Sometimes it feels like I am in a movie and i’m clinging onto a cliff edge while the ground beneath me is slipping away. As with most blockbusters I survive and get back onto safe ground. Although I just feel that I am never very far away from that threshold at all times and the potential to go over is always there.
I am not talking about suicide (not for me anyway), I am talking about the feeling of falling into poor mental health and it spiralling out of control. Where that spiral will take me is anyones guess and I spend my life making sure I dont end up there but living with that threat and fear isnt always easy.
My own struggles, which are prodemanently depression and anxiety, although having had an eating disorder in the past this is something that will always make a unwelcome appearance every now and then. My goal in life is to bring my children up well, to allow them to be filfilled in whatever they do and to respect themselves (mind and body). To do so I have to have the same goals. This is tricky when you feel like you are standing on a precipice of mental illness.
Recently I have been struggling more than normal. To visualise it I would say I am probably only a few feet away from that cliff edge where as at a stable time I am comfortably a few metres back.
A mixture of financial stresses, not being able to find work, having been physically unwell and a few family issues have my mental health take a turn for the worst. When it does it very to see a way back, I always say it feel like a fog decending on me.
What we must try and keep in mind is that we can claw it back, we can and will feel better again, but it doesnt have to get to breaking point to do so. For myself I keep a close eye on signs that I am slipping deeper and closer to that edge.
To give you an example here are …
- lack of concentration
- questioning my food choices
- worrying that people dont like me (I think this all the time but normally I can rationalise my thoughts)
- worrying that people are talking about me (same as previous)
- questioning myself about normal daily tasks
- social withdrawal
- over talking
- anxious more often than not
- feeling like I have put on weight when I weigh the same
I cant stop these “things” from happening and I also can’t just give myself a talking to and then “get on with it” or just “cheer up”, but i can try and help myself. An obvious option is for me to go back to my doctor which if all these feelings carry on I will and I have already considered raising the amount of medication I take but I would like to give myself a bit of time with my present dose (I take Sertraline for anyone wondering) and a lot of self care.
What we sometimes forget is that we have to help ourselves, giving ourselves time will in the long run be far less time consuming that fixing a broken version of yourself.
But where do we start?
It is all about small steps and the very first thing I do is write two lists.
The first one is a long term list (say within the next month), and the second is a daily list.
Long Term List
- Do a face mask
- Give yourself a manicure
- Finish your book
- Make nativity costume
- Clean out kitchen cupboards
- Sort through the girls clothes
- Organise class christmas party
- Wash hair
- Put on make up
- Take anti depressant
- Stick a wash on
- Empty dishwasher
- Clean kitchen
- Mop floor
- 5 minutes meditation
- 10 minutes yoga
- Walk dogs
- Vacuum lounge
- Put away ironing
- Call to book hall for party
- Pack girls bags to go to their Dads
- Go through calendar with christmas dates
- Apply for 5 jobs
- Finish Blog
- Pick up girls
- Go to shop
- Cook dinner
The point of having two is that its great for your own wellbeing to get some instant gains, looking after yourself and your home will make you feel instantly better. Tick off the items once they have been done and write a new one every morning.
Some of you will think that having to put wash hair on a list is ridiculous but I am telling you we all need to remember to give ourselves a few moments. Being a mum at home I sometimes think it doesnt matter what I look like as I “don’t have a proper job”… its not true, I do have a job and I do have to look after myself. Sure wear a tracksuit to school but do so with clean hair and a bit of mascara.
Three times a week on my daily list I also add a run but I have made an effort everyday to meditate using an app plus a simple yoga routine I have found on youtube. Anyone can do it and I am not sure I am doing it correctly but its about feeling calm even if its just for a short preiod.
The long term list is because we all know that with a busy life we have to grab moments, so finishing a book could take a while but I promise you it will help with your concentraion plus means you are not on your mobile which is a huge contributer in poor mental health today.
So this is my current plan, I am unsure it will be the end of this chapter and maybe I will need more medication but c’est la vie, at least I am trying. No negatives can come of it and thats all we can do. Hopefully one day I will complete a daily list but for now I will just focus on the ticks.