I’m so excite for you to read this blog from Ashlinn Sarah Jane, another blogger who does a great job chronicling her experiences with “a battle against leukemia, the balance of mental health, struggles in love, and a dash of my beloved hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens.” To learn more about her and read more of her writing, you can visit her blog here. I’m always honoured to be able to feature the stories, thoughts and opinions of other people and writers. If you want to share your own experiences with mental health, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Without further ado, here is the article from Ashlinn!
First and foremost, it is an honour to be featured here. I’ve been blogging since July of 2016 on my own, but this is my first guest blog and I am so grateful for the opportunity. Now, to get into it: This is a listicle of five of the many, many more things I have learned about making mistakes, mostly exclusively related to and from my mental wellness journey.
Mistakes hurt, but it’s often how we learn—and even in some cases, the best way to learn. Sometimes finding what you DO want takes a lot of learning, and is a process of elimination from what you DON’T want. Sometimes beautiful things come from mistakes: Just give yourself room to make them.
This is a really important one for me because it took a lot of trial and error to get me on medication that was comfortable. The first medications I took—and there were lots of them—had such negative side effects, like extreme sudden weight gain and paralyzing muscle spasms that I was lucky to find a resident doctor who was enthusiastic about all the new medications on the market and got me on a combination with little to no side-effects that worked well for me. This applies to other things as well, so be patient with yourself throughout the process.
Like I said, mistakes are often a way of learning—and sometimes the best and even in some cases the only way to learn. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. And forgive yourself for not knowing any better before you realized what you were making was a mistake. Hindsight is 20:20, and we can get pretty down on ourselves for a decision that after the fact may seem very obvious was the wrong one. Take it as a learning experience and accept that now you’ll know better for next time.
This truly is one of the hardest decisions to make, and even through a lot of thought and reflection we sometimes make the wrong choice. The reality is that some of us live with lifelong regrets, and this is part of what makes us human beings. We are all flawed—yet magnificent—and we have to forgive ourselves for making what may seem like a bad decision, even if it’s one that has consequences for the rest of our lives. This quote applies to jobs, relationships, and countless other aspects of our lives. Sometimes it’s about something as simple as a painting we’re working on.
This one rings so true, and I think for many of us. Whether it was for wearing that cross your deceased mother gave you and you lost it (because you didn’t just want it to sit in a jewelry box the rest of your life—duh), or a broken relationship, losing a loved one, or another reason, it hurts because it matters. It’s important to validate our pain and be heard through our suffering. Acknowledge the pain and work through it. It’s good to care, and as Winnie the Pooh says: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” We are #blessed in this world to be given precious things: love, trust, companionship. And it can be heartbreaking when these are severed or lost. But remember that you had something oh so special, and hold on to the memories for dear life.
I know I said five, but here is a sixth tidbit of advice that I impart on you today and every day: LOVE YOURSELF. It is so important to take care of ourselves first, and I have learned first-hand by investing too much in other aspects of my life that self-love and self-respect come first, and you can’t really have one without the other. Respect yourself enough to know your limits, and love yourself like you are the love of your life. Treat yourself. Be your own best friend. It is essential to have a relationship with yourself and know when something feels wrong. You know yourself best, and you know the best way to take care of yourself. Please, listen to your body, listen to your mind. We can be the greatest loves of our lives.
All love and big hugs,