Throughout September I like to focus on mental health – living with different mental health issues, parenting with mental health, raising awareness of mental health.
Mental health is far from simple – ranging from severe illness such as bipolar to more day-to-day conditions such as depression, anxiety and panic, which are no less crippling and challenging.
While I am pretty open about living with my mental health stuff, I keep a lot of it to myself to deal with on my own. I am a 45 year old mum of three, a professional woman with responsibilities and a business, which I have built myself. It never affects my work but I sometimes need time to switch off and regroup when I am at home because I get tired.
I am lucky, most of the time I am well and happy and I have been able build security into my life so I feel safe. I don’t take medication but I do use my breathing a lot when I need to keep calm. My anxiety and depression is triggered by stress and doing too much, by not having my time and my feelings considered by others. And I am not alone in being like this.
I manage anxiety by…
- not taking on too much (most of the time)
- giving myself the chance to rest when I need it
- doing what feels comfortable
- learning to saying no
- eating well
- keeping a gratitude diary
- listening to music
I now need to make some additions…
- not getting drunk
I don’t get proper drunk very often but, when I do, I get anxious and panicky. Thankfully my favourite drinks – gin and white wine – are ok for a glass or two. And now I tend to make it more T than G and I have ice and/or soda in the white wine.
- getting out into nature
It shouldn’t be that hard but I know getting in the middle of nowhere makes such a huge difference to my mood.
Anxiety is horrible, it is a total bastard. I am at a point where I can control it, I can breathe through it, I can wait for it to pass or I just work through it until it goes away. I still push myself to do things I am not comfortable with – I fly, I travel, I go out, I talk to strangers! My fear is that it will get worse and that it will control me so I need to keep managing it, to keep building my coping mechanisms and to know how to prevent poking it.
I passionately believe that keeping life as simple as possible helps, I’m just not that sure how to do that!
Please share your stories, they can be anonymous if you would prefer.