Mental Health My Journey!

I am not a health professional or specialist in any way, please don’t follow my journey for Anxiety and depression, seek professional help and guidance suitable for you!

Hi everyone, I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while.  I would like to thank the people that follow me, thank you for your support.  The reason I haven’t written is because my Anxiety and depression has been a bit up and down lately.  With that my moods have been up and down and all over the place; I was happy 1 minute and down the next.  I have also, recently started a new job in November working with children in care.  I love my job it gives me a routine and something to focus on, but it has been emotionally draining on times, and this influenced how I was feeling.  I wasn’t sleeping properly and no amount of medication helped.  In front of everyone I was happy and smiling, playing games with the children, going for days/nights out but inside I was a wreck.  I am a worrier; I worry about things that haven’t even happened and probably won’t happen but that’s Anxiety for you.  I am trying to be more positive and think happy thoughts, but it takes time.  My moods have definitely improved lately, January doesn’t help much either does it?  I think I had a bit of the January blues, where the excitement of Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas and New year was over and there was nothing to look forward to.  February is always a good month for the rugby six nations, I love a bit of rugby it brings a good atmosphere, days/nights out, competition and the chance to support Wales.  Whether we win or not, its still fun.

What is mental health? 

As stated by Mental Health gov (2020) “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.  It affects how we think, feel and act.  It also helps determine how we handle stress, deal with others and make choices.”  Mental health is common and we have all suffered with it, at some point in our lives.  “There are many reasons why we suffer these range from biological factors, life experiences to family history.”  It can start for any reason, even out of the blue.  Mine started as a result of taking care of my dad and my children, working full time, going to university in the evenings and constantly studying, basically not giving myself a break and it all became too much.

The problem with our mental health is that people can’t always see it, sometimes it’s obvious and other times we hide it well.  I have become good at hiding mine, so when people ask, “how am I?”  I smile and say, “I am good thanks, how are you?” this takes away all concern and they move on to another topic.  When I should really say “I feel really down and need someone to talk to.”  Why do we feel so guilty for telling people exactly how we feel, is it because they don’t really care, they are disinterested or are they genuinely concerned?  I know lots of people that felt low, felt they couldn’t talk to anyone.  Even though every time something bad happens, like suicide, everyone says, “They should have told me” Or “I am always here for them.”  I believe that we all need to make sacrifices for our friends and family, even if we don’t always have the time, we should make time.  It could save a life or 2 and make that person feel better.  Last year I hit rock bottom and became suicidal, I sought help eventually but it was so hard to ask for it.  It is really hard asking for help because we often feel that we have failed as a person but I realise now, that it’s actually brave and by seeking help my life has improved massively.  This year I am much stronger, but I still have my down days that’s expected.  I am very lucky I have a loving family that supported and helped me but not everyone has that.  Anyone reading this, please reach out to family, friends, support groups or even me if you feel lost and are having a bad day someone will always listen.

How do we resolve our mental health problems?

I am not a doctor or specialist in any shape or form, I am giving my account of how I have been dealing with my Anxiety and depression.  I have also, worked in mental health for years supporting people ages 16-65 with schizophrenia, psychosis, Anxiety, depression, Bipolar, personality disorder etc but I would always advise that you seek professional support, as that is always best.  I am also, not promoting any products for anyone, just saying what I have used.  I hated the thought of taking antidepressants, as I knew the side effects and risks but my doctor assured me that small doses will really help.  So I started taking Sertraline about 3 years ago, initially 100mg but they went up to 150mg a couple of months ago, this has helped me but there were still times that I felt nervous or anxious to even leave the house.  I was also told about CBD capsules, I didn’t like the thought of taking something that has cannabis in it, but I was informed that the THC that makes you high is taken out and your left with the CBD. Which derives from the hemp plant and is a good natural pain killer used for many illnesses and ailments, as well as easing Anxiety to make you feel calmer.  I have been using it for a while, I can’t say whether I feel better due to the CBD or the medication.  I am feeling a lot better lately and am starting to enjoy my life again.  Maybe it’s because I am in a new job and having regular communication with people and having fun with the children but who knows it could be anything.

The things I have found that work and have always worked is:

  • regular exercise
  • going out walking
  • eating healthy
  • seeing friends and family regularly
  • doing fun activities
  • learning new skills
  • listening to music I love
  • having someone to chat to often

These are tried and tested methods that will work better, than any medication or herbal supplements.  There are of course, lots more options to try.  For workaholics who just don’t get enough time to relax, they should try taking a break or going somewhere fun on holiday.  We all work to survive and pay our bills etc but we should be “working to live, not living to work.”  There has to be a cut off point when you leave work and you don’t think about it until the next day.  I know there is often pressure from our bosses that work comes first but it really doesn’t, our health and family comes first.  If we don’t have our health, we are unable to work productively anyway.  Also, most bosses just see us as a number and we are instantly replaceable, so don’t ever feel bad for taking time out.

How to improve?

Some options we could consider to improve our mental health are:

  • Coping with stress – so many people suffer with stress and don’t realise the impact it has on their bodies and mind, being more present and learning mindfulness can help.
  • To build and develop our relationships – our relationships are so important, people around us should understand how we feel and vice versus.  To have healthy relationships we need honesty, trust and support these are vital.
  • To be physically healthy – like I always say, even minor work outs or walks are a massive help for the mind, body and soul.
  • To work less but to be more productive – studies have found that by ‘working less we are much more productive,’ more companies should understand that ‘long hours actually reduce productivity’ and ‘result in more losses, injuries or problems.’
  • To realise our potential and leave jobs/ situations that don’t make us happy – this is is often easier said than done but when you do it you will feel great, your never too old to start again.
  • Have a zest for life – Having a purpose or appreciation for life can really make a difference, trying new adventures/ hobbies/ holidays can really improve a boring life.
  • A work/ life balance – as mentioned earlier we only need to work to keep us going, we shouldn’t make work our only life, I understand having a career is important but you have to have fun to.
  • Access support – There are so many support groups available for all sorts of problems, I know it can be overwhelming finding the right support but online you can find local groups tailored to your needs.  If you don’t fancy groups, you can try online forums, or something more specific.  The NHS website, Google or Citizens Advice has lots of information to help.
  • To work on self confidence and self esteem – there’s many reasons why we might have low self confidence and low self esteem, ex partners, friends, work etc but its really important to build our confidence and self esteem.  If we don’t love ourselves, how will others love us?  Learning to do affirmations every day can help.  Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment! Go on!

Summary

My overall feelings about my mental health journey, is that by accessing support and having a good network around me, it has really helped to improve myself.  By practicing self care and realising when to take breaks is vital.  I understand that, yes I need to work but it’s not my main priority, my family and health is.  I have learnt that even when your feeling down, don’t feel there is no way out, there’s always a way out.  Believe it or not but things do improve with time.  Learning to manage stress and anything that gets me down, is now more important than worrying about anything else because they are my main triggers that make me feel low.  Trying to manage things as they arise instead of putting them off, really helps.  I really hope you enjoy reading.  If you need help or support numbers are at the bottom of my page.

Thanks

Nicola x

 

References

Mental Health gov (2020), What is mental health? Accessed from: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health

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