Tag Archives: Depression

Mental Health: Burning out and fighting back

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post just about me and what’s going on inside my head, so I thought I’d write one. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m not writing this because everyone needs an update, I’m writing this because doing so would get a lot off my chest. I’m burning out and fighting back, sort of.

I’ve had a tough couple of months. May in particular was hard. I’ve been working over the last few years to be less anxious and less depressed and for the most part I was going ok. There has been the odd bump in the road, but returning to my self care routine and fighting everything usually pulls me out of the hole. 

May has been hard. I’ve been suffering from burnout. The boy was ill for nearly two months and the worry and stress took its toll. I work hard, probably too hard and I’m never off from work. I start early in the mornings and work till late at night and take little time for myself. There are a few other things going on too, but essentially I’ve been suffering from emotional and physical burnout. I’m spinning too many plates, struggling to keep up and it’s taking its toll.

The boys went away for a weekend and gave me a little bit of space, but it boiled down to two short evenings. It wasn’t enough but I missed them loads; proving that I’m complicated if nothing else. 

My anxiety has been through the roof, I’ve been angry at everything and everyone, I’m easily upset and oversensitive. I’ve tried to hide it all, but sometimes it spills out and without meaning to I upset people. I hate upsetting people and it just starts a weird shame, self-critical, low self esteem hate spiral which is hell on earth to get out of. 

Right now I seem like a happy and normal mum. Inside there’s all that shame, self criticism, low self esteem, hateful stuff I mentioned earlier. I hate that the careless words of strangers, or indeed of loved ones can have such an impact on me. My self esteem and self worth is an easily bruised peach and I’m feeling quite bruised and battered right now.

There’s no major plan for getting me back on an even keel. I know I need to not work as much and to take time out for myself sometimes. I know I need to look after myself more. Yes, I know I could probably do with some kind of digital detox, but that’s hard when the majority of your friends are based on twitter and you don’t want to feel more cut off than you already do.

It’s half term and we don’t have any major plans; go to the park, bake cakes, make crafts, watch telly, be excellent to one another. I’m trying not to stress, I’m trying not to let my anxiety personally attack me. I’m trying not to hit full burn out again. But I’m not well. I’m ok but I’m not well. I just need a regular afternoon off, a spa day, time with friends, time where my brain can switch off from everything and time to love and laugh again. Is that too much to ask? 

Mental Health: Burning out and fighting back

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five years ago I was in a horrible place, physically and mentally I was broken. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get me back to the pretty good place I find myself in today. It was a long and at times painful road. The thing that really helped me back to wellness was talking positively to myself; or rather talking to myself with a more positive voice.

I have always talked about myself negatively. I have a negative voice in my head which tells me how terrible I am, how ugly I am and how useless my life is. My negative internal voice has always had a terrible impact on my self-esteem. I don’t think the negative voice will ever really go away, but when it pipes up, I make a point of trying to find some positive things to affirm myself with.

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five years ago when I was in that dark dark place, a friend sat me down and gave me a talking to. I needed to start digging myself out of the dark hole I was in. Every morning I would text them a positive thing about me. Some days it was really hard to find a good thing to say about myself, some days were easier than others.

Each time I sent a positive text to my friend I also copied it into the notes on my phone. When I needed some positive affirmation I could look back and remember good things, good times and the days when I was stronger, better, happier and know that more of those good days were ahead of me.

I no longer send those positive texts and I don’t list the good things each day. There are times when I can feel my mood dipping; my anxiety rising and I know I need to put my positivity pants on again and I make a list. I list the good things I am grateful for. I list the good things about me and my life and I try to balance every negative thing my internal voice throws at me with something good, something better, something incredibly positive about me.

It’s not an easy habit to get into, but if you struggle with your own negative voice then getting into the habit of finding something nice about yourself every morning and writing it down can help you focus a little on the positives when everything may seem quite negative.

It helped me to have someone to text my affirmation to; someone who would come back to me and say I can do better, or that’s not positive enough. It helped me to have someone to be accountable to.

It’s not a magic bullet which will cure depression, anxiety or low self-esteem. Talking positively to yourself is a tool in your armory which can help and did help me. I really do credit this daily habit I kept up for almost a year for helping to drag me out of the absolute depths of my depression.

I’ve looked back at my talking positively list. Here are a few of my positive thoughts and affirmations from that time… 

  • I know I can and will survive what life throws at me.
  • Overthinking and dwelling is bad. I can stop it and I will.
  • I am so lucky to be as loved as I am.
  • It’s a beautiful day and full of possibilities.
  • I can make good things happen to myself.
  • There is nothing to panic about. Everything is ok.
  • People can’t hurt me unless I let them.

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

28 Self Care habits to stop anxiety in its tracks

Having an anxiety disorder I try to manage it myself. I personally don’t like myself on medication, but I absolutely don’t judge anyone who benefits from it. Different strokes for different folks and all that. What I am very keen on is self care.

I’ve had a lot of therapy and one common thing which has come up is that I understand myself, my problems and my triggers really, really well, which is great when it comes to managing myself more effectively. Understanding and recognising when things are going to start to slide is a big help, and once they do I have a whole raft of self care tricks up my sleeve. They don’t always work, but nine times out of ten I can head an episode of anxiety off at the pass these days.

There are five recognised areas of self care, these are –
  • Physical – sleep, food, exercise, medication etc
  • Spiritual – meditation, prayer, forgiveness
  • Lifestyle – routine, relaxation, time in nature, setting goals
  • People support – family, friends, therapist, church, support group
  • Emotional self care – positive thoughts, writing it out, dealing with and processing emotions such as grief.

28 Self Care habits which can stop anxiety in its tracks

28 Self Care habits to stop anxiety in its tracks

Ask someone for help. People you love will almost always want to help you, or at least hold your hand a little.

Bake something from scratch that will make you focus on the process of baking. Most baking or cooking from scratch is process driven and needs a little concentration and consideration, it’ll occupy and distract you and you’ll have a cake to eat and share afterwards.

Be in nature, go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air and gentle exercise. Try to find beautiful things to admire, like blossom on the trees, small flowers or fluffy clouds in the blue sky. Take notice of things.

Buy some flowers. Treat yourself to a bunch of your favourite blooms. They don’t have to be expensive. Right now I have a very cheery bunch of daffodils in a jug which smell fantastic and brighten up my home.

Cuddle a human. If you have a human to cuddle, a partner, a child, a parent, a friend, cuddling them can help soothe you. A therapist once told me if you hug someone and your heart is pressed against theirs, the hug has extra love and soothing power. I’ve tried it and I think she might have been right. If you can’t find a human, a cat or dog will be just as good.

Declutter. This has two benefits, you get a tidy house and the act of physically doing something and focusing on the task is great. My anxiety means that over the last few months, my drawers and cupboards have had a lot of attention and it’s quite pleasing to live with some order and no chaos.

Do something you’ve been putting off – grasp the nettle. Sometimes my anxiety is around something I need to do that causes me anxiety. It might be replying to an email or making a phone call, or just tackling something I don’t know how or where to start. Just finding the nerve to just do it can take the anxiety away.

Gardening – getting out in the fresh air is almost always good, digging, planting and creating a nice spot for you to sit in the garden with a cup of tea is never a waste of time.

Get crafting. This is something you can do at home. During a very bad spell a few years ago I took up cross stitch which was great, it really focused me on something other than the inside of my head. I’ve now joined a monthly craft club and sitting for a few hours and working on creating something new gives me one evening a month which I know will be anxiety free.

Go out with friends. Anxiety can make you feel really isolated and alone. Meeting friends for a quick coffee, or going for a night out will help to remind you of the good people around you. Surround yourself with good people if you can, they can make such a difference to you.

Go to bed early. Insomnia, poor sleep patterns and anxiety go hand in hand. Sometimes when I’m anxious I won’t sleep a wink for days. Sometimes all I want to do is sleep. If you can sleep, then an early night and stocking up on a bit of precious rest can help.

28 Self Care habits which can stop anxiety in its tracks

Go to the seaside. I find being near water very restful. I live by the river, so a walk by the river can help soothe me, a lake is good too, but a walk on the beach, even a blowy wintery beach really calms the mind.

Have a bubble bath. Wind down with a warm bubble bath, light candles and create a restful atmosphere. Close your eyes and relax, or take a good book in with you to keep you company.

Listen to music. Music for most people has the ability to lift moods and put a spring in your step. I find some music empowering, some comforting, some makes me happy and some makes me sad. Make a playlist of your favourite songs and listen to them when you need a mood lift.

Make a plan. Having something to look forward to, be it something big like a holiday, or something small like a night out with friends, can give my chaotic mind something to focus on. Having something I really want to do on the horizon can give me something to focus on and aim for.

Meditate. Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, all of that can help you clear your mind and give you some respite from the constant chatter of anxiety. Look on YouTube, download an app or join a class. There will be something out there that will suit you and help you find a bit of inner calm.

Mindful colouring can be great for adults. Mindful colouring books and magazines are widely available and when my mind is really racing, sitting down for an hour and focusing on colouring in can take my anxiety down a notch or two.

Pamper yourself. Give yourself a manicure, pop on a face mask or book yourself in to a salon for a treatment. It’s easy to neglect yourself, especially if you’re feeling negative about yourself. Giving yourself a little pamper can make you feel a bit brighter about things. If I’m down I will dye my hair a cheery colour and it makes me feel a bit less grey and dowdy.

Remove toxic relationships/people from your life. If someone is having a negative impact on you and your life, then you need to start taking steps to remove them from your life, or minimise contact with them. These people are often the trigger for anxiety and removing the trigger can make a huge difference to your long-term mental health.

Say no. If you find yourself saying yes to people or things because you don’t want to let people down or disappoint them, but really you’d much rather say no. Maybe you need to look at why you’re saying yes and what you are getting out of the situation. Maybe it’s ok for you to say no to a few things. It really is ok for you to put yourself first sometimes.

Sing. You don’t have to get on stage and sing, you can sing in the shower, or in a choir, or at church or a concert. Sing along to your favourite songs, let yourself go and sing, sing, sing. You’ll feel better for belting out a tune.

Change your routine. If you can shake up your routine a bit, do. Walk a different route to work. Do something different during your lunch break. Take an afternoon off and go to a gallery, walk in the park. Find something you’d not normally watch on TV that someone has recommended and give it a try. Step out from what you’d normally do and try something a bit different.

Take a social media break / digital detox. I find at times social media can be a bit overwhelming. If it’s not the contact messages, it’s checking likes, it’s feeling bad about the number of likes, and it’s comparing myself to other people and feeling inadequate. Stepping away for a day, a week or forever can be a really healthy thing to do. Sometimes when it all gets too much I delete the apps on my phone rather than deleting the account. That way I can access things if I want to, but they’re not there on my phone, throwing up notifications and vying for my attention. Stepping away for a few days can help to refocus me on the important things in my life and just gives me space.

How to keep track of your Social Media Followers

Turn off your phone. Being available 24 hours a day is all very well and good, but there are certain times when the phone needs to be turned off or put away. Family mealtimes are a time to focus on each other. I try not to use my phone on the school run, so I can fully focus on my son and what he has to say. Turn it off an hour or so before bed and give yourself time to disconnect before bed. Plus it’ll help you wind down for sleep too!

Watch TV or a film. Turning you mind off and watching something that really interests you for a few hours is great self care. Watching a favourite film can be as comforting as putting on an old pair of slippers. Think about what your favourite film is, which film always makes you feel warm and fuzzy, or helps you process feelings of anger. Which film puts you in your happy place? Dig out the DVD, grab some popcorn and treat yourself.

Wear comfortable comforting clothes. I have some clothes in my wardrobe which make me feel better for wearing them; an especially snuggly cardigan, a nice pair of pyjamas or a special jumper. Equally, I have clothes I wear when I need to feel confident. Clothes maketh the man (or woman), so if you need to, dig out your snuggly cardigan, or your uber-confident jacket and put them on.

Write a letter to someone. My postman mostly delivers bank statements and bills. Last year, fed up with the number of brown envelopes on my doormat, I asked if any of my Twitter followers wanted me to write them a good old-fashioned letter. Five people said they’d like that very much; so I sat down and wrote five chatty letters and popped them in the post. They were thrilled and I was equally thrilled when they wrote back. It was a lovely feeling to correspond with someone, like the good old days. What was lovely was to sit down and think of lots of nice, happy, chatty things to talk about it my letters. It helped me focus on the good and the positive. Having a pen-pal is a wonderful thing.

Tell people what they mean to you. I’m a lover. I’m always telling people what they mean to me. Friends and family get told I love them all the time. People who help me get thanked and told how much they’ve made my life easier. It’s not fake, it’s genuinely meant. Sometimes I feel like no one cares about me or appreciates what I do, so leading by example, I tell people what they mean to me. Someone has to start spreading the love, why not let that start with you?

Do you have any self care habits which help you?

28 Self Care habits which can stop anxiety in its tracks

A weird thing happened in the park today

Today I met some friends and their kids in the park for a picnic. It’s half term here and we wanted to try encourage the kids to run some off their excess energy. I had a lovely time, we all had a lovely time.

After a couple of hours we were ready for a coffee, so we ambled over to the cafe in the park and sat outside and watched the kids playing. We were chatting and one of my friends pointed at a woman in the distance and waved. She came over and said hello, we were introduced to each other and she recognised me. She reads my blog! (Hello Sarah *waves*). It’s weird to be recognised.

It’s weird being recognised. I’m not famous, or special, or especially gifted in any particular way. But when I write blog posts, I know people will read them, but I don’t imagine they will. Sometimes hundreds or thousands of people will read the words I write, these words I write, but when I sit at my laptop and write about my thoughts or feelings, or my struggle with my anxiety, I don’t imagine for one single second someone will actually read it or relate to it. But they do. 

Sometimes when I’m pouring my thoughts and feelings out onto my keyboard, someone will read my words and relate to them. Knowing that you are not the only one having these thoughts and feelings can actually really help. I’m not actually helping anyone, I don’t have a cure or a magic bullet to make anyone feel better about themselves, least of all me, but not being alone in feeling anxious or depressed and not feeling so alone can be some comfort. 

I don’t write about my mental health because I’m attention seeking. I don’t do it for clicks or to win awards (because I’ve not won any for a start). I don’t do it so people will pat me on the head and say there there. I write about my mental health because it gets it out of my head and articulating my thoughts and feelings makes me feel better inside.

When I started blogging, about 80% of what I wrote about was awful dirge about the spiralling mess my life was in. That percentage has thankfully dropped and my blog posts about my mental health hopefully read less like a girl falling into an abyss, but a woman who is more in control of things and able to mostly nip things in the bud before worrying things happen. And I thank my blog for that, for the most part anyway.

I guess what I’m wittering on about in my round-about kind of way is talk. There’s no shame in having anxiety or depression, or whatever. Find someone to talk to, find an outlet for all the swirling thoughts in your head and I promise once you open up in whatever way suits you best, you will start to decode the things inside your head. You will figure out your triggers and the things to do and the things to avoid. You will be better, not cured but better.

Things won’t always be as dark as they can be. Talk about it, open up, write a blog. Who knows, you might even get to be as not-famous as me one day.

A weird thing happened today in the park thoughts and feelings

If you’re interested in reading more posts about Mental Health and general thoughts and feelings on the matter, my blog posts can be found here.

Mental Health Update: I’d rather be happy than normal

People keep saying to me “look at all you’ve been through, look at all you’ve survived, you’re stronger than most”. But I don’t feel strong or stronger than the average person. I just feel human. I don’t think I’ve really gone through more things than the average person does in their life, maybe my bad things have all been squished together into a shorter timeframe. I’d like to think so, if that’s what’s happened, the next few years should be fantastically carefree. But I doubt it.

I’ve spent this evening reading back through old blog posts. Reading the thoughts and feelings I had in 2013/14 when I was really struggling with my mental health and anxiety. To this day I’ve no real idea how I didn’t do myself a serious mischief, but I had good friends who kept me in line as best they could. Without my friends I would have been a complete disaster.

Looking back has given me the chance to reflect on how far I’ve come and how incredibly stable I am these days. I’m quite a bit more boring too, but I think a bit of boring suits me right now.

I’ve always enjoyed going out and painting the town red, but after my Dad died in June I had a word with myself and for the sake of my sanity I decided to focus on my family more and not go out as much, after all, they were grieving just as much as I was. It’s a tactic which has paid off, we are all closer, good things are happening and home feels like a great place to be right now.

I’ve been trying to be an uber-mum and a wonder-wife. Importantly, I’ve been trying to be kinder to myself. I’ve had spa weekends with friends, the occasional night out, a wonderful weekend away with my husband. I’ve had a trip to River Cottage, I’ve taken the boy on some magical adventures and I’ve just done things which make my heart glad. I have plans for more things which will make me and my family happy too.

For years my life has been without balance. There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance and I’ve had it wrong all along. Before Ben came along I worked hard and played hard. Once he arrived I began to struggle to be the girl who loved work, enjoyed going out, to be the wife and the mother, the girl who could do it all. It quickly became apparent that I couldn’t do it all and that I was human after all. Fate intervened and the balance shifted, but I still didn’t have it right.

To be the best me I can be I need to up my mum game. I need to be a better, more supportive wife. I need not to work as hard. I need long walks in the fresh air and decent coffee. I need laughter and love. I need my friends and I need to spend more time doing the things that make me happy, rather than the things I’ve felt I needed to do just to get by. I think focussing on being happy rather than my to do list will eventually force the balance to shift.

It’s good to look back sometimes, to see the person I was and to compare and contrast with the Jane who is sitting here today. I am different. I’m stronger, maybe a little jaded and frayed around the edges. But I’m so proud of myself for pulling myself out of the mire and for just putting one foot in front of the other at a time when that felt almost impossible.

It would’ve been so easy to throw in the towel. I’m glad I didn’t because where I am today is so far beyond how I was back then. I’m no stronger than anyone else, I’m no more resilient. I’m just human and we are born to survive.

Mental Health Update: I'd rather be happy than normal - stronger

Anxiety spiral. Make it stop.

I feel like a bit of a fraud. There are people around me with real problems making a better fist of this life than me. Yes, ok so I got dealt a bad hand, but life could be a helluva lot worse and I feel like I’m full of first world problems and petty rubbish.

Right now I’m feeling overwhelmed by life. Struggling to cling onto the safety raft, my fingers keep slipping and I keep floating away before someone grabs me and pulls me back. Drowning, I feel like I’m drowning. I’ve felt like this for a couple of weeks, I did think that it was hormonal, but I don’t think it is, not entirely. I did think it was because I’d had a big drink one night, and maybe that didn’t help, because it does negatively affect my mood. I just think I’m overwhelmed and instead of methodically working my way through everything, my brain has just thrown me into the anxiety deep end with a dodgy floatation device.

Here I am, struggling to focus, struggling to breathe, my mind racing and racing and racing. There are real people with real problems and I can’t breathe and I feel so selfish. Anxiety makes you selfish though. It makes you want to scream out and stamp your feet, it overwhelms you and takes over everything you think and do. I’m in another anxiety spiral and I’m tumbling and tumbling through it all. Trapped in the rip tide and I can’t escape it.

The self care kicks in. Pills for sleep. Pills for pain. Caffeine to wake me up. Go for a walk. Walk, keep walking, breathe the fresh air, walk, breathe, walk, repeat until calmer. Do something nice, hug the small boy, laugh together, watch the stars in the sky. Remember how small you are in the universe and how big and important you are to some people. Walk, breathe, walk, love. Be loved. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until calm.

Repeat until calm. Repeat until calm.

Repeat.

Anxiety spiral

Healing, happiness and the beauty of my recovery

I was sat in the autumn sunshine at the weekend. I was feeling happy. It’s a rare feeling for me, any happy I have usually has a small undercurrent of my ever present anxiety running through it. But the sun was shining, I had a pint in my hand, was in great company and I felt relaxed and happy. Carefree almost.

I sipped my drink as I listened to my companions chatting away, it was warm and I was wearing a t-shirt. I’m not so self conscious of my scars these days, they’re part of me and my history and whilst I regret one or two of them, I don’t hate them so much.

The sun lit up the silvery lines of my scars and made them shimmer slightly in the bright light. For a moment I ran my hand across them, trying to hide them or rub them out so the others wouldn’t see, but I can’t erase them, so I paused and made a conscious choice to admire their beauty rather than be ashamed of them. I looked at the shimmering silver on my arms, like rivulets of precious metal running over my flesh and I was reminded of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum. It literally means “golden joinery”. It’s a beautiful thing and rather plain and ordinary bowls and dishes become breathtaking and rather astonishing works of art when they are repaired in this way. I am Kintsugi. I am an ordinary thing made beautiful by my scars; the rivulets my of scars in shades of silver and platinum show the world my recovery. They tell everyone how I am healed and that I am stronger because of these shimmering silver lines, not in spite of them.

I am Kintsugi. I am beautiful.

healing

101 reasons why I’m anxious

Ah anxiety my old friend. You come, you go, I might not see you for a week or two, then suddenly you’re back, waving at me from afar, moving closer, your shadow looming over me and across my life. But why? Why won’t you leave me alone?

Tonight anxiety is casting her ugly shadow again and I don’t know why. I always figured if I knew why then I could make it stop, at least for now. So my brain runs through all the likely and unlikely reasons for my anxiety, so here goes. I might not get anywhere near 101 reasons why I’m anxious, but we’ll see…

  1. Is my son ok?
  2. Is he developing properly?
  3. Has he settled into school ok?
  4. Am I a good enough mum?
  5. I’m lonely
  6. I’m tired
  7. I work too hard
  8. I don’t work hard enough
  9. I can’t pay a bill
  10. Are things ok with my husband?
  11. Is my house about to fall down?
  12. Worry about friends
  13. Worry about my health
  14. Worry about my pain levels
  15. Worry about dying and leaving my son alone
  16. Worry about my family
  17. Is my Dad ok?
  18. I’m tired
  19. Am I working hard enough?
  20. I can’t afford my prescriptions
  21. I’m lonely
  22. I miss my friends
  23. I want to go out for a drink
  24. If I go out for a drink am I an alcoholic?
  25. Is my work good enough?
  26. I’m stupid
  27. Why am I stupid? I used to be so sharp
  28. Terrorism
  29. The world
  30. Dying children and heartbroken parents
  31. Do I live in a bubble?
  32. Do I care that I live in a bubble?
  33. Do I think too much?
  34. Do I think enough?
  35. What can I do?
  36. What can anyone do?
  37. Are we all going to die?
  38. Are we all going to die alone?
  39. Am I going to die alone?
  40. Yes.
  41. I’m going to die
  42. Will it hurt?
  43. Everything hurts anyway
  44. Everything hurts
  45. I’m hungry
  46. I’m hungry and there’s nothing to eat in the house
  47. What can my son have for breakfast?
  48. Rivita.
  49. My son will hate me
  50. He hates me anyway
  51. He’s not the only one, lots of people hate me
  52. I am worthless
  53. I am ugly
  54. I am useless
  55. I have let my son down
  56. I’m stuck here
  57. I’m lonely
  58. I’ve got no one to talk to
  59. Why do I feel empty?
  60. Am I dead inside?
  61. How would I know if I were dead inside?
  62. Why do I care about people who don’t care about me?
  63. Will I always be anxious?
  64. I’m feeling anxious because I don’t know why I’m anxious
  65. Why am I anxious?
  66. Remember that dark place? Lets not go back there
  67. Please don’t get like that again
  68. Oh god, the thought of it is terrifying
  69. Panic attack!
  70. Why can’t I breathe?
  71. Gah. I wish I had someone to talk to about all this.
  72. Hey did you know I have an anxiety disorder?
  73. You want me to stop banging on about it?
  74. Me too. Stuck record and all that
  75. *texts friend* why won’t they reply?
  76. *sends another text* WHY WON’T THEY REPLY?
  77. They hate me. I don’t blame them
  78. I’m worthless
  79. I’m ugly
  80. I’m useless
  81. I’m always asking for help
  82. They’re bored of me
  83. I’m boring
  84. I hate myself
  85. Sorry I’m boring
  86. *texts friend* sorry for pestering
  87. Hates self for texting about pestering because it is actually pestering
  88. I’m the worst person
  89. Why am I the worst person?
  90. I hate myself
  91. Why can’t I breathe?
  92. Why am I so anxious?
  93. Why can’t I just calm the hell down?
  94. Why doesn’t anyone love meeee?
  95. What have I done wrong?
  96. Why am I so hateful?
  97. My life is basically an Alanis Morissette album
  98. Oh god my life is an Alanis Morissette album
  99. I’m so lonely. Isn’t it ironic. Don’t you think?
  100. Agh I’ve got that as an earworm now?
  101. So THAT’S why I’m anxious. Crap.

Nope. Still anxious!

101 reasons why I'm anxious

Little girl lost – another anxiety attack

I used to have a general feeling that my mood, my mental health went in cycles, often dominated by the extremes of hormones rushing through my body each month. To some extent I think that’s true. It became normal for my mood to dip, for anxiety to pulse through my veins, for wild swings of rage and despair to appear and to feel the unrelenting panic of an anxiety attack. I never really mentioned this to my GP for fear they’d put me on the pill, something I’d like to avoid at all costs thank you very much.

Sometimes I found that I just was depressed or full of anxiety. Sometimes there was a trigger; maybe a comment or action by someone towards me. Something that would just edge me closer to falling into the black hole of my mental health. Swirling. Spinning. All consuming.

Sometimes there was nothing. No rational explanation for why everything was black.

I woke up yesterday and everything was black.

What I want to do is go to bed and cry it out. What I want to do is be held tight while the darkness seeps from my body, the little girl inside me wants to stop being frightened and fearful and anxious. She wants daddy to make the demons go away and to kiss it better. But I’m 38 and I’ve been standing on my own two feet for twenty years, so my two feet need to find their way out of this.

What I want to do is go to the pub and to drown the noise with drink. I want to sit and talk through the blackness with someone who knows and to laugh a little, cry a bit and go home with a grey heart, not a black one. But I can’t do that.

What I want and what will happen are two different things. It’s the school holidays, so I go to a soft play centre, the worst place imaginable if you’ve got a head full of negative noise and a heart as heavy as lead. So I force myself to go for a walk with the boy, who runs ahead laughing and chatting his head off about fire engines and dogs, and I try and focus on that, because it makes a small dark corner of my black heart glad. I make myself engage with people, because my silence and introspection achieve nothing but more darkness.

I do what I can to force myself into normal patterns of behaviour, edging slightly further back from the edge of darkness and negativity with each positive action.

But what I need, what the little girl inside me really needs, is a cuddle from my daddy to soothe the anxiety, and for him to shoo the dark demons away.

PS. I am often reminded of the artist in The Fast Show whenever I get like this, strangely watching a clip or two on YouTube can often brighten my mood. Top tips for depressives with a sense of humour there.

Art Therapy for Adults – Calm Colour Create Magazine

Adult colouring books have been a bit of a thing for a little while now and  there is a part of me which really likes the idea of sitting down and doing a bit of colouring. I was sent a copy of Calm Colour Create Magazine so I could see if colouring in was for me.

Calm Colour Create Magazine

I have anxiety disorder and when I’m in the middle of it all and I can’t find a peaceful place in my head, the thought of focussing on some colouring in seems like a really good idea. It’s not a new idea, it’s a form of art therapy and something encouraged by mental health professionals. The great thing about adult colouring books is that you don’t need any artistic skills other than the ability to hold a pencil.

Calm Colour Create Magazine

Rather than the simplistic designs you would normally find in a kids colouring book, the adult designs in Calm Colour Create Magazine are quite beautiful, featuring intricate patterns. The first issue of Calm Colour Create Magazine featured sophisticated ocean themed patterns and illustrations, and it came with a packet of colouring pencils, though I’m tempted to delve into our craft box and dig out a more extensive selection of colours.

After a tiring, stressful few days I took myself off to the quiet sanctuary of my bedroom to watch the Great British Bake Off and wind my mind down a little. I spent a restful hour colouring in and not thinking about the thousand things that have been on my mind recently. Doing some colouring in helped me switch off from some negative thoughts, focus on the task in hand and wound me down nicely in time for bed.

Calm Colour Create Magazine

Calm Colour Create Magazine has 64 pages of black and white patterns and illustrations to colour in, including intricate mandalas and tangles. Each issue has a different theme, next month is florals. There’s a lot of colouring in in each magazine, so this one will last me a while, it’s handy to have something to focus on and distract me when my anxiety peaks.

Calm Colour Create Magazine is widely available, priced at £4.99 and definitely worth a look at if you’re interested in adult colouring or art therapy.

Note: I was sent a copy of Calm Colour Create Magazine free of charge for review purposes, all images and opinions are my own.