Let’s talk Mental health. I am not one to share stories or posts about mental health on the internet, partly because I worry people will see it as attention seeking and partly because it’s my own personal journey. The posts you see going viral on Facebook “this is what anxiety looks like” & “This is what depression looks like” aren’t the videos I want to share. Personally, I like to spread happy messages across my Facebook and these videos are anything but. They make out that depression and anxiety are the same for every person. It’s not. It’s personal.
I’ve suffered from mental health issues since I was 12 years old. Something I hate discussing, especially so open on the internet. That’s why not many people will know because it’s not something I tend to share over a biscotti and coffee. Opening up is something I fear, I’m scared that people will tell me I’m just melodramatic, I fear they will judge me, I worry that I over analyse the situation and really it’s just a pretty scary thing to open up about.
I don’t want to delve into it too much as although I feel it’s something that should be discussed and accepted more – I also feel for me, it’s a personal struggle and not something I need/want to detail over the internet. I find it hard to put into words the emotions I have felt – there is no real way to truly describe the way depression and anxiety have made me feel over the past 13 years.
My mental health has affected many things:
- physical health
- social life
- friendship circle
- And basically my whole entire life!
It’s horrible, and I wouldn’t afflict these emotions on even my worst of enemies…
How Have I
got through it Managed It?
The younger version of me found many ways to help cope. All of them actually causing the problem to escalate. I hurt myself, I drank, I got in debt, I hurt other people and I lost all respect for myself and my life. At times, the thought of waking up was a bad one.
Let’s fast forward a few years
It’s now 2016, I’m reasonably settled and happy. I have good days. I have bad days. But, the majority of days I’m in the middle, and I’m happy that way. There’s been many turning points to get me to this stage in life and by no means am I saying I have beat it, but I’m learning to cope, in a healthy, sensible manner.
How did I get here?
Everyone tells you exercise is good for depression. But depression doesn’t make it easy to exercise. Depression is tiring. Depression is soul consuming and some days getting up in the morning isn’t even possible, let alone going for a run. This is when you need a friend (again something that’s not always possible when suffering from depression – I pushed away so many people) My boyfriend has been my rock. He dragged me out the house for walks when all I could think about was sleeping, and that’s how it started.
It’s about baby steps. A 5 minute walk here and there, will develop into a 10 minute walk, eventually a 30 minute walk and then one day you may even start jogging. It’s about baby steps. They work. No one is telling you to get up and start lifting weights and running marathons. I found using a fitness tracker, and setting myself mini targets a great way to start.
I (try to) eat healthily:
I don’t drink:
Ok that’s a lie….I do. I’m not teetotal, however, my intake is a lot lower than in previous years. I would say on average I drink twice a month. I don’t think alcohol has a positive effect on me or my productivity. In fact, sometimes, it causes me to black out, which tends to bring out my anxiety and depression in abundance. Alcohol is a depressant – just because you feel on top of the world when you’re drinking, doesn’t mean you will an hour or so later. I think removing alcohol from my life completely will be a future step.
These are the three main things I’ve benefited from. I know people who recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and that’s something I’d like to look into doing in the future. I’ve also been reading Matt Haig – Reasons to stay alive, a book that really sums up some of the emotions I have felt. No matter how you are feeling, the book is worth the read. My Mind will never be perfect, I will never feel perfect, But why would I want to be anything other than me?
How do you cope?
Let me know if there is anything I should add to the list? How have you helped to cope with your anxiety?
Let me know in the comments below…