Coping with anxiety and depression
16th February 2017
Back in May last year I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and in November I started seaking help for my mental illnesses. Right now, I’m still waiting to see a therapist and it’s looking likely that I won’t start therapy until the summer because of the long waiting list.
So, what’s happening in the meantime?
Well, I’m having to learn to deal with my mental health by myself. Fortunately the therapist sent me some self-help books and resources which I’ve read through and have found really quite useful.
I realised that in many ways I wasn’t helping myself. I realised that I could be doing more to take better care of my self, even really simple things.
So over the last few months I’ve made a few changes in my life and I have to say, I have noticed a difference. They’re not curing my mental health illness, and I still feel like I need to speak to a therapist, but they are certainly helping me and improving the way I feel.
I still have days where nothing makes me feel better and I have a “pity party” but I can say with confidence I’ve had more “better” days then I did before I started taking action.
Today I thought I’d share with you just a few of the things I’m doing to take better care of my mental health.
I give myself things to look forward to
I really struggle if I don’t have anything to look forward to in the future, whether that be just a trip home, a day out, a night out or something bigger like a holiday.
Being able to look at my diary and see up coming events excites me. It gives me something to think about when I’m at work which is usually when I allow my mind to wonder into bad places. For instance, right now I’m looking forward to going out with Tyrone on Friday for our February date night. And we’re getting the train so I can drink! Woo!
Also we’ve booked to go and see Brian Cox live in May and then Hans Zimmer in June, so I’m looking forward to these events even though I’ve got a bit longer to wait for these. And I’m sure we will book a summer holiday soon.
I work out
I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of physical exercise for mental health but as I’ve never been a fan of exercise I just assumed it would make me feel worse.
But I started working out because I knew that building the muscles around my hip would help with my pain, and to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it.
I recently got myself an exercise bike and I love getting home from work and working out on it. I like to set myself little challenges every day to see if I can achieve them.
I’ve also started going swimming again which helps me so much with my mental health. I find swimming so relaxing and it seems to take my mind off everything. It also gets me out of the house in an evening and forces me to switch up my routine.
I (try to) spend less time time online
I love writing my little blog, and I love building websites, but spending too much time online can really get me down. Social media is wonderful but it can be so damaging for my mental health. I get wrapped up in things that don’t even matter to me, or I start playing the old comparison game, and it never ends well.
I’m trying to get into the habit of checking my phone less throughout the day, and now when I get home from work, instead of crashing on the sofa with my laptop straight away, I do the house work or work out. Because I know that once I pick up my laptop I’ll be sucked in for the rest of the evening.
In fact, I only really go on my laptop if I need to do something, because if I’m just going on it for the sake of it then I’m just wasting time. It also makes me more excited for going on my laptop and working on blog when I do have time to do it.
I celebrate the little things in life
You are probably all aware that at the end of 2016 I started a new series on my blog called Little Victories where I talk about the positive things, no matter how small, that happened in the previous month.
Forcing myself to pick out the positives has really helped me recognise the little things in life that make me happy. I think because in my life I’ve been in many, many situations where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong (mainly the treatment of my hip dysplasia, where my mental health issues actually stem from) I do have a tendency to look at the negatives rather than the positives, and this is something I really need to focus on.
Please note, just these things work for me doesn’t mean they will work for everyone. I’m certainly not an expert on this; I’m just learning about myself and my mental illnesses. If you are having problems with your mental health I encourage you to speak to someone about it.