A little light ……

Depression-

Majority of us will have experienced this in some form, whether its having it yourself, knowing someone who’s had it, or feel you have dipped your toe into it from time to time but never fully slipped.

I wanted to fill this blog full of positive messages and positive feelings, as I want others to feel good when they read it and motivated to take care of themselves when facing challenges.  But I am also aware of how patronising it is to tell someone who is going through depression to “think positive”, “happiness is there for you” or “appreciate what you have.”  As when you are in that place, you do want to think positive, you do appreciate those around you, but you are just living in your head so much, that you may not show it, and you would do anything to feel happy again.  But that murky, heavy cloud just feels like its over powering and will never lift.   It’s a feeling of despair and darkness, that if you are going through this right now….I’m so sorry you are there…but I promise you will see some light again.

I remember not knowing I had depression, I would feel quite an angry person and agitated over the smallest of things.  I would be up and down throughout the day, and feel like everything was far too difficult, whilst battling constant thoughts of self doubt.  But then I could go out with my friends, get drunk, and laugh, so I couldn’t be depressed if I could do that?!   Well I could.  It started as what I called “walking depression”, I went to work, met friends, faked smiles, but I didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t sure why.   I couldn’t shift the flat feeling and that I saw gloom everywhere,  not all day, but in parts throughout.  I remember being at work and saying to a colleague, “I need to do something fun, something big, as I just don’t feel anything ” And nope,  I still didn’t know then the reason I was so numb.  That was when I went on to do everything BIG and reckless, to feel something, which obviously ended in despair and a deeper depression. NOW I knew I had depression !!

I remember reading my messages on our friends group chat, Sam was talking about a new lamp she really wanted for her newly decorated living room, Fran mentioned a new top she had seen in Top shop she was dying to buy.  And I thought, Seriously?  How can these people care about a bloody lamp, or get any pleasure from buying a new top.  I couldn’t care less about a lamp or understand how this was making them feel anything?  I felt like a zombie.

But I did remember feeling joy over those small things once, I used to enjoy Wednesdays, Wednesday was magazine day,  I’d treat myself to a new magazine, a chocolate bar and some flowers for my home. A little ritual that brought me some joy on my lunch break.  I remember my sister mentioning she had noticed that, I hadn’t done this in some time. And come to think of it, she was right.   It had been five months.   I had stopped doing the little things, as I had been living in my head, and I felt that those small things no longer brought me any joy.

Id say it took over a year to fight depression away, and god I fought it, I tried mindfulness, exercise, therapy, self help books, happy diaries, medication ….name it I did it. I wanted to feel normal again.

Anyone going through depression for the first time wondering what the hell your going to do, well your going to do great… your going to win…and your going to feel joy again….just take all the small steps, being kind to yourself, still pushing yourself to do those small things and you’ll get there. And then one day those small things, that once brought you joy, will again.

Our generation, being more open about mental health and being more aware, is massive. It means were not alone, and now when I feel it lurking, I can nip it in the bud before it takes over that far again.   I recognise it now. I know what it is. And I know its not who I am, but something I suffer from.

Saying that, I’m a realist and with surgery looming, I know it can come back at any time, but next time, I’ll be ready, I have the tools and I’ll be much more prepared.

But for now, Its Wednesday…. its magazine day xx

Lets Start as we mean to go on…..

The last week or so id say iv been fine, not great, but pretty good, but if you asked my boyfriend I doubt he would describe me as a glowing positive light to be around.   I can tell when i’m starting to feel anxious, as cushions out of place can overly bug me, my boyfriends shoes being in the wrong place, makes me consider moving in with our next door neighbour, and despite knowing that the kitchen table doesn’t need cleaning again, I will, for the third time that day.   See I had overwhelmed myself with thoughts, worries and tasks that I needed to do, so it all took over a tad. 

Luckily I recognise it, so I paused, re focused and told myself to slow down, and take care of myself.   So apart from cleaning the house again, I did a few other things to re centre;

De-cluttered– Its amazing what throwing out old items, bagging up clothes for charity shops, and throwing away that box you said would be used for make up but never was, can do for the mind. 

Unplugged – I turned off my phone, turned off the TV and started a new book.  And enjoyed it.

Self Care Box- I made myself a self care box- I know the trigger for my anxiety was the amount of things I needed to do before surgery in the next couple of weeks, and of course the dread of having my leg sawn in half- as it doesn’t sound much fun.  So I made myself a box to come home to, everyone should have one. Whether its physical or mental challenges, our soul needs it.  See it as an emergency first Aid box for your emotions. 

Here’s some Ideas to fill your box with;

  • New Pyjamas – Fresh, new pyjamas from River Island will make me feel brand new.
  • Incense, Candles & Lavender Room spray – Creating a calming space is great for the mind and soul.
  • Chocolate- Because it makes everyone happy.
  • A Journal – A note pad, journal, something to write down anything you feel. 
  • Healthy Tea– Try a soothing tea , ‘Positivitea’  with Elderflower & Blueberry. So good.
  • Bath /Shower Gel- I cant bathe after surgery, bath salts would have been my go to. Instead I bought a new sweet smelling Ted Baker wash. Smells Amazing. 
  • New fluffy socks – As they feel nice and January is bloody cold. 
  • Mindfulness Colouring in– These really calm the mind for me .
  •  A New Book – Distract the mind with a good book, Iv chosen Fearne cottons new book ‘Happy’
  •  Eye Mask and Ear Plugs – Because a good sleep makes the world of difference. 

Just doing those few things made a world of difference.   Self care is so easy, yet we all forget to take care of ourselves.  We worry more about our goals, achievements, work load, that we forget to just slow down and ask ourselves if were actually happy.

So going forward in January,  for 30 days. I challenge us all to do one thing a day to benefit, your mind, body and soul;


30 Day Self Care Challenge 

1- Go for a Long Walk.

2- Watch a documentary – I recommend the ‘ Impostor’ or ‘The Jinx’.

3- Stretch in the mornings.

4- Sit in silence, no TV, no phone, for 15 minutes before you start your day.

5-Start a new book.

6-Have a candle lit bath.

7- Book a massage or a treatment.

8- Write, draw, Paint, colour- Be creative.

9- De-clutter your home.

10- Call someone you love to check in on them.

11- Clear out your make up bag.

12- Splurge a little, treat yourself to that new top, shoes or thing you have your eye on.

13- Arrange a catch up with some friends.

14- Ask for help-Big or small, reach out to others.

15- Download a new podcast or audio book.

16- Hug a loved one, pet or a friend. 

17- Help others, carry a bag, open a door, offer your help, listen, offer advice. 

18-Put on clean new bed sheets.

19- Unplug for an hour, no phone, no TV. and just talk. 

20-  Have a lie in. Because you deserve one. 

21- Exercise, gym ,run, swim, walk, what ever you can manage. 

22- Laugh with a friend, message or call the friend who never fails to make you smile.

23- Watch a comedy- Micky Flanagan’s Stand up comedy never fails to lighten my mood. 

24- Cook a new recipe -Try something new.

25- Try a new hobby or practice your hobby you’ve been neglecting.

26- Practice Meditation 

27- Change up your home, move things around, put out new pictures, change up your space. 

28- Complete that annoying task you keep putting off.

29- Write down 10 things you are grateful for. 

30- Slow down and take some deep breaths.

Using this list see how many of these you can tick off by the end of January, and then take note of the difference you feel.

Make your ONLY goal this January be, to go from burnt out…….to balanced. xx

 

 

 

Mind Full to Mindful

A few years ago I was definitely someone who was at the mercy of my own thoughts. I felt completely out of control, I did not trust my own thoughts and nor could I control them. Stress was a big trigger for this, my mind would dart around with thoughts that I would describe as fast traffic, or a ping pong game.  Just back and forth, with no real reason, direction or conclusion.

I looked into everything I could to help just slow it all down, I even took a ‘break’ from the corporate world and worked in the country, where there was nothing but lambs, hay, landscape and views for days.  This definitely helped slow things down ( I’d recommend it).  It also led me onto looking into mindfulness, I read every book on the subject frantically searching for ways to make me feel better.

I also joined a mindfulness Group in Brighton, this consisted of group chats, meditation and mindfulness practices.  The teacher was kind, the people were sincere and you could tell we were a group of adults all looking for some peace and quiet from our own minds. We had to do exercises as a group, one which involved looking and feeling the ridges of a raison.  All fine, and I completely understood the concept behind it. But when we then had to put the raison to our ear and listen for a ‘squeak’ and no one but me could see the funny side to this, I knew my raison listening days were over. It just wasn’t for me. I didn’t return, but I took from it the great meditation practises, which I use at home when ever I feel I need it.

One thing I found that helped me, was keeping a journal, getting my thoughts out of my head and on to paper has always helped. I told myself to make a daily note only of all the positives in my day , this in time ( along with the scenic views of the country ) made me feel more present, less trapped in my head, I had more clarity and I felt much more grateful for the things around me.

A few years have passed since then and I would say I am now a much more positive, present person, but with Surgery lurking, I know I could slip.  I think during a recovery or major surgery it is very difficult to go through the challenges of recovery and feel ‘grateful’ for the pain you are enduring, but I also believe keeping a daily gratitude journal during this period, makes you focus on the things that you are grateful for, get you out of your head and also hold onto fewer negative feelings.

I am going to be using ‘Gratitude pen’s http://gratitudepen.co.uk/product/gratitude-pen-pad/ The founder of Gratitude pad survived pain and loss and although gratitude does not lessen the pain, it helped him on his healing process  . The journal also has great motivational quotes and a beautiful layout.

Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to enjoy the journey and be content with where we are. Its not easy and it wont be easy.

But its always an option. And I choose to be happy x 

Staying Positive -What makes you Happy?

Now, it goes without saying that what makes me most happy is my partner, my family and friends. So I will be listing some of the things that makes me smile, and some of the little things in life that I may tend to over look at times.  We all know that the grand things in life bring a lot of pleasure, but it really is all the little things that bring us happiness.

During a physical or mental recovery or pre-surgery date, it can be easy to lose sight of those things that made you happy.  My plan is to go into surgery in the best possible mindset I can, of course knowing I will have those days I struggle with seeing the good in anything. So I wanted to write a list of all the little things that genuinely make me feel happier, So that during my recovery, in those bleaker moments, I can refer back on this list and implement the ones I am able to do, into my day. 

I know that during depression that can be very difficult to do, as little enjoyment is found, but persevering and even ‘faking it till you make it, ‘eventually brings some light back into your days.

I think it is great when we all can be comforted by these small things, that make us happy, when we need it the most. 

So here is my list;

15 Little things that make me Happy –

1- Coming home to my kitten. ( Fur baby)

2- Clean new bedding.

3- Finding a new cute coffee shop in my area.

4- Seeing my boyfriend happy when his football team win ( But I wont be telling him that incase he makes me watch more)

5- Having a laughing fit with your best friend over something so ridiculous.

6- When you find a book that doesn’t make you want to look at your phone. 

7- Rainy Sunday evenings in with my boyfriend ( cliche but I cant deny it) 

8- When my 6 year old niece asks for me to do her hair, just like mine.

9-  Chilly Autumn walks, in Autumn clothes, in beautiful places.

10- Home Decor- When all the things I bought for my home piece together perfectly. 

11- Cinnamon- In coffee, in yoghurt, in candles. 

12- When you realise you have Monday off. 

13-  New cute Stationary.

14- Wandering down Brighton lanes, window shopping & people watching.

15- Chocolate. ANY kind. 

There is something to love in everyday no matter how small. Try making yourself a list too, to remind yourself what makes you happy.  x