This year, the Mental Health Foundations ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ theme was all about Reconnection. Reconnect with the people and places that lift you up.
I work in a business that provides mental health support, so MHAW really is peak week in a year. Being directly involved, I now have had time to breathe and reflect on this theme.
Reconnection huh? This is something I can talk about…
I have learned that I am an ambivert. Where I lean towards extroversion generally, I also have strong introversion tendancies.
Since 2020 – yes, those Covid years – my introverted side has been in charge. I have had to adapt, to learn to draw refilling energy from sources other than people. I have done this with some success, but there has been a price paid. It has been taking me a long time to be able to get ‘out’, to interact with people the way I used to be able to, comfortably.
And honestly I’m still not there. Close, yes. But not quite.
On the plus side, I did successfully navigate Costco on opening weekend, and I did manage to navigate the Diwali crowds in Auckland last weekend, so I am definitely making progress.
Sorry, I got distracted thinking about 1.2kg of peanut M&M’s.
OK, back to Reconnection.
Yes, this was absolutely the right focus for MHAW. Our people have had to find their way back from enforced separation. Some are doing this easier than others so it is really important to stay mindful that the person you’re talking with may not have the energy to be fully engaged. Everyone has been impacted, and it shows in different ways.
One thing that has occurred to me as I reconnect with people, is that understanding and recognising the need for disconnection is also vitally important.
We all have people in our lives that live ‘rent-free’ in our heads. ‘Friends’ that really do not care about you as much as you care about them. I’ve observed that I no longer have the reserves to allow these energy-vampires a place in my life. In the current climate of rebuilding and recovery, I need to disconnect them. Sure, I may reconnect with them in the future, but for now the disconnection is required.
And for me, this is actually hard to do.
But the long-term life benefits will outweigh the loss.