It’s not the most widely known thing about me but about four years ago I suffered from mild depression. I use the term mild with caution as it’s not meant to trivialise that state of mind but to acknowledge that I did not face the struggles I know so many people do. I always think of a hole. I never seem to reach all the way to the bottom but often get stuck half way out and it takes a huge effort to make it up close to the top again.
I was teaching a class with a high number of children who had emotional baggage. In one ear was my boss whispering to me about steps progress, performance reviews and accelerated progress whilst my own little voice was trying to interrupt to explain about the ‘baggage’ that these children were carrying everyday and regardless of their academic performance (some were ‘high achievers’) progress would remain limited if things weren’t tackled and dealt with. I tried my utmost best to make their lives better, as did other staff but in many cases it was intervention outside school that was needed.
I ended the academic year exhausted and on my knees and after struggling to move from the sofa and function beyond basics for the first few weeks of the summer holiday I bit the bullet and visited the doctor who gave me a mild anti-depressant. Taking these tablets allowed me time to clear my head and focus on improving things and managing things better. Two years later I came off them and things were going well.
Until last week. I have no idea where it came from or why but it hit. Apparently it’s been building for a while (so my husband tells me) but I’m often oblivious to the early signs. I found myself being angry at everyone for no reason, any usual tongue biting went out of the window and I even had a mini meltdown over the bloody Christmas tree. The thing is……..this time I’m ready. This time I’m not sitting back and waiting for it to take me with it, I’m starting the climb.
In light of this, I know I’m not taking care of myself at the minute so I’ve been looking at self-care methods to help me. I’d love to hear any of your if you use any of these with a positive effect.
These ideas are just ones that help me but if I can give another person a little help too, then I’m happy.
I have a love/hate relationship with exercise but I’ve abandoned my old frenemy for about 2 years now. I hate it to begin with. It takes me a few sessions then it becomes an addiction. I once boot camped 4 times a week and did spinning (my absolute favourite as nobody can hear you swear over the music). exercise is scientifically proved to release endorphins (happy hormones) and make you happier as well as healthier. I wouldn’t say no to being a bit slinkier either!
I am addicted to food. Not in the way that people will often say ‘I’ve been a pig today’ but in a ‘I’ve eaten until I can’t possibly stop everyday’ kind of way. In the past I’ve successfully dieted and lost weight making me feel a whole lot better and healthier but then I’ve piled it back on at an alarming rate once motivation slips. The reason being I never deal with the actual issue – my relationship with food is unhealthy and a lot of my thoughts are often taken up with food. What I need to do is to think of food as fuel and chose it wisely.
One of the most difficult but most beneficial strategies for me is to meet up with friends. When feeling this way I can barely bring myself to put outdoor worthy clothes on and go out but I know I’ll come away feeling different. My friends (you can read about their awesomeness here) will take me as I turn up. Messy hair, no make up, same clothes I’ve worn all day – they don’t care. They’re happy for me to shout, rant, and even cry in my meat balls (yes folks it happened once). NO judgement comes my way and they are funny and wacky enough to make anyone smile.
Massage works a treat for me although I’m not sure how long the effects last. It works so well that a head massage will often leave me drooling through the little head hole and a sneaky bit of snoring might take place. Reading around other blogs recently I’ve also seen advocates for reiki, meditation, yoga and CBD oils. (Advice on the best CBD oils here)
Years ago I had a major phobia of singing in front of people. I couldn’t even answer the questions ‘how does that song go?’ if it meant some form on singing. My husband sorted out some singing lessons and it turns out I can carry a tune (sometimes) but what I discovered more was that it makes me feel so happy. A month ago I joined a theatre group and I’m hoping that I get to sing a lot more (in the background).
Talking about my feelings is not my forte. My husband is great and really helps me work through things. Slowly I am learning that the more I talk daily and get things of my chest, the less it builds up.
What works for you? I’m really interested to hear.