I’ve tried lots of therapies via the NHS, mainly CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and counselling. Although I can see the rational and logical way that cognitive behavioural therapy can work and be helpful in some situations, particulary the here and now, I have also struggled to implement it in my daily life and see it of any benefit to me as it also works on the principle of changing what you are thinking rather than accepting the thought and looking deeper into why you would think that way in the first place (the route cause). Because my condition began from a difficult childhood and a history of serious health problems which affected my self worth and distorted my core beliefs, I needed to revist my past and talk about long term trauma I had experienced. I was always surrounded by people and social constructs that appeared to be ‘strong and resilient’ and appeared to be coping with whatever life threw at them. It can make you feel pretty crap over time when you think you are constantly at odds with the world. Depression distorts your view and makes you feel like a different person. I suppose you could say you have an angry or wounded child inside. This is why I do my best with parenting now as I know how different things could be for my son. School is one of the first environments that challenges you in many ways. Bullying, the stress of being absent due to illness and the social pressures of living in a deprived family with mental ‘illness’. When I look back on my childhood now, it made me realise how much I endured and how proud I should be of being here today and surviving what life has thrown my way. I take responsibility of where I am and where I will get to. Does it really matter if my hairs a mess or I have acne..no!
Often there would be no obvious triggers for my low mood, some days I may have poor sleep and wake upset or drained even before the day began. Even though sleep hygiene is important, if you need to nap in the daytime, do it. Dont deprive yourself of sleep. Get sleep when you can, especially if you are suffering from insomnia at night. Mornings are particularly problematic for me, which is common with depression. I think you get into a thought habit of telling yourself that there is no point in sticking to plans as ‘things will go wrong’ or ‘you need to stay at home and rest today’. It is incredibly hard to know what to do for the best some days. Today was a great day. I accepted my negative thoughts and set out to go to work as planned. I was nervous as hell, convinced the day would not go well and got stressed out with the motorway queuing but I managed to report I was running late and that took the pressure off getting to my meeting on time. I really hate being late, always like to punctual or I’m always early. Slight ‘obsession’ but a useful one because they say its good manners to be on time!
One of the things I aim to do now, is be mindful with the way I think, when I can and not get swept into the ocean of deeply distressing thoughts and get used to concentrating on my breathing more to ground me. If we are anxious we often don’t learn to breathe from our belly (like babies do), we have very shallow breathing. It is automatic and feeds into the horrible cycle of anxiety, negative thoughts and avoidance behaviour. Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word in mental health at the moment. Like I said, you can choose bits of everything that suits you on different days. Getting to a place of complete stillness and peace is hard to do during meditation practise, especially if you are a creative thinker as I am as you are always coming up with ideas in your mind or problem solving.
I am trying to not be too hard on myself, to be kind and nurturing to myself and have a future of more helpful thoughts.