Welcome back to my thought bubble 🙋🏼♀️!
Following on from my other blogs about my experience with crappy mental health and taking Antidepressants, I thought I’d talk about how I cope with things. Despite my struggles, my life is pretty full whack and even though this condition can be debilitating sometimes, I still (somehow) manage to hold down a full-time job and a social life.
Like I discussed in my last blog, Antidepressants definitely play a key role in how I cope in my everyday life. However, I know that this option may not be for everyone,which is why I’ve come up with a list of (definitely laughable) things I like to do that also help me to cope. Everyone is different and not as immature as I am, so take with it what you will.
FYI, I’m not a Doctor nor am I claiming to be, so please don’t sue me! Thanks 😘 x
Sometimes, being in your own head can get too much, which is why I use distractions everyday. They can be absolutely anything. For me, I probably play The Sims 4 an unhealthy amount but it works and I could play it for hours. Days even. Another way I like to take my mind off of things is watching TV shows and films. Shamefully, I’ll admit that I have every single subscription service there is (even WWE) and usually rewatch my favourite stuff over and over again. Stranger Things, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Desperate Housewives are my personal faves.
When I’m travelling into work, it can be hard to distract myself on the busy trains as there are literally hundreds of people right up in my grill. An essential if you travel every day is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. You literally cannot hear a thing and if you close your eyes, you could very much be safe at home. I should probably get nose plugs too if they’re a thing because the stench of sweat and bad breath on the Central Line is far from homely.
I like to change things up a bit so I usually switch between a good podcast and music. If you love Desperate Housewives then you should definitely check out the Desperate Housedykes podcast. I’m not a lesbian but these girls have me howling. Also, My Dad Wrote a Porno is one that my boyfriend and I are loving at the moment and I can honestly say, we’ve never laughed so much in our lives.
Make Sure You’re Eating
This one may seem pretty foolproof but as someone who lost over two stone from this illness, it definitely works. Now I’m not saying you should be healthy AF because I’m far from a “clean eater,” but by not eating, having low blood sugar levels actually makes your anxiety worse. You can read the science of it here and tbh it’s actually pretty interesting.
As I had no appetite and was not eating at all, I started off by eating my favourite foods. This basically includes a lot of sweets and a LOT of carbs. By doing this, I slowly started to get my appetite back and am now back to eating regular meals. One thing I learned from this was to keep eating and fight the “sick to your stomach” feeling as once I’d eaten, the feeling was less intense and I rarely suffer with it anymore.
Caring for Something Other than Yourself
Now this one is down to your personal situation and I’m not telling you to go wild and buy a puppy, but caring for something other than myself has been really beneficial for me. In my case, I have two hamsters called Doris and Winston. Although caring for hamsters may seem trivial, there’s actually a lot more to their care that even I didn’t realise. For me, caring for these little fluff balls has been really therapeutic as I know that they’re counting on me to keep them alive.
Now I know everyone’s situation may be different, whether it be financial or your home circumstances, but even something as small as caring for a plant may help you as my hamsters have helped me.
Talking to Others About It
I believe really strongly in the saying that, “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Just by speaking to someone about what you’re going through can help to take the weight off of your shoulders for a bit. Through my GP, I was able to see a free therapist which I do think helped. Even though I only saw her once a week for eight weeks, it created a safe space for me to say how I really felt without being judged.
However, in my opinion, I do think it’s important to only use counselling as and when you need it, as becoming reliant on your therapist is not a stable way to deal with your problems (unless you’re absolutely minted and can pay privately for it). I used my sessions to learn how to deal and to cope with any problems that I had in the future. My last session was in April and as I know I have a really difficult time coming up, I will probably apply for another block of eight sessions for some much-needed extra support.
Keeping a Journal
Now I’m not telling you to go Bridget Jones style, but keeping a mood journal is really beneficial to understand your mental health and triggers. I used to keep my mood journal on my phone, as and when I needed it. So for example, if I was on a train and could feel a panic attack coming on, I would write down how I’m feeling and what could possibly be triggering it. This is also a very useful thing to do if you’re seeing a therapist as it’s easy to forget how you felt every day for a week.
Just do it! I’m not sponsored by Nike and the only bit of merch I wear is a pair of battered Air Force Ones, but I generally deal with my anxiety by “just doing it.” For me, sometimes the anxiety about doing something can be worse than the thing itself. I don’t want to live in fear and miss out on some of the most important years of my life because I was scared.
If I just do it and I have a panic attack, then I can leave the situation. If I just do it and I’m sick, then so what, I’ve seen lots of people being sick in public before. I know what I’m saying is easier said than done, but when you push yourself, you can achieve something truly amazing.
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