I’m starting to feel better! If you had told me three days ago I’d feel like I do today I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s amazing how quickly and deeply the darkness can engulf you. It almost feels like it was somebody else. My anxiety is back under control and I didn’t slip into depression. While I don’t feel 100% and I’m still very tired but the main thing is I am feeling better. This is the quickest I have ever bounced back and I couldn’t feel any more proud.
Now there is no magical spell for how I made this happen (I wish) however there are 4 things that I did do differently this time that I believe got me out of this funk:
1. I LISTENED TO MY BODY.
On Saturday, I slept. Hard. I didn’t do very much at all. I cried when I needed to. I had a long bath and I lit a lot of candles. I stayed home to watch about 10 episodes of the Crown in my snuggliest clothes. Anxiety drains me and my body and mind needed to rest as a result. My anxiety and depression are so interlinked that I have to be super careful of looking out for whether it is anxious energy or I’m actually creeping towards depression.
Then on Sunday morning, I woke up feeling a little erratic. I was full of anxious energy and something in my head just told me I needed to exercise. My body was crying out for some physical activity to try and process the energy that had built up.
So I listened to the little voice and I went to the gym. I didn’t overthink it, I just got up and went. And I had an amazing work out. The extremes couldn’t be further apart but I just went with it and with what my body was needing.
2. I WROTE MY GRATITUDE LISTS.
It was short and ramble-y but I mustered what gratitude I could find. I just wrote it on the notes on my phone but even the smallest task to try and revert my negative thoughts was beneficial. Depression can sneak up on you so quickly if you don’t keep your mindset positive.
3. I GAVE MYSELF A BREAK
After the epic and unexpected anxiety attack a few days ago, I missed my best friend’s birthday party. Generally I am horribly hard on myself when these things happen. It pushes me further into feeling shit, and I end up worrying about what everybody was thinking or saying about me at the event I missed. I wondered if I would have any friends left. I wondered if I was going to end up suicidal again or in some sort of mental institution.
And then, I stopped. I just accepted that this was the current state of affairs. I sat with the feelings. I kept telling myself that those who matter, will understand and support. And those who don’t understand or support, shouldn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds like it was easy. It absolutely wasn’t.
But for the first time I actually felt a shift in my shame. It didn’t feel so heavy, which lead me to my next move…
4. I REACHED OUT.
I have never done this before. Normally, I go into isolation mode when my anxiety and depression is bad. The mixture of fear, shame, self-loathing and guilt is quite frankly not something I’d want to perpetuate by being around people.
This time though I decided to try something different. I didn’t technically ‘reach out for help’ but I contacted friends and family. I called my Grandad, and I didn’t mention anything about what had happened or how bad I felt. But listening to him talk about how he’s signed up for Facebook and ended up spending £150 on Facebook Marketplace in 5 minutes, then trying to unravel the mess he had gotten himself into with it was the most wonderful distraction.
I also text the people I felt most guilty about. The anxiety attack I had had on the Friday night prevented me from going to my best friend’s (that doesn’t even express how close I am to her!) birthday, as well as letting down another friend and frankly beautiful soul of a woman as I was meant to give her a lift home. I felt awful. SO awful.
And rather than avoid the situation, I confronted it. So I messaged and we spoke, and they instantly comforted me without pandering to me, and that was it. I felt instantly like a weight had been lifted.
To anyone who’s struggling right now, please, please believe me when I say that things will get better. This was my quickest turnaround ever but I’ve been in that dark place (and much, much darker) for months on end before.
The only way that things will get better is by you making a conscious decision to work on it. It doesn’t mean you need to ‘snap out of it’ but it means that you need to tell yourself that YOU are in charge, not the other way around. YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS. YOU ARE THE ONE LISTENING TO YOUR THOUGHTS.
Take small, manageable steps to make changes. One day at a time. I promise you things will improve and if you have more bad days in the future, each time you will find it easier and easier to handle.