I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it’s a bitch. It sneaks up on you and you don’t, you can’t see it coming. It changes tact and gets you in ways you don’t expect. That’s how it’s got me this time. I thought I was free. After almost 4 years medication free, it snuck up on me without me realising it. I can’t even say how it did it. I think it started with feelings of intense sadness for seemingly no reason. Everyone else noticed. Noticed the extra bouts of crying. I didn’t feel unhappy, I still don’t think I feel unhappy most of the time. It’s swinging between intense sadness for no reason and feeling normal (if there is such a thing). But this time I didn’t see it coming.
This is not the first time it’s happened to me and I doubt it’ll be the last. Though, since I’ve been practising meditation and mindfulness diligently I had been hoping to go longer at least in between bouts. I used to have yearly or 2 yearly bouts so this has been a very good run. You are probably thinking “Well she’s a Mindfulness Coach, she shouldn’t have mental health issues” sorry but I’m here to tell you that no one is immune. The likelihood is that your own doctor or counsellor is on antidepressants or in counselling themselves. We all need help and there is no shame in that. There should never be any shame around mental health. It’s such a complex issue and needs gentle care and attention and is often neglected. In my case, I neglected it.
So, what am I doing about it? I know what my advice would be if you came to me after a meltdown so I had to take my own advice. I had to practice what I preach. So this is what I have done and what I would recommend you do if it smacks you in the face when you least expect it.
- Get out of bed – I know you don’t want to, it’s warmer under there and safer but trust me it won’t help you at all. It will make you feel worse.
- Eat proper food – Don’t eat junk, that will make you feel worse, eat good healthy food to replenish your body.
- Get some exercise – Go to the gym, take a walk. I know it’s the last thing you want to do but it releases endorphins and although it’s not a miracle cure it will make you feel marginally better and let’s face it, marginally is better than feeling worse!
- Talk to someone – Talk to a friend who understands you. Don’t choose someone who you know will make you feel worse. If you have no one, call the Samaritans or find a local support group.
- Don’t sleep in the day – Keep your regular sleep routine to avoid insomnia. I know it’s so hard when you are exhausted but you have to stick to this or you mess up your circadian rhythm.
- Be patient with yourself – Yeah you’re going to be snappy, remind yourself and those around you that you’re having a difficult patch and hopefully, they’ll have patience with you too!
- Ditch the guilt – Guilt is an emotion that does not serve you, it releases cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline all stress hormones around your body. overall increasing the stress in your body.
- Say nice things to yourself – talk to yourself like you were your best friend. Tell yourself how great you’re doing, that you are amazing, you look good today whatever you need!
- Shave your legs and put makeup on… or whatever your usual personal hygiene routine is. DO NOT let this slip. This only makes you feel less human.
- Meditate on Loving Kindness every chance you get. Or if you like mantras, find a nice affirmation that suits you and use that. I personally like using the Ho’oponopono mantra.
Finally, go see your doctor. You may need medication if it hasn’t already been prescribed. There is no shame in using that. Depression and anxiety is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s not something, in particular, that’s made you unhappy. Yeah, maybe something might have triggered it, or maybe not. Who knows? Everyone is different. Sometimes, it literally is just an imbalance. Either way, there is help out there and some fantastic counsellors who I can recommend should you feel you are ready for help. Before I sign off for the evening, a friend of mine who I will be releasing a podcast alongside shortly said something very significant to me recently which I’d like to leave you all with.
“You are not your diagnosis”