No, I haven’t become a plumber or carpenter. We all need tools though to help us navigate through this thing called life.
As somebody who has lived with depression for nigh on twenty two years I’ve been blessed with people who have imparted there precious pearls of wisdom. I thought I’d share some with you.
Jane an acquaintance. Jane once said to me, ‘Rachel, find one thing that gives you pleasure in each day. It doesn’t have to be grand, a cup of tea, or a bath but be in the moment with whatever you choose, be consciously there, hear the water as it runs from the tap and hear the sound as it fills up the kettle. Be totally present and when you are sat with your cup of tea really truly relax and just enjoy!’ This piece of advice has been invaluable, I’ve used it a million times and although the depression might be pretty deep it’s felt like a soothing lotion, offering light relief.
Allow yourself your bad days. This took years of practice and a deep understanding of myself, my abilities and my limitations. When I’m having a really bad day I allow myself the sanctuary of sleep. I know instantly if I’m going to be able to work through the depression or be crushed by it. I used to fight it, the voice in my head battering me even more as it failed to lift me from my bed. These days though I’m not so hard on myself, I recognise my limitations and I allow them. Be gentle with yourself.
Reach out! John was the person who taught me to reach out. It takes courage to recognise and verbalise that you are struggling. I have found this really challenging and still to this day it continues to be such a really difficult part of my depression and yet once I have verbalised, (tears being the companion of the verbalisation) I usually feel relief! To share whatever it is that is pushing me under enables a connection, the isolation that I experience from my silent world diminishes and the warmth of connecting is once again a soothing balm. So…reach out!
Anxiety. The biggest weapon I have against anxiety (well there are two actually) is to move! Yes…movement! When anxiety strikes I find that real exertion helps. I clean, I garden or I go for a brisk walk. There is something about moving that connects with the anxiety but as with the depression it will very much depend on just how receptive my mind/body is, for there are times when movement is not possible, when that fails I use alcohol. Now I’m not advocating that you resort to using alcohol without any boundaries and of course if you have other commitments then you definitely should not but for me when the anxiety is just too overwhelming then alcohol helps, it numbs, it soothes, the warm fuzziness takes over and for a while there is relief!
Distractions. For me it’s films, tv or a good book. Coming out of your head and absorbing yourself into something that requires little or no effort, the only thing you need to really think about is the content. Or get yourself out in nature, there is something so effortless about nature, it’s beauty a feast for the eyes. It has a way of grounding you. Thank you David for this piece of wisdom.
Music. Sing loud and sing proud! It doesn’t matter if you are tone deaf just open your mouth and sing along to whatever music lifts your spirits, for me it’s the sixties and if you can, dance. Dance like you’ve never danced before, there is something very freeing about movement and music.
Family and friends, if you can share your worries and fears, there is no greater gift than that of a listening ear or a gentle hug especially to those whom you trust. It’s not always that easy! As children if we are lucky we will have parents, aunties or uncles to offer comfort, as adults I’ve observed that we aren’t always good at supporting each other. Sometimes all you need is a gentle hug. Buy a teddy or hug a pillow if you have difficulty with the human touch. Mike is my teddy bear. Thank you Mike.
If I can help just one person with this blog, if one little nugget of wisdom can ease you through your day then I will have achieved my goal. 💝💖