Those of you that suffer from anxiety and depression know how difficult it can be to come through the other side. I know that when I went through a particularly bad phase, it was as much as I could do to get out of bed, let alone function. This poem will give you an idea of what I felt like.
You wake up but still feel so tired as if you’ve had no sleep at all.
Your thoughts all muddled and fuzzy you want to curl up in a ball.
Your head feels so constricted like someone is squashing your brain
Your body has lost all momentum and your soul is crying in pain
Yet, there’s no logical reason why you want to just be on your own
To lock yourself up with your sorrow and be in that zombie like zone
You are unable to communicate though God knows, you have tried
Your inner most thoughts want to break free but your mind keeps them locked up inside.
It can be debilitating to yourself and affects all aspects of your life. Your family, friends and work colleagues try to be understanding and patient, but it ‘s hard for them, especially if you don’t want to communicate with anyone and shut them out.
Here are some of the strategies I have learned to help me cope with anxiety and depression.
The most important thing is to recognise when things are starting to become challenging and tell someone about it. I know when everything is starting to get on top of me, and I am struggling to cope, so it is at that point I make an appointment to see my doctor to try to get some help as soon as possible.
Be open and honest. I know it can be difficult for some people, as mental health issues are often brushed aside or stigmatised. It is that feeling that you won’t be believed because there are no visible signs, or worse, be told to ‘pull yourself together and snap out of it!’ If only we could.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Another tricky one, because when I am feeling depressed, I go back over everything; conversations I have had, situations I have been in and berate myself for something that I have said or done which has made me look/feel stupid or might have offended someone. It is very often not the case at all, but when you feel useless or helpless in yourself, you feel that everyone else thinks that you are too.
Try and get out into the fresh air. When I am feeling particularly bad, I just want to shut myself indoors and hide away in my little cocoon of security. The problem with this is, it is tough to get out of this rut, and in a way, it makes you feel worse. You become wrapped up in yourself, sometimes not bothering to get dressed, or having a wash. It just adds to the general feeling of worthlessness and self-disgust.
Write or start a blog. Now I know this might seem ridiculous if you don’t feel like doing much, especially if you have cut yourself off socially from everyone, but I found that this was the best way to help me get through. In fact, it was the very reason I started my blog. I found that by trying to see the funny side of things and making others laugh kind of made me feel valued in some way. Also, I made friends but did not have to physically meet up with them and therefore wasn’t shy or embarrassed. There were no awkward silences, and I could reply to messages or comments when I felt ready to do so.
Of course, it took some time to build up my blog, but I never thought anyone would read it in the first place, it was just for me to express myself in the best way I could. In the end, I met some of these wonderful bloggers sometime later at the Bloggers Bash in 2016. By then, I was much better and ready to socialize in person!
Take any help that you are offered. In the past, I have been to counselling and also have had some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Sessions which I have found helped me enormously. Yes, it was sometimes hard to physically get myself out of the house to attend these appointments, but occasionally I asked my husband to take me. I was always glad that I went as it helped me understand why I felt the way that I did, plus I was given tips to try to help myself.
Aim to achieve a little more each day. It may sound obvious, but doing things in bite-sized easy to manage chunks is so much better than hurtling headlong into forcing yourself to complete tasks then feeling resentful and burned out when you are unable to cope with the self-enforced pressure. For example one day I would get up, have a bath and hair wash, the next I might do some washing up or walk to the shop as well,
Don’t Rush it. As I mentioned above, it is much better to make sure you are feeling well before you try jumping back into everything in full-on mode. I once made the mistake of returning to work too early as I was worried about taking time off, but I was not quite ready, and it didn’t do me any favours. It was extra stressful as I was trying to appear my ‘usual’ self when apparently, it was obvious to others that I wasn’t myself at all.
There are no hard and fast rules of course, as we all cope with things in different ways. I have found that these strategies were crucial in helping me cope with anxiety and depression.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other ways of coping .
I have found this useful website (Mental Health. Org. UK) that offers a booklet that can be downloaded with tips to help overcome anxiety and depression. Please click the link here if you would like more information.