Welcome to Mental Health Monday! This was born out of Steph and my session on Depression, Anxiety and Healthy Living from Fitbloggin’ 15. Every 1st and 3rd Monday one of us will
Sometimes I feel like all I am doing right now is going to appointments. Yesterday I saw my therapist and dietician, today I went to my regular doctor for a blood pressure check and to get
After one meeting of therapy with some scary terms thrown around (eating disorder, moderate depression, shame, guilt, anxiety, etc) I am feeling both raw and hopeful. My goal for this week is to not stop eating necessarily but to look to delay and distract myself from the urge to eat for as long as I am able. (I am supposed to eat at mealtimes but this is for that extra “binge” eating that I am doing.)
Results have been….mixed…so far. There are moments I can manage and moments when I still find myself eating.
I am not sure if this is encouraging or not yet.
Managing your mental health is a unique journey that everyone must go through in their own unique way. For example, a friend of mine who lives with depression and anxiety has recently started using a natural supplement known as kratom to boost her mood.
Additionally, there are other natural products out there that can make living with a mental health condition easier. Studies show that using cannabis can have several positive impacts on the body. This can include promoting positive thoughts and even an enhanced sense of relaxation.
Above all, it is important to remember that there are a wide variety of treatment options out there so do not be afraid to seek help with your mental health if you need it. Sometimes a healing environment can help you to find solace during difficult times.
We also narrowed down some of the Why of my eating. At best I seem to be eating to get into a “food coma” to avoid feelings (depression coping mechanism anyone), at worst I seem to be eating to actively punish myself (for what I am not sure but I immediately started crying so that will need further exploration).
Why do I share this with you?
Lord if I know…except…I believe in Truth. I believe truth sets us free. I believe that we should not hide mental illness in shadows of perfect facades. There is something going on with me, and I am working to figure it out. Despite that I am not suicidal. I love my family. I enjoy spending time with my kids (in fact that is one of my key areas of joy these days). I may be hurting but I am not defective.
Even when I tell myself that I am broken, it isn’t true. Or at least it isn’t MORE true for me than it is for anyone else in the world. The truth is that we are all a little broken and battered. Some of us in more obvious ways than others. We all need help of others to overcome, at least some of the time.
*Related: WW Canada: New Cost & Coupons
So I try to write openly about my truth. It remains a snapshot of my day, of my life, of who I am but it is important nonetheless. You see, in these words I write, I am able to see myself in fresh ways. I put words to emotions and breathe life into my struggles. I fight back here.
Each word I write – that is me fighting back.
I won’t sugar coat things for you. This is hard. Very hard. But I just stopped eating Oreos to write this post. Oreos I bought today for the sole purpose of eating. For no good reason. I was eating them and now I am not and I am writing instead.
I am fighting back.
When someone says something out loud about your weight, (or your worth, or your parenting, or your political views, or your faith, or your kindness, or whatever it is) it can be a catalyst to realize just how wrong they are.
When I hear criticism I either head one of two directions – either it confirms my worst fears or it makes me want to answer back and show them how wrong they are.
For weeks the criticism I have been facing is my own. The louder the voice the harder it is to do the most basic tasks. (Get out of bed? Not without an act of Congress). The harder it is to do basic tasks, the more shame I feel, the more shame the more it fuels the voice that tells me that I am worthless.
Ironically it takes someone outside myself to help me see that this is absurd. Someone who says the exact same things as the voice in my head…
But from someone else the words make me pause and want to fight back.
- I am not worthless because I struggle with depression sometimes.
- I am not worthless because I suffer from anxiety.
There comes a time in my cycle of depression and anxiety (both short and long term) when I think to myself “what was I so worried/sad about anyway?” It typically comes at a time when my rational self is starting to take control again and the emotion and paralysis of mental illness are waning. I hate this question, because it strikes at the heart of why mental illness is so insidious. There is nothing so terrible (most of the time) that merits the extremes of anxiety and depression.
Every time my rational self counters my emotional self with the “what was that about anyway?” the truth of the emotions and the hopelessness that depression exerts is negated. The reality is that it cannot be easily rationed away. The emotions and paralysis of depression is hard to describe to someone who has not experienced it. Likewise, ADHD or Autism may be hard to describe to people who don’t have them, or even color blindness to someone who sees fine. When our brains are involved there is a certain amount of mystery there and even the rational knowledge of serotonin or other chemicals in the brain only answer the technical questions of what depression is and not how depression lives in us.
Before I suffered from depression I understood something about the reality of living in depression, when in the midst of it. I had friends who suffered from it and I knew enough not to say dumb things like “why can’t you snap out of it?” However, until I experienced depression for myself I never realized that there is always an aspect of it in your life. It is a chapter in your book now and it cannot be unwritten, and that chapter influences every single chapter that is yet to come.
That isn’t to say I will always be depressed, but it does mean that it is a reality for my life and I can never take my mental health casually. Stress, exhaustion, life changes all can be triggers and I need to keep watch that depression doesn’t sneak up on me.
And yet, there is part of me that recognizes that having had experiences with depression and anxiety can be real gifts. It helps make me who I am. I appreciate the joyful times even more. I see unspoken hurt and sadness. I notice when people go off the grid, or I like to think I do. Depression is a lens that colors my world but it is also a superpower to recognize struggling people around me.
Even when I am in a lighter space, when my sadness ebbs, I see the hurt of the world. I would that I could hug it away. Since I cannot hug everyone who needs it, I write instead. I see you. I may not know you, but I see you and your eyes. You may have a smile on your face but the eyes never lie. I see them and in it I see the parts that you try to hide. You don’t need to hide, you are no more broken than any of us. Welcome, sister. Sit down and rest, brother. Join the community, we are hear to help, to listen, to sit quietly together in blanket nests.
I am speechless beyond comprehension.
I am surrounded by family and loved ones yet feel nothing.
I am out of breath but breathing so hard.
I cannot begin to cry the tears deserved.
Memories are the only thing left yet they aren’t enough.
I will never understand.
I will never forget.
I will never stop crying.
I love you mom. I love you.
A little over twelve hours ago, my live was shattered. I lost my best friend, my confidant – I lost my pillar of strength, hope & courage. Forever gone is my coach, my cheerleader, my instructor. I lost my example of faithful, unconditional love, I lost my mom.
A little over twelve hours ago, my mom was hit by a car while on a walk and died on the way to the hospital. There were no goodbye’s. Please keep our family in your thoughts an prayers. Most importantly, please keep my father, who lost his best friend of 32 years in your prayers.