As it’s World Wellbeing Week (22 June – 26 June) I thought I’d ask how are you coping with everything that’s happened worldwide over the past few months? How do you improve your wellbeing? Personally, I have been struggling with my mental health recently so I thought it might help others if I talked about my depression. I know I often feel comforted by others sharing their story.
I find this time of year difficult as it would have been my brother’s birthday last week. You may have seen my social media post last Thursday about my brother Andrew and why I support Cancer Research UK by selling skull jewellery to raise funds for Race for Life.
I was officially diagnosed with depression in July 2011 and put on medication by my Doctor. This was partly triggered by a mentally abusive, duplicitous relationship. I was initially hesitant as I didn’t want to “rely” on tablets. I also didn’t like the sound of the side effects! I did it though and they really do help me.
For me the strangest thing about depression is the timing of it seem to make no sense! Even during the loss of my Mum (2005) and my Brother (2008) to cancer I was able to cope with my (undiagnosed) depression but in 2011 something I considered less stressful triggered it.
Since then I have been prescribed tablets twice. The second time I could think of no reason why I should be feeling that way! I had a loving fiancé, a lovely home, a great job and what I considered to be a happy life. This is why I find depression so confusing and difficult. It can hit you when you least expect it.
I also realised that tablets alone couldn’t help me, and I sort professional help from a wonderful counsellor. She really helped me delve into my feelings and understand why I reacted the way I do to many things.
I also began to realise that idleness made it worse. I’m not the sort of person who can sit still all day every day and feel like I haven’t achieved anything. I realised the need to set myself daily goals even if they are small ones like “do the laundry”, “read a book” or “practise yoga”.
I also discovered crafting was great for me, especially making my skull jewellery. The feeling of creating something gave me all the feels! You know my skull jewellery journey from my first blog but I also learnt how to use my Mum’s old sewing machine and now I can sew my own clothes. I’ve also recently discovered a love of embroidery.
I recently found a great article from the Craft Council about why crafting is good for your mental health. I also saw this fantastic post from The Sad Ghost Club who regularly put helpful ideas on coping with depression and anxiety on their social media channels. It really resonated with me.
Other things that work for me are yoga, crime podcasts, running and watching re-runs of classic TV programmes.
Finally, I’m in no way saying that what works for me will work for you or anyone else. I’m not an expert and I don’t have the silver bullet for depression. Don’t we wish we did! I just want you to know that when you feel blue/sad/down please don’t beat yourself up. Maybe talk to someone about it, go for a walk, try something creative or simply allow yourself to go with that feeling and be safe in the knowledge that “this too shall pass.”