realise how uncomfortable I am with myself.

And that's a very odd thing to realise, that whoa, wow, you know, 23 years on this earth and you're just like, okay. You've lived with yourself for 23 years or however long it has been for anyone else who suffers with mental illness. It's like, after all these years of being just with yourself in your own head, you're still lost.

And I think the pandemic made me realise much more how lost I am and how lost I feel. And I understand, like, I have transitioned for the last couple of years. I have changed, you know, new coats here and there, but I still don't know, I still haven't realised exactly who I am in there.

And I realise how much I don't love myself, 'cause if you love yourself, you would want to spend time with yourself. You wanna have fun with yourself. You would feel at peace with yourself. But it made me realise so much about myself. And it made me kind of want to, it made me, like, I guess, maybe begin a journey of, like we say, self-love. Not begin a journey, but to figure out and to try to explore what it means to love myself.

In order to live a happy, peaceful, satisfactory life, I think the first step is realising who you are when other people aren't there. What will you do when other people aren't there? The joys, we love, the things we find joy in with other people aren't there.


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