I had to kill two hours in a coffee shop this morning.
My car underwent some repairs. Gypsy (that’s her name. Who doesn’t name their car?) just needed a bit of rewiring. This made me think of a topic for today — how I relate to my…car.
If you’ve been hanging out on my blog (thanks much if so!) then you know I recently left my job. Talk about rewiring my brain! There’s a fair bit of “So what now?”going on upstairs.
Today is an important one on the calendar. It’s Bell Let’s Talk day; all about awareness of mental health. Starting over has definitely caused an anxiety attack (or six) for me in the last year as I planned my possible resignation and career change.
I’ve also dealt with numerous personal losses, health scares and surgeries, trauma… which meant processing some pretty big emotions like anger and grief over the last twentyish years. Those incidents meant I had to be even more mindful of the slippery slope of depression I often fell into.
When that happens, I have to make a real concerted effort to pause, consider the triggers, and yeah…rewire my thoughts. I often try to hide my ‘stuff’ behind silly humour.
That doesn’t mean my glow doesn’t still get pretty dim, y’all.
I’ve learned a lot about dealing with my mental health diagnoses. Here are some tips that help me and I hope could help you too, if you’re working through a struggle.
1) Set a timer on your tears. Honestly, go to your alarm clock by the bed or use your phone. Five minutes or fifty, whatever ya need in that moment and then SOB your head off. Get out some big, ugly, snotty crying. But when it buzzes? That’s it! Time is up and move on to another strategy. Now didn’t that release feel great?!
2) Journal. I’ll always suggest writing down what stresses or saddens. Just don’t use one of your fave pretty books; get a spiral from the dollar store because after you’re done, you’re removing those pages and NOT reading it. Shred it up! Toss it! (Into your recycling. We’re not animals.) Or even better — set them aflame. Watching the negativity literally go up in smoke is ah-mazing.
3) See your doctor. Medications for your brain are not shameful! We don’t mock people who need meds for their thyroid or diabetes, right? Same-same. Not everyone has counseling services via the employer, so also ask your doc for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist they trust. I have an incredible counselor I’ve seen off and on for the last 5 years. I would be lost without what she’s taught me.
4) Avoid alcohol. Adding a depressant to your depression? Tempting for sure, but not so great. My Grandma used to say “a cup of tea with lots of sugar makes everything a little easier.” I do this on the regular and find a hot mug in my hands very comforting.
5) Call someone. Don’t hermit, turning off all connections to the world. A day or two crying in bed is needed sometimes. I understand. I still do it. But on day three? Pick up your phone and tell them you need to talk — whether that be to your best pal, partner, or parent. If you’re worried they might judge you (they won’t if they truly love ya. Trust in this), then there are free Help lines you can ring up — a quick internet search will show what’s available to you based on your location.
6) Exercise! I can’t say enough about how jacking up those endorphins with a great workout helps the body AND mind. It might sound like an impossible task because you’re too tired, too puffy-eyed, too… whatever you’ll say to stay at home. But you never, ever regret a workout once it’s done! You can do it. Lace up dem sneakers.
What’s something you do to pick yourself up?
Let’s keep talking. I know I will always be a work in progress, and I talk about it freely now because it’s important. End the stigma. If you feel low or lonely, please try out one or all of these tips.
Most importantly, be patient and kind to yourself. ♥️ You’re worth it.