Life changed for me after the war. I was just a kid when I had to go, but when I got back home I was totally different than before. One of the hardest changes to accept was that my mental health changed too. Although outwardly it looked like I was fine, underneath everything I felt lost and scattered.
I tried all kinds of things to get my head sorted out, from psychotherapy to hanging out with friends who’d been through similar experiences, but nothing seemed to work for very long. Eventually I stumbled onto something that clicked: mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. These were difficult to learn at first but as time went on it became easier and more second nature.
What these practices did for me was give me some look into my own mind, teaching me how powerful thoughts can be in terms of influencing your emotions and behaviours. Gradually things started getting better as I worked on taking back control of my thoughts by learning how to challenge unhealthy beliefs or habits associated with post war mental illness (PTSD).
The path hasn’t always been easy or smooth; there are still moments where depression or anxiety can take hold quickly and unexpectedly but managing these feelings has become easier over time as long as I remember to keep up with the mindfulness practices that work for me such as being mindful with food or self-care regimes that involve eating well and exercising regularly.
I’m still learning - about myself and the world around me - every day, which keeps me motivated and energized towards finding peace within myself; something that once felt completely elusive during the darkest days of post war trauma.