I’ll start with “how are you?”. How are you today? Are you feeling happy? Sad? Tired? Angry even? Many of us will reply with “I’m fine”. But what does that mean? It’s become such as stoic expression that hides how we really feel. Being a person with mental health problems, the word “fine” can hide my anxiety, my thoughts and obsessions. It can hide how I’m feeling in reality. Instead “I’m fine” presents idealistically how I want to feel. Not always but it happens.
It’s not always the big grand gestures that can help
The small things do help. It’s not always the big grand gestures that can help, like flowers or chocolates to perk me up. They help but it’s things smaller than that. Something that doesn’t cost money. Something that doesn’t take a lot of time. Something that many of us can do, if not ALL of us. One small thing helps me.
It’s a small thing, but it can mean the world to someone. When I see people smiling, I smile too. It can take my mind off the thoughts racing around in my mind. It’s not easy having health anxiety, social anxiety and OCD. (Rolled into one my diagnosis is anxiety related OCD). It helps me focus on something else for that split second. I look up to them, make eye contact and move my muscles into a smile. I can’t help it.
It’s infectious in the best possible way. It’s contagious. When I see my cousins smiling, my sister smiling…even my dog smiles. It makes me happy.
People say a smile can make someone’s day. It can. I smile at everyone.
I would have said the small thing was asking someone if they are “okay”, but for me, words don’t always work. You may need a hug, a shoulder to cry on or someone to hold your hand. But I don’t need contact either. The simple facial expression of smiling helps me.
It helped me and it helped others
I smiled all of the time when I was younger. I was enthusiastic in my childhood and throughout my teenage years even though I was bullied. Then my mental health problems hit, full force, and I didn’t smile as much as I used to anymore.
I then noticed that whilst I was looking down at the floor, people were smiling at me. It lifted my head up for that little bit, before the gloom descended once more. I then learnt to lift my head up more and to smile at people who were looking down at the floor, like so many people had done to me before. It helped me and it helped others, at least I like to think it did because people smiling helped me.
I was giving a smile to get a smile and now I smile all the time.
It helps me whilst helping others.
That’s the small thing that helps me.