OK so this is a hard one to write. I’ve done this as a bit of a follow up to my SAD Tips post, it came to my attention that it may have come across as a bit flippant etc, which was not my intention, it’s just one of my many coping mechanisms. Right, I’m going to try and keep this in some sort of order, although be warned, this is story time. I’m going to give you a brief history of my mental health, if that is possible!
I’ve had lots of positive role models in my life, these people made sure to help me believe that I could accomplish great things in my life and that I was more than capable. I’ve also had negative people in my life that seemed to speak to the negative voices in my head. I ended up thinking that I wasn’t able to do great things, that I was silly to actually attempt it, that I wasn’t knowledgeable in my area of expertise, all sorts of fun things.. This led to being generally anxious. I felt that I had to do more to achieve these things, that I had to be busy, all sorts of interesting behaviour. I’ve since learnt it’s high functioning anxiety.
This anxiousness led to depression. I am the type of person that doesn’t feel comfortable telling people my business. Living mostly in my head meant that the negativeness fed on itself and grew progressively worse. It became harder to do everyday things, from leaving the house to just getting moving. Everything just felt heavier. After a period of this I eventually went to a doctor as I didn’t want to feel like this any more. I was given some medication and I did very briefly see a counsellor. The medication did help, however, after a few months I decided I wanted to come off the medication. I did this under medical advice, I also put certain things in place to make sure I would be ok. This included regular exercise, having positive people in my live, giving myself small achievable goals and eating well. All of these would help me make sure my body was producing the right chemicals and that I had positive things going on in my life. This went quite well, I still have to be aware of certain things.
I still struggle in Winter – the shorter days etc, this is where the Seasonal Affective Disorder comes in. I can feel all the rubbishness hovering on the edges, so I make sure I keep on top of things. The anxiety is still there, however I have taught myself a few things about that. So let’s talk about the anxiety thing.
I think this is an odd one to talk about. It impacts different people in different ways. I’m quite a driven person, however if you ever heard the conversations in my head, you would never guess. I want to highlight that people who are seen to work hard, who are driven and that look from the outside that everything is grand, that they can have mental health issues, including anxiety. I sometimes get annoyed that there is an idea that people with anxiety or depression are somehow weak, or that we don’t still do things. Dealing with mental health issues is hard and people that live with this know. We are stronger than even we know.
Anyway this anxiety thing, the feeling of worthlessness, whether it’s related to my work, that I’m a rubbish friend/sister/daughter/person, or whatever the feeling. All of that is there, however, I’m now much more kind to myself. I shut down the negative voices much quicker, I tell myself that I am good at what I do. I tell myself that I’m ok. I do still have meltdowns, I had one just this week in fact! Probably brought on by the car crash. My main issue of late has been that there is not enough time, that I know life is short, that I want to accomplish things and I don’t have enough time. The flight instinct kicks in really hard, as well as the need to do all of the things. So I had a few days of not wanting to do anything or talk to anyone, basically because I can’t do anything (so I think), so in my brain’s logic, I don’t do anything. Odd logic right?
I am fortunate that I have a Simon in my life to help me out. I had a few big cries. I then eventually started talking and he brought out the brochures and we started making plans. Making plans helps. Making small achievable goals as well as bigger one helps. It makes everything easier to cope with. I was able to get it out of my head and talk to someone.
So the point of all this? Well just to share that this is a thing. If you have issues and think you may have mental health issues, talk to someone. Talk to a friend, other half, family. Saying it aloud will work wonders. Talk to a doctor and or a therapist. I’m aware that I’ve probably worded half this wrong. It’s a hard thing to put into words, I think I did better in the video, maybe. I’m not doing this for attention or for sympathy or anything else.