I've wanted to write a post on this for awhile as I feel very strongly about awareness on mental illness. Even in this day and age where mental illness is becoming far more acknowledged and diagnosed there are still a wide number of people out there who suffer and don't know the right ways to live a relatively normal life like everyone else.
I myself have suffered with depression and anxiety and have done for many years. It was only up until 2010 when I was officially diagnosed did I realise that I could do something about it. Before then I was confused and didn't understand the way I felt. I was moody and irrational and I never wanted to go out. I sabotaged relationships with people and stopped myself progressing in life. I pretty much just wanted to live in my bed and never associate with anyone. Obviously that's not the way to go and through understanding and help I've now learnt of ways to catch my "illness" early and learn to control it.
If you suffer with depression/anxiety then read on as I'm going to explain a few little things I do to keep myself happy. Maybe you'll gain something from it.
I know its a hard thing to do when you feel like your world is falling down but the best thing to do when you feel a wave of depression coming on is to look at the world a little differently. Instead of thinking of all the things you don't have or need... start to think of the things you do have. If you feel worthless or hopeless.. think of the people who care about you, your friends, your family.. even your pets! If you feel like you haven't achieved anything and your going nowhere in life then set yourself targets to progress... even if its the tiniest thing. Every little thing is a big step to over coming the way you feel. Thinking positive gives you a different outlook on life and when you think positive you start to feel positive and it'll have a massive boost on your mood.
Be Around People
If your socially awkward like I can be you may be thinking "god no" but being round people, even if its just the one person can be a massive help. Push yourself to go round to your friends for the night or spend time with your family. Being around people and doing things with them takes your mind off the issues in your head. Its never good to be alone when you feel horrible. It just makes matters worse. Go out! Or invite someone round!
Get A New Hobby
A little change in your everyday life such as getting a new hobby is a good way to help your moods. For instance, I started this blog because I like to write and its a good way to get away from my worries. Learn an instrument, Buy a sketch book and draw or even take up a class in kick boxing! Doing something new is exciting and fun!
Eat Better And Exercise
Doctors say having a healthy diet and a good amount of exercise is a great way to improve your moods. Exercising releases endorphins causing you to feel good. If you cant be bothered going to the gym or paying the costs then go for a run or a long walk. Use that Wii board that's been propped up in the corner for years. Plan a nice healthy meal and then go down to the shops and buy and prepare it. Doing things you know are good for you and your body will help.
Get A Diary
My (ex)therapist told me a great way to deal with issues is to write them down. Buy yourself a little diary and whenever you have too many negative thoughts in your head write them down. It doesn't matter how horrible it sounds. Releasing those feelings will cause you to worry less. Its a good way to cope if your not comfortable talking to people about the way you feel and it clears your head temporarily.
Change Something About Yourself
I'm not telling you to completely change everything about yourself and become someone new. Sometimes something as little as a new hair cut or new look makes you feel a million times better. When I was down and not feeling like myself I went a bit drastic and dyed my hair bright red. 2 years on I still have it and I love it :)
When I feel like crap the first thing I do after I finish a shift at work is head into town and buy myself something. Whether its a new pretty dress or something small like a hair accessory its always nice to have something new.
Do Things You Enjoy
Its easy to just sit in bed and wallow in self pity. Snap out of it and tell yourself you deserve better. Go grab your favourite film, buy a ton of chocolate and takeaway and have a night to yourself. Read a new book, go to a gig, or play a computer game. All good things that'll stop you from feeling sorry for yourself.
Cut Out Negative People
I myself can not stand to be around negative people. They give off bad energy and rub off on your own mood. If you have people in your life who bring you down and are never happy then be around people who bring out the best in you. I learnt that certain people who used to be in my life triggered my moods. Sometimes its just better to look after yourself and do what's best for you. Surround yourself with good fun happy people and they'll bring positivity to you.
Tidy Your Area
Its no good having a messy house/room and trying to cheer yourself up. Living in a mess is bad for your health. When I had a massive mental break down me and my family spent a whole week redecorating my room. We painted it and bought new things, I changed the colour and made it feel more relaxing. It made a huge difference. Once I felt more comfortable in my room I started to feel more comfortable with myself.
You are not a failure if you decide to seek help from someone. You're not weak, You're not pathetic. You are strong. I cried my eyes out when I went to the doctors because I had coped for so long on my own. It was a massive relief to have someone there who would listen and help. If you don't feel like talking to family or friends would help then visit a doctor. They can refer you to a therapist or put you on the right medication.. That brings me to the next topic....
I used to never believe in taking medication. I thought it was a way to supress feelings and that it didn't help.. but inevitably being put on medication became my only option at one point.. and it actually really helped me. I learnt that being on certain pills to help my depression/anxiety helped me to over come a really difficult time in my life. They helped me to get back on my feet and start sorting myself out. If you feel like a therapist doesn't help (like I did) and nothing else is working for you then go to your doctor and discuss what they can do for you.
Realise that you are allowed to feel the way you do. Don't let people tell you otherwise. Mental illness affects 1 in 4 of us at some point in our life's. Its not a laughing matter. I've had so many people say "cheer up, there's worse people off than you"... no shit. Mental illness is something you can't just switch off and get over. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn to adjust and live the way you want to. The people who care about you won't leave you. I have a great bunch of friends/family and an amazing boyfriend who understand I can be a little off sometimes. As long as you have the right people in your life then that's all that matters. I've learnt that following some of my tips has vastly improved my life. I now know that when I'm having an episode I know the right way to go about it. Mental illness isn't a nice thing to have. Sometimes it feels worse than anything physical because we don't know how to cope with something we can't see.
Hopefully this post will help at least one person then I'll feel like I've accomplished something!
And that's it !
If you managed to get through this long assed post then thank you :) Please feel free to comment below and add any of your own advice, tips, stories so maybe it'll benefit someone else.