23 lessons in 23 years that have improved my mental health

As I approach my 23rd birthday I’ve been thinking long and hard about lessons that I’ve learned so far. I don’t often talk about my personal life, but as it is mental health awareness week in the UK starting from tomorrow (13-19 May) and my birthday is the week after (21st May) I thought I would think of 23 lessons I’ve learned that have improved my mental health.

When I was 16 I was so depressed and unstable that I skipped all the waiting lists. I was barely 18 when I ended up in an institution for several months. I was so physically and mentally messed up. I was a mere shell of who I previously was.

I’m neither of those girls any more – the girl before or during the illness. I struggled and struggled and I still struggle at times, but I’m nowhere close to how I was at my lowest. I was in a bad place and didn’t think I’d recover. I didn’t think I’d be able to escape the darkness. But I did.

I’m now in a relationship with the sweetest, funniest man that I only believed lived in the realms of day dreams and fiction. I graduated from university, did my post-grad, had a few articles published in magazines and newspapers. Branched out into beauty journalism and beauty blogging. I’m just starting out as a freelance journalist and it’s so so difficult to find work and the rejections are harsh… But I’m stronger now.

Anyhoos, what are the lessons I’ve learned in 23 years?

  1. Ditch anyone that makes you question your worth. It doesn’t matter if they were “there for you” when you were going through something. If they make you feel like shit then they don’t deserve you. Leave.
  2. Learn from mistakes. Don’t bury them and run away; they’ll catch up on you.
  3. Asking for help is a sign of STRENGTH not weakness.
  4. Always put your mental wellbeing first. You’ll only stress even more about your work.
  5. Trust your instincts.
  6. A setback does not reverse all your previous accomplishments. Just learn from it and move on.
  7. Instagram and social media aren’t accurate depictions of people’s lives; they only post what they want others to see.
  8. Don’t be ashamed of being mixed race and “different” from fellow school pupils (when I was at school) – embrace your culture.
  9. You will kiss a few frogs before you truly fall in love with the right person.
  10. You’re not nerdy if you’re passionate about something.
  11. You can’t please everyone so don’t even try to.
  12. Love your body.
  13. Ditch anyone that criticises your body.
  14. Always take your make-up off before bed (no face wipes!)
  15. Wear sunscreen every day.
  16. Don’t follow make-up trends; only do what suits you.
  17. Don’t feel pressured to listen or pretend to listen to popular songs of they aren’t to your taste.
  18. Fill in your brows to achieve a natural look.
  19. You don’t need the latest make-up releases. Brands come out with products way too frequently so what’s “new” may fade away from memory once something shiny and new arrives on the scene.
  20. Rejection from jobs/internships doesn’t mean that you’re rubbish. Companies have to sift through lots and lots of applications. Your time will come. Stay determined and enthusiastic.
  21. Don’t go to bed angry or stressed. Write down your thoughts or make a ‘to do list’ to get everything out of your system. You won’t be able to sleep otherwise.
  22. You can’t be good at everything so find your strengths and refine that talent.
  23. You CAN recover. Stay strong and determined. Aim to be healthy and happy.

So there we have it. What are some things you wished a younger version of you knew? Then again, we’ve got to learn through trial and error!

Thank you for reading. Posting about my personal life is quite scary!

Stay happy and healthy 🙂


Maya x