Category Archives: advice
Spending time to make your brain feel more positive, rested and peaceful is not selfish, it’s wise. You need it.
If you live with mental illness, know this: You may not believe it but you’re a wonderful person and you are doing great. Each day you are getting from dawn to dusk and that takes energy and courage. (I know, I’ve been there.)
Every day with mental health issues may feel like a year but it’s best to take one day at a time and try to enjoy the moment you’re in. Think of a hamster on a wheel, that’s your anxiety running at full speed. You’ll fall to the floor exhausted but you’ll have travelled nowhere.
This is difficult and there are no easy fixes or shortcuts – but if you can be strict with overactive overthinking brain and not permit yourself to play “what if? ” or think about anything except what you are doing then this significantly reduces anxiety and gives you fuller enjoyment. For example, engage in a film and invest 100% (or as as much as you can) to it. That leaves less room for the chatterbox in your head.
Listen to a piece of music and feel it, shut out the persistent “you should be doing this or that instead.” Why should you? Is it written in stone that you can’t take time for yourself? That you must work like a drudge, worry yourself in to a coma and feel bad for helping yourself feel better?
Sadly, this is tricky because so much of our lives is ruled by routine, work hours, deadlines and the amount of things we commit to from a sense of obligation, being seen to do the right thing and fitting in.
No is a tiny word but saying it (difficult again) can make a huge difference to how many demands are placed on your shoulders and how frazzled you are.
You have the right to be in charge of your day. If too much of it isn’t yours is there a way to find time for healing your mind, shutting off from stress and being you, in the moment?
Even two minutes spent visualising a tranquil scene has soothing effects…can you find two minutes a few times a day? I really hope so, it helped and helps me SO MUCH to get through days when depression/anxiety tries to regain power.
Have the best day possible.X
It’s really tough to remember that depression is a liar. Not a fibber, but a whopping great big, no holds barred, stinky phantom of lies. (And yes, its pants are on fire.)
It tells you that there is no hope, no point to anything, that you’re a waste of space, that you are a blight on other peoples lives…it wants you to believe that every single tomorrow that you have left in your life will be as miserable and energy sapping as today. Depression’s nasty little chemicals want to swamp you.
I’ve been there and I believed the lies for a long time. Too long.
Good news!!!! Today is better, brighter and more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined.
There was light at the end of the tunnel.
The hope was waiting for me to claim and embrace it.
Today, I know me better than I knew me before, what I need and want and feel.
Gone is the drained perennial people pleaser. Here to stay is the new me, the one that deserves to be happy and respected. Sure, it took counselling and a lot of introspection but the liar didn’t win the game. Truth did.
If you’re depressed please try to find the truth, not the lies that the illness wants you to think are the truth.
You are special.
You have unique qualities.
You have hope for tomorrow.
You are not alone.
You are not weak, pathetic or lacking…you’re suffering from an illness.
Being happy with depression/anxiety/PTSD/OCD takes practice and effort. Even when the worst is over you know the dark cloud might pop back so it’s best to ward off negativity with proactive “make yourself happy and appreciate things” tricks.
Making a list of things to be grateful about may not seem appropriate when you feel like the world is your enemy and that life is less than glorious but actually, being disciplined and making that list can work, although it doesn’t take the chemical imbalance – the illness’ cause away. It can add positives to the apparent sea of negatives though.
Have a home.
Loved by family.
Friends and support.
Employed or seeking employment.
Interested in something.
Invested in a hobby.
Know where to get help.
I don’t know whether it’s the same for you but I love effect that the sun has on productivity. Birds singing, bees buzzing, cool drink, laptop and a full on day of writing or reading/research…love it! Summer says “bring it on!”
Obviously being out in the sun (safely) means seratonin production, the happy chemical in your brain, and if you have depression/anxiety you know that all the help you can get is welcome so set to work and seratonin to the max.
Cosy in the winter is good too and working from home I get to wear my smug face as people battle the weather conditions, you know, sat in front of the fire with a hot chocolate, sorry;-)
This took me time to be able to even consider!! Be nice to yourself. Your inner voice can be cruel. That mean voice isn’t the truth, it’s stuck on repeat.
So, you made a mistake at work, pranged your car or forgot to send an e-mail to Aunty Flo…that isn’t the end of the world. You may feel like it is, but the globe will keep on turning and you won’t make it as headline news so please go easy on yourself. You’re human.
Lastly, how often do you congratulate yourself or give yourself a reward?
As part of my CBT therapy about 4 years ago, my homework for weeks was to enjoy myself ON PURPOSE and until it became a habit. I still do it now, whether it’s a new top, a cream cake, an Animaniacs/Garfield cartoon or an early finish, I treat myself regularly. Why? It feels good.
We often forget ourselves and our contributions as we rush about. Stop, take a moment and say “Good work.” It’s not being boastful or decadent, it’s being nice to your brain, self esteem, confidence and about diminishing stress. Humans are powerful machines, we need to refuel sometimes.
One treat a day can keep negativity at bay.
Happy Wednesday:-) Thanks for reading this.
I was reminded this morning of how I used to be, people who know you “from before” a brain blip tend to send your mind right back, to “another” you.
I recalled how reluctant I was to say that I was ill, how I backpeddled from treatment, how I refused medication for my OCD/PTSD for around six months and how when it all looks gloomy the thought of defining the sadness with big medical terms is enough to depress you – when you’re already depressed!
Here’s a news flash for anyone who feels like this at the moment:
I only started to heal when I got treatment, accepted the diagnosis, cried my eyes out (I put them back in) and then took meds – only 60mg in my case – but my long suffering therapist thought she’d have trouble even getting me to take 5mg of anything!
Therapy does make you better, I know it’s a long road and sometimes it seems neverending, but enjoy the moments in which you claim YOU back and can review the past with a knowledgable smile and gratitude that thanks to experts and rebalancing a chemical imbalance your life is yours.
Sure, it will be different, you will be stronger – no one goes through a mental health crisis without learning who they truly are – but that, in its own way is empowering. Cool, huh?!
Don’t let the bad guys steal your life, get help and the future opens up like a rose bud.
If anyone is down today I recommend this: Thanks Jo:-)
Let’s talk brain trickery…it is so easy when you have mental illness (or in a rut) to get stuck with stinking thinking. Thank God I suffer from it less than I used to…helped by a brilliant counsellor and CBT but I still fall prey to the occasional (read daily) thought error.
Like “I should have done this by now.”
“I’m taking too long loading the dishwasher, I have other stuff to do.”
“I must e-mail someone right now. They’ll be waiting.”
Really, the answer should be “why?” or “who said?” “what difference does it make?” “Is it a life of death importance?” BUT somehow the brain blip kicks in and two things happen in response to the stinking thinking:
You start to feel bad, like you’ve done something wrong and you tell yourself to do better, therefore demanding more of yourself which only adds pressure which exacerbates a stress related illness.
Anyone else seeing a vicious circle here?
Apparently it’s called the Demanding Thinking Error… It’s demanding and it’s a thought not a divine or true statement and it’s an error…so think of it as a number in place of a letter or a vegetable instead of a fruit. You don’t have to have it and use it just because it presents itself so if, like me, you have the demanding thinking error, don’t listen to that pesky inner voice, ignore it and remind yourself that life is to be enjoyed, it’s not a speed trial and you are a fabulous person doing just fine!
Happy rest of the day, smile, you’ve earned it. Have a slice of cream cake too, go on, you know you want to!
Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend, it’s almost here!!
I found myself wondering about something earlier…
Bearing in mind my experiences (ongoing) with depression and anxiety I was told about a friend of a friend who is going through a tough time and I’m going to be honest while I was sympathetic I wasn’t ready to feel sorry for her 100% as I can with other sufferers.
In brief: She is a twenty something single parent (the dad has custody every other weekend) and she never seems to be able to make ends meet, she works part time in a supermarket but doesn’t feel love for the job. Her doctor told her about 4 months ago that she was depressed and prescribed some meds to help.
OK, so far, so good – this is the stuff of life, I believe it’s called situational depression and it must be horrible or it wouldn’t be called depression. However, sympathy from those around her has diminished over the months and I can see why even though I know that depression can rob you of the concept of possibility and opportunity…
She doesn’t like her job – as she likes to tell any and everyone BUT she arrives late regularly, tries to leave early and isn’t keen to work so she often has to be reprimanded by her boss. We all know that the job market isn’t great so jumpin in to another job might not be possible but she won’t try because the present boss does nothing more than reprimand her verbally – water off the proverbial duck’s back.
She also stopped taking the meds but took another two months off work without any pay which wasn’t a popular course of action.
She doesn’t have enough money – this is a problem shared the world over and I can understand that money goes out the door as fast as it comes in. Children can’t live on fresh air and they are constantly growing BUT as soon as she can get a babysitter or the father has custody of her child she turns in to a party animal, gets totally wasted and spends far too much money on “having fun.” Everyone needs fun but every week???
A solution like going out less and saving some money doesn’t seem to have any weight in her mind – she wants to go out, get drunk and be a twenty something like her friends.
The general opinion is that she’s got in to a rut in which she is “happy” to tell everyone how miserable life is and how much she has to put up with but at the same time any help, constructive advice or offers of treatment are being refused or ignored.
So what is she going to do?
Is the answer really out of reach for her?
Does she simply have to face the fact that she can’t live the life her friends have because she’s got responsibilites?
Is it the depression or her nature that’s costing her the chance of taking control of her life?
Would “tough love” (NOT STIGMATISING!) help where indulgence hasn’t?
Is it time to employ the adage “God helps those who help themselves?”
Interesting, isn’t it? Everyone’s walk with mental health is different, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you’ll be a sufferer and there’s a 3 in 4 chance that you’ll have to be around to support that person…however long it takes.
We can all learn from another person no matter how many answers we think we have.
Now, in case this is all too serious, here’s a funny picture. Thanks for reading!