Tag Archives: mental health

Take Good Care, Loving Yourself is No Crime. 

As someone who has struggled with depression and high levels of anxiety, I definitley like to help others when and wherever I can. An odd tweet, an emotional out of character Facebook post, or crying out for help which only those who have been there will probably spot. Recently, a few friends and followers have expressed their anxiety issues and I’ve tried to help and offer a shoulder of support if need be. Now, I know, when I was going through the worst of my mental health problems a few years ago, someone giving advice and offering their piece of knowledge on how I could be feeling was the last thing I needed – but at the same time, the only thing I needed too. In time, I got through it as best as I could, without medication (not that its a bad thing, my GP was just a bit rubbish!) and I sort of got used to self medicating myself on my down days. 
I learnt by doing this, an act of self love, appreciation and the building in confidence of myself. In this short post, I want to give whoever is reading or needing, a list of what helped me on my down days, and what I do to ensure I look after myself whenever I’m in need of it. There is no shame in putting yourself first now and then. 
* Nap. There is nothing better than getting cosy and just relaxing for an hour or so in silence. When it seemed like the world just wouldn’t shut up or I couldn’t stop my head from over thinking, sleep was always a good way of just zoning out for a little while to recharge those batteries. 

* Take a day off! Don’t be embarrassed. That report isn’t in until next week and your calander is pretty much clear tomorrow. Book it off. Take a mental health day and do something you enjoy, even if its nothing amazing, take the time out for you and only you. 

* Eat what you want, how you want to eat it and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Lets be real, food is the *heart emoji* of all our lives so why not enjoy it like God intended? Order that greasy burger, extra fries and large milkshake and satisfy yourself! Who cares about calories, when there is good food to enjoy!

* Music was one of the biggest parts in my self remedy. Headphones in, world out was pretty much my motto for a good few years. Even the cringey “pretend you’re in a music video” songs whilst sat on the bus or walking in the park, its a great way to clear your head and if the right song comes on, dance party away! (My go to dance party song is The New Radicals – You Only Get What You Give, fyi)

* Without trying to sound like a hippy, but, nature duuude! Yep, I know, if you’re like me, sometimes the thought of even leaving the house was quite the task on really tough days. I couldn’t deal with the thought of dealing with the public or have anyone see me. Sitting in the garden or sitting by a window and feeling the breeze did the world of good though. This was a big thing for me on the way home each night from my last job where I basically worked in hell for nearly three years. Fresh air does amazing things. The cool air really helps when your in the heat of an episode of anxiety. 

* Lower your self expectations. Rome was not built in a day. Be OK with being mediocre for a bit, there is no rush. Enjoy a work life balance. You’ll get there in your own time, there is no shame in pausing for a while. 

* Cover yourself in crisps and binge watch a Netflix series. Pretty self explanatory, sadly, crisps are not included in the Netflix subscription.  

* Set up an Amazon wishlist, and treat   yourself once a month. I’ve started to do this and its the best thing I’ve done. Nothing too extravegant, but a good book, a new kitchen utensil, bedroom furnishings, whatever it is, treating yourself whenever you can is so much fun. Celebreate yourself, for you are amazing, and whats a celebration without gifts (and cake)

* Enjoy your own company at your own pace. Concerts, shopping and just random visits out alone are so nice when you don’t have to cater for everyone elses likes and dislikes. Its a bit weird at first, but learning to enjoy my own company was such a liberating experience for me and its something I really enjoy. Not all the time however, but now and then its good to just be alone doing what I love to do. 

* Spend time with those who celebrate you at any chance you get. Having a set of friends and loving family members who make me laugh, understand me and never judge was key in the progress I made. 

These are just a few of the things I could think of which make me feel better on days where I need to practice my self care and love. They might not work for you, and thats ok, everyone is different. The point of this blog is to help you compile your own list of what makes you happy. Shopping, long drives, going to the gym, whatever it is, do it. Whatever makes you happy, just do it. Loving yourself is no crime. 

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Storms over

Warning: This is a very “me, me, me!” post. I don’t expect many people to read it all, but I really feel it’s important for myself to write it for my own personal growth.

I’ve made it no secret that the last few years haven’t been my best. At times I’ve masked over a lot of hurt, pain and a very bruised self-esteem. Compared to the man I was in 2010, the last six years have been pretty much awful. With moments of blessings and things to be ever so grateful for, I was hiding a deep sadness stemming from years and years of anger, hate and abuse. In the last three years however, this really took its toll on me. I changed as a person. I was no longer my confident, outgoing, bubbly self and I was sometimes afraid to even leave my house. I was a totally different person.

Most people put this down to my size and claimed that I was ashamed of myself and that I was being lazy, embarrassed or seeking attention by playing the victim card. Truthfully, I wasn’t. I’ve always been big, and it’s never really bothered me as it’s never stopped me from doing what I wanted. I had great friends, an amazing university life and I was always going out to events. Frankly, I was a hoot. A right treat to have as a friend.

Without dwelling too much on the past (maybe for another blog, one day) I was definitely depressed for the last few years. My anxiety and stress levels in the most basic situations sky rocketed, I was having dark thoughts about harming myself, I sometimes didn’t leave the house for days and there were days where I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I had hit rock bottom.

Whilst working for a family business for a few years as a means to get me out of the house and make me feel better, I was doing long hours, sometimes without time off for two weeks. It was horrendous and made my personal situation worse. I ended up bottling in so much hurt that I was basically a zombie, work, sleep, eat, and repeat. It was here that I put on a lot of weight, got into bad habits and really made myself unhealthy. I didn’t like my way of life. I was in a live to work situation rather than a work to live and at my age, I was resenting my friends who had the freedom to do what they wanted. I hated myself for that. I owe my closest friends apologies for the rest of their life for putting up with me during that time. Looking back, I was such a pain, and I’m grateful that they are still around for me to show them the change I am going through.

Last year, on the first day of September, it was my first day of freedom. I was officially unemployed and vowed to make the next year all about me. I was hoping to get a job, sort my health out and concentrate on rebuilding relationships with people who I truly care about. It was all about working on my Mind, Body and Soul. For my mind, I was going to seek help and concentrate on controlling what I was going through without the use of medication. I knew it was possible for me, personally, as just getting myself into a good place was the best medication to start off with. To work on body, I was going to eat healthier and exercise and without dieting, really just kick start a different way of life where I was no longer eating out of boredom, stress and self-loathing. To work on soul, I was going to work my way towards getting a job, doing things I enjoyed once again and to contribute to charity when and wherever possible.

It wasn’t easy.

I had some of the best days in the last year, but also some of the worst. I’d set myself little challenges, some of which were really frightening for me to do. I went to a concert on my own, I went out to restaurants and cafes again, I went to public parks with my nephew, I travelled on public transport and I even went to a gym. These are some of the things which I wouldn’t even consider thinking about doing just a few years ago. In the last year though, I’ve cried, I’ve still had panic attacks and I’ve been crippled with anxiety where I’ve been forced to cancel on plans with people in fear of being around people I don’t know. It’s really been a mix match year of emotions where I’ve been forced to deal with problems and issues head on. I’ve been really grateful for those low moments as I’ve dealt with and spoken about them rather than keeping it all bottled in.

I’ve really put in some hard work, personally to change and turn my life around for the better. These have all been very personal goals of mine which many won’t have been aware of, but I’ve done so well. I’m so proud of myself for what I’ve managed to achieve and even though I know I will still have dark days and times where I won’t be feeling my best, I’m not afraid anymore. I’m taking things day by day and it seems to be working. I go out every day now, sometimes to see friends, family and I even go to the gym. I’ve lost nearly five stone in the last year, feel healthier and I feel I have rebuilt relationships with those who matter the most to me. I also start a new job next week. Life seems to be falling back into place for me, very slowly but ever so surely. I’m not a different person, but I’ve learnt a lot about myself and I’m a better me now than what I was a few years ago.

If you’re wondering why I’m writing this, don’t worry, I’m asking myself the same question. I suppose it’s for anyone who needs to read it, or for anyone who is going through a really awful time right now and needs to know that it can improve. I used to really hate when people said “It gets better” like they were a walking, talking tumblr reblog. Truth is, it doesn’t always get better. You just learn to live regardless of how you feel. I will still have days where I have panic attacks and anxiety, but this year has taught me that I don’t have to be a victim of it anymore. I don’t have to let it cripple me to the point of ruining my life. I own me. I make the rules of what I can and can’t do. Screw you depression, I’ve got this.

 

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