Tag Archives: anxiety

Three things I’ll be doing today to make life easier

The prospect of a busy day can seem like a very steep hill indeed ...

The prospect of a busy day can seem like a very steep hill indeed …

It’s Monday morning, and I’m staring down the barrel of another jam-packed week. Last week was also busy, and at times I felt overwhelmed – ugh! Today, there are three things I’m going to do to maintain my equilibrium: 

1. Focus on just one thing. When life presents us with “too much to do”, I find it helpful to think about the big picture, and plan accordingly, but then focus on the details; in particular, the detail I’m taking care of right now. Dwelling on the big picture can lead to feeling overwhelmed, and that’s a definite no-no for me! 

2. Schedule downtime. Not only will the unexpected happen to throw carefully-planned schedules out the window, but planned breaks help keep the mind fresh. Anxiety is not one’s friend when faced with many things to do. 

3. Eat healthy snacks regularly and mindfully. Otherwise, I can tend to eat almost unconsciously – and then, boy oh boy do those snacks pile up! Not everyone needs to lose weight, but I do, for health reasons. A stress-filled day might be a recipe for diet blow-out, unless I plan in advance. 

So, those are the three things I’ll be doing today to help cope with my enormous ‘To Do’ list. Out of interest, do you have any strategies which help you get through the busy times?

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20 Awesome Things To Say That Will Radically Improve Your Life

 

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Whether you’re living with mental health issues or just muddling through life (aren’t we all?!) I loved this presentation by Jeff Hadden, and thought you might, too!

http://www.inc.com/ss/jeff-haden/20-awesome-things-say-radically-improve-your-life#0

 

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Feelings: ugh.

This post is going to be less edited than usual, a bit of a mental splapwaiouerh onto the screen just to get some stuff out. Strap yourself in for spelling mistakes and grammar errors! (And you, inner critic, you can just shut the fuck up!)

Last Monday I came to the conclusion that “Perhaps I don’t have feelings”. Weird statement, as I was wringing my hands at the time, but it felt true as I spoke it. I gave the matter a lot of thought and on Friday figured out that, as I am coming out of such a long depression, there’s been ages in which I have been almost literally unable to experience certain things or feel certain emotions without my brain flopping into despair or flipping out into hyper-anxiety. In other words, it’s not that I didn’t have feelings, they were there (my body told me so!) but my mind didn’t allow me to feel them.

Then, over the weekend, we had some bad news about my grandmother. Ahhh, I don’t want to talk about it … see? Even in a post about not feeling feelings I don’t want to go to the hard places. Anyway, it was challenging.

I can remember being snotfully tearful and overwhelmed by emotions. Maybe that’s part of my problem now: I’m just too scared to go there again. Well, not me; the part of my mind which protects the rest of me.

I can make statements, at the moment. For example: I don’t want my therapist to go on leave. Yesterday he said something about complaints (I have trouble making complaints to authority figures). I wondered what the distinction between a statement like the one above and a complaint was. We decided it was emotional content. So, just to try it out, I thumped the arms of the chair and spoke: “I really don’t want you to go away and abandon me!” It wasn’t a magic trick. The feelings didn’t come rushing back into my consciousness. I did get sore hands, though.

So: me and feelings. Sort of not really connecting right now. I can guess at what I’m feeling through observing my body’s reactions, but otherwise I just resort to my favourite misdirector, good old intellectualism. Paradoxically, the more clinical and detached my posts are, the more emotional strain I may be feeling.

Well, that’s my wordsplurge. As always, these sentences are just drops in the ocean of what I could write about this; however, enough is enough, for now.

Be well, sweetlings!

xx DB

waterdrop

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“…shows great courage…”

From MasterChef last night:

To change your career at 27 takes great courage.

Sorry, Marco Pierre White, I beg to differ.

This isn’t because I think the young man you were talking to isn’t an outstanding individual. It’s not because I’m well over 27, and have changed career a number of times.

It’s because I seen even greater courage daily among the mental health community.

You think it’s hard to change your career, Mr White? What about adapting to a completely new way of being in the world? What about suddenly realizing that what you’ve done all your life isn’t going to work for you any more – and may, in fact, be the end of you?

These are the questions mental health patients come up against, at precisely the time in their life when they’re least equipped to deal with them.

I enjoyed a long “phone date” with one of my best friends yesterday afternoon. Her schedule is busy, and we don’t get to talk often these days, but I always enjoy our chats. It was really great to be able to say that – finally! – I’m beginning to feel different,  to feel better again, to be able to think differently and constructively about my future. I haven’t been able to tell her that in a long time.

She asked me what I thought was the biggest factor in overcoming my mental illnesses. I gave her an honest answer: “My attitude.”

I believe that I will lead a happier, smoother, healthier and more hopeful life again, and I work hard towards that goal, even when it’s difficult. I still have a way to go, but I’m fortunate to be inspired and supported by those who walk alongside me.

Byron (the young man Mr. White was addressing) did leave the show last night. Among his parting comments were this:

Being 27 and finding out what you want to do in life – it seems so late.

I’m truly happy for you, Byron, I really am; it is a wonderful thing to discover what you want to do in life: but imagine what it must be like, at any age, to try and re-learn what you have to be in life, in order to survive.

That’s courage.

Dogtags

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Not in Kansas anymore

No, this blog hasn’t transmogrified into a travelogue! Instead, I was inspired by the responses to yesterday’s post on appeasing the inner critic to write about acceptance.

It was lovely to hear people’s responses to the all-to-common phenomena of the inner critic, that voice which can ride our backs, tearing us apart from the inside – if we let it. A theme which recurred was the concept of the “used to” voice, that particularly nasty one which reminds us that now we’re living with depression or anxiety or whichever “quirk or frailty” we’re now dealing with, we can’t do everything we used to be able to do.

This voice has been strident in my head this week! I started a university course about a month ago. I already have two masters degrees, so I felt fairly confident that I could tackle two subjects in this study trimester – two subjects is not a full time load, after all, and in the past I’ve managed both a full load of study and a full load of work, at times.

Not now.

Census date* was looming, so I dropped one of the subjects. I have two small assignments due tomorrow, 500 and 750 words respectively (so nothing, really!) and while I’m moderately confident I can complete them, I am finding it really hard to get the reading done. Yes, you heard that right – the woman with not one but two masters degrees is finding it difficult to do the reading required for a couple of piddling little pieces.

As you can imagine, the inner critic has been having a field day with this! So I have been vigorously exercising my appeasement strategies. I was also helped considerably this morning by a conversation with a dear friend, who works in education, who helped me tease out where some of my resistance was coming from … and by my husband, who reminded me that I am still suffering from a viral infection! (Sometimes we miss the glaringly obvious; perhaps that malicious inner critic hides it from our consciousness!)

I’ve read a few posts on the “life is a game” metaphor lately, one by nikeyo and another by happilydepressed. Check them out – they’re excellent. They also helped me realize that I firmly believe that radical acceptance of your situation as it is now is not only the way to appease the “used to” voice, but also sets you up for happiness and, I guess, success in life – however you define success.

For me, radical acceptance today means realistically assessing my overall health status, and moving forward from there. My status at the moment is:

  • I’ve tired myself out, talking to my friend for over an hour (delightful though that was)
  • I’m running a mild fever
  • I have to get these two pieces written before tomorrow’s end
  • I possess the skills required to complete these pieces, but
  • thanks to my depression, and viral infection, I am lacking in energy and motivation to do so; and
  • thanks to my anxiety, I am unrealistically fearful that I may not be able to complete the tasks.

So, I am going to set myself very, very small goals; 5 minutes of reading here, 10 minutes of reading there, with lovely relaxing breaks in between. In this way, I know I’ll get the pieces written, and also take care of myself.

This is a very specific example. Thinking more broadly, how do you deal with the “used to” voice? I’d love to hear your strategies!

* For overseas readers: “census date” is the date at which you get charged for all subjects you’re enrolled in. If you want to withdraaw from a subject, you’re best off doing it before the census date to avoid having to pay for it, which you’d have to do even if you subsequently withdrew even before the “withdraw not fail” date.

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