I’ve been quiet recently. Since my last post (a long long long time ago) I have been through an absolute emotional rollercoaster. However for the past week or so I have been reflecting on how far along my mental health journey I have come, and to say I’m proud of myself would be an understatement! It hasn’t been without its difficulties, but I have really pushed myself to make some drastic changes to the way I think and how the things around me influence my thoughts, which in turn has led me to begin my road to recovery.
The purpose of my posts are to help others experiencing any mental illness, so I felt that doing a list of tips that have worked for me over the last 5 months would also be beneficial to you guys!
(Note: These are purely based on my own methods that have worked for me. There is absolutely no evidence to say that these methods work for everyone, so please only try these out IF you believe it is the right thing for YOU).
- At the end of each week, write down on a piece of paper all of the positive things that have happened to you during that week.
I know that you may be reading this thinking ‘nothing positive ever happens to me’ because that is depression, right?! I want you to just try and find something that you can put down, even if it seems such a small thing. If you really can not think of anything positive, try writing down the things you have been grateful for during that week. When you are finished, pop them in to a jar, ready to open at the end of the year or when you’re having a bad day, as a reminder of all the positive things happening to you in your life.
2. Cut out any negativity!
So this one may be pretty brutal, but in my own personal experience it has been the best thing I could have done!
Write down a list of all the things that bring any kind of negativity in to your life, and then remove them from it! Like I said, brutal. BUT, depression is causing you enough negative thoughts and feelings on its own, so why allow external factors to do this as well?? Here are some of the things I removed to give you some inspiration:
- Friendships/relationships which no longer allowed me to grow, no longer encouraged me to better myself, or on reflection were genuinely just not very good people to surround myself with for my needs at the time.
- Social media – permanently deleted Facebook because for years it had been a platform for me to see and find out things I shouldn’t have had to via that route. No Facebook = No drama.
- Alcohol – at one point I was drinking every single evening over the Christmas break (to mask feelings and because it’s acceptable at that time of year, no?!), and although it would give me a boost of confidence and feelings of elation, ultimately it would result in a big come down. I now only drink on special occasions (which has only been on 1 occasion since the new year). I feel fab for it.
3. Eat foods high in protein to help avoid the emotional binge eating.
This one isn’t for everyone, however a big part of my PND developing was my hate for my body after having OG. It’s a vicious cycle – you eat to comfort these feelings of hate inside, however over eating then causes you to gain weight. Back to the beginning of the circle we go!
Foods high in protein will keep you fuller for longer, which is great when you are one of those people who rely on food as your source of comfort and temporary happiness (GUILTY!). Every single meal I eat is packed with protein, and although it doesn’t stop me from wanting to snack all day long, it stops me from being able to snack all day long because I’m so full from my previous meal. Problem solved! (just keep them calories within the recommended daily amount).
Useful Sources: BBC Good Food for meal inspo, NHS BMI calculator (although this does not take in to consideration each person as an individual, it is useful to get an idea of how many calories you should be having in a day)
4. Be selfish.
Focus on you, do you, be you. Your happiness is far more important than anybody else’s.
- Take time out when you need to and don’t apologise! Those who truly care about you will understand. Those who don’t, refer to tip no. 2.
- Allow yourself some down time by having relaxing candle lit bubble baths or a nice long shower.
- Pamper yourself. Go get your hair done, or your nails, or what ever else you believe helps to empower you.
- Exercise – sweat out all those bad feelings and instead feel empowered!
- Find a hobby to deter your negative thoughts for a while.
- Say ‘no’ when you want to. Don’t feel forced in to something you don’t particularly want to do for the sake of sparing someone else’s feelings (hello anxiety!).
5. Talk to someone, tell someone how they make you feel, and accept other’s help.
Whether it’s with a friend, family member, professional, or even a stranger. Talk. Something that may seem so large to you can sometimes be put back in to perspective when you talk about it out loud with an outsider. Others can help you to see things at a different angle and it’s these little comments that others make that can help you to think more positively for a day or so, sometimes even longer. I know it can be hard to talk, I really do. But from my own experience, it was talking that stopped me from taking my own life when I was at my worst.
Please, if you do one thing today, ignore those stupid quotes and memes (created most likely by someone who has no history in psychology) which suggest you should withhold your emotions and feelings for the sake of your own dignity. This is not about your dignity. This is about doing what you need to in order to get something off your chest regardless of how others may perceive you because of it! Your own sanity is far more important than your dignity (which btw you absolutely will not lose by speaking up about how you feel!!).
Love, Hayley x