Mental Health and Good Times: What we consider Good Times
There is always an idea of what all young people consider a ‘good time’ - partying, drinking. But for those of us who feel so much all the time and the world constantly feeling as if it is falling apart, these activities may not appeal to us.
Photo Credit: Cottonbro
For me, a good time is a whole night’s sleep. A hike in the mountains or surrounded by my books and juice. Or when I have my earphones in, listening to Beyonce or Hozier, stopping my thoughts and feelings from overwhelming me. Take time to put on a face mask and be around loved ones.
That is what a good time looks like to me. It’s rare, but I savour those moments when my mind and body are at some sort of peace.
I asked some fellow Brummies and mental health advocates what they consider a good time:
As someone with severe and enduring mental illness, a “good time” is more than just the absence of symptoms. A good time for me is when I feel empowered, accomplished and validated. This can be when I regulate my emotions better than the last time: allowing myself to feel emotions and cry at a sappy, pathetic chick flick or screaming in joy and triumph over marvel films. Emotions need to be felt, and a good time for me is allowing myself to feel them at their strongest.
A good time is challenging my body’s emotional or physical limits and remaining more victorious and accomplished than before. I quite like walking up mountains as this gives me those feelings.
Heather, she/her, 22
A good time for me would be somewhere I fundamentally feel safe enough or secure enough in my environment to not have to alter any part of me. Lots of that is places or spaces that enable connection - with people, myself, nature, music etc. Learning that a good time isn’t always what society says is The Good Time and it can change depending on my needs, and learning to listen to my body - usually ensures a good time!
As a disabled person, a “good time” has become extremely subjective. It can be when my chronic fatigue and pain are lower, a day where I feel like I can do more without as much inevitable payback. It might be when my sensory needs are manageable. I can engage with my friends when there’s less overwhelming, I’m not left wincing or feeling physical pain from noise ricocheting through me or leaving me in a meltdown.
It’s hard to place what a good or bad time is - it’s fluid and sometimes has to be managed hour by hour. Sometimes a split second can change everything, and it’s very hard to manage your mental well-being when you don’t know what your brain and body might feel next. It’s all about enjoying what I can and not falling into cycles of doing too much and crashing later - that can cause there to be far less good times.
Defining “a good time” is difficult, especially with long-term mental illness. For me, though, I feel my best when I am spending time with people I love (including just with myself!), doing things that make me feel alive, satisfied and fulfilled and allowing myself to feel a range of emotions. It’s difficult to enjoy the better times because my illness is so unpredictable, and things could change very suddenly. I try to live the good times to the fullest as much as possible because when they are gone, I feel their absence like a crater in my stomach. At the same time, though, the rollercoaster of my feelings is sometimes comforting because I know that, no matter how painful the bad times are, the tide will change, and there will be good times again.
I allow myself to grieve for the person I could have been and the experiences I could have had without my illness whilst still appreciating my body for keeping me alive despite all I have done to do the opposite. I am grateful for my empathy and my ability to connect with others, whatever the circumstances, even though feeling so much can sometimes be painful.
Photo Credit: Michaela Makusha