If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed me tweeting with the hashtag #SHhealthyminds between 11th and 17th May, but maybe weren’t sure what the deal was. Basically the fabulous Joes Bloggers got in touch with me about a campaign involving Simply Health to raise awareness of Mental health and the benefits of thinking positively. I was invited to tweet everyday at least one positive thing and in return they would donate £50 to the health charity Mind on my behalf, which is not only generous but a charity who have actually helped me personally so I know how important the work they do is.
For me personally I have found my own way of dealing with depression and stress over the course of the years, but it has taken me a long time to find coping mechanisms and I still wouldn’t say I have it completely under control. I found this article titled ‘Five steps to get you on the way to positive thinking’ to be a great starting point if you feel completely at a loss. The main thing that sticks out for me is setting achievable goals that you enjoy or are good at (the two go hand in hand though usually don’t they?). When you start pushing yourself to do things you know you can’t achieve you are more than likely going to feel like a failure when you can’t complete them and then put more pressure upon yourself. Not everything happens all at once, and for me baby steps is the key.
People telling you to ‘snap out of it’, or to stop being so negative doesn’t help. People telling you that you CAN’T be depressed you’re just sad/hormonal or don’t seem depressed doesn’t help, in fact that purely exacerbates the problem and makes you feel misunderstood. Most of the time we don’t want advice or to be told what to do, we just want someone who will be there for us, and understand that when we push them away it isn’t because we don’t care. Depression is a very selfish illness, and half the time we want to be alone and isolate ourselves, but this only worsens the problem and causes more feelings of social anxiety. I fully abstain from taking any form of medication as it turned me into a sleeping sloth, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, but I can fully assure you that sleeping the days away in a dark room will not help and hiding away from it and not living your life is really not the answer. You CAN change it, only you can do it but you do have the strength. I have found Twitter to be the biggest support base, you may not want to use the internet to vocalise your personal life but rather than spew my woes at my family, and rather than push such a heavy burden on my partner 24/7 sometimes it’s nice to even just listen to other people and find that you have other people going through the same thing. Maybe find out if there are any self help WhatsApp chats, the lovely Olivia Jade set one up for people who wanted companionship and support, it’s private just between you and the group but for all with common interest. You don’t have to reply if you don’t feel up to it, and sometimes typing out the issues can be cathartic.
In terms of the #SHhealthyminds challenge I have found that finding myself one positive quote or one thing that has made me feel good about the day has really made a difference in my mood. I suffered from two panic attacks last week but started to think about what I had motivated myself with that morning, combined with breathing exercises, removing myself from a negative situation and also questioning ‘what is the worst that could happen?’. Even in the darkest of days where you really feel at a loss I think it’s so important to just think of one thing you are grateful for in life, if you can’t bear to think about yourself personally think about the world as a whole. I am grateful to have four beautiful brothers who really give me a reason to keep going, but in terms of nature I love the sea. I live opposite the beach and feel like the sea is a great form of washing away any negative emotion. Sometimes I will take my shoes off and allow my feet just to have the cold waves wash over them, focusing on the sound of the sea crashing against the stones. I have found myself become in touch with nature a lot more since getting on the road to recovery and I would recommend the more you feel like hiding under the duvet the more reason to get up and walk. I understand that’s easier said than done, I lived for a whole year being terrified to even go across the road without an ‘episode’, but exercise (no matter how light) and the fresh air can really make such a difference. Set yourself goals of how far you will walk or get to and if you don’t push yourself too far you will notice yourself getting out further each day. Of course there will be low points but this is a journey, and nobodies journey isn’t without it’s rocky path.
If you want to see what others have been writing about then check out #SHHealthyminds hashtag on Twitter!