Each of us are in recovery, whether that be from: mental illness, substance abuse, abusive relationships, homelessness, etc. Whatever the situation, lets be an example to others that we can and do overcome tough situations by sharing our testimonies... Here is mine...
Over last six months I've been battling depression, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. My doctor calls it postpartum depression, resulting from the birth of my child, but I call it "life." Prior to the birth of my son I never had a lot of experiences with depression. However, I am not sure if I agree with the postpartum depression diagnosis now, because of the several other factors which contributes to my depression and other symptoms around the time of receiving that diagnosis.
I know that stress is a major trigger for me, and I am still learning what type of stress is unhealthy for me. Despite life's many stresses, I think I've narrowed it down, my stressors include: criticism from individuals within my support system, arguing, over-productivity, and major life changes such as relocation.
Now that I know what stresses me out the most, how will I cope with the daily struggles? For one thing I need to continuously work on my communication with my support network in order to reduce unnecessary misunderstandings and confusion. I think we all can learn something new about mutual communication and cooperation. Furthermore, I should analyze what I am arguing about to see if it is an ongoing concern and who I am arguing with- to decipher whether that relationship is worth preserving?
Also, I like to stay busy, but I understand that over-productivity is dangerous for me because it can set me back despite all the good things I am trying to do for myself, friends and family, and community work. I remember prior to my first known concern with depression I had participated in a two-day intense training, facilitated a training soon afterwards, traveled a lot, and applied for another leadership position- all in one month- which was a lot of positive pressure, but still pressure. I remember I felt like I was over doing it-which I was- and was exhausted and on edge with what I had planned to do next.
Relocation- it doesn't have to be across the country as it was in my past- it could be down the street or any new environment. I admit I move around a lot- always have growing up- and I make it a bad habit to do so now. As an adult I justify a move because of convenience and to get more space. These are reasonable excuses, however, because of my mental health concern I should reevaluate my motives.
Have you identified your triggers, and if so, what are they?
The last few days have been rough for me, however, I have not had the need to take my anxiety medication again- yay!- and my state of well-being is improving by writing regularly, and recognizing that I have the support of my therapist, family, friends and fellow bloggers. I still get tired easily and feel concerned with all the things I want to do for myself, family, the nonprofit I serve, and other mental health related projects; despite the plan I came up with my therapist to relieve and manage my stress. I will read a little more than usual to help relax, and make sure I take a nap today.
A friend of mine said to be gentle with yourself. I used to think I was superwoman and was not fragile- my opinion on this matter has changed... I am fragile and do need to be gentle with myself, I just need to learn how to master this change.
Change is difficult for me because its a change in my thinking and lifestyle, and I'm the type of person that is a creature of habit and stay in my comfort zone. I think a new setting will help me change- like getting a massage, visiting the bookstore often, and surrounding myself with like-minded friends. I recognize I need to get out of my comfort zone- and fast! Now that I have a vision of the change I want, how do I get there?
How have you made a lifestyle change? How long did it take you to (ex. lose weight, stick to a strict diet, take your medication regularly, or to just relax more if you are used to overworking yourself, etc.?).
I am tired and I have not even started the work I want to do today. I feel both physically and mentally tired. I have so many goals I want to fulfill- I think I should focus on coming up with a plan to get what I want, or map out the baby steps necessary to complete. Despite my stresses, writing is helping me relieve some of the ongoing thoughts and concerns constantly floating around my mind.
Financial stresses is a predominate concern for me, not for the basic necessities, but the means to get more money to satisfy my needs and desires, which will help reduce a lot of the struggle. I envision myself being a superwoman, like my mother was to me, but I just can't get past the hump in my road to success. I wish I could work and get results within a short time frame, have enough energy to balance both work and family, and be very resourceful and able to do what I want to do such as travel to visit family.
I am hopeful that I will accomplish my goals- if I just stick to the plan I will create to save money... I made it this far I might as well keep fighting for what I want because what I want, I will inevitably have, it just takes time and focus.
I already know how I am going to handle accomplishing my goals, now its time to put in the work and to make it happen!
As a result of my recent blog entry, When Coping isn't Coping Anymore, and comment on other online networks, a few friends and family members called me with urgency to check on my well-being. I guess I did not realize how well I articulated my mental distress, but I needed to write to feel a little relief. The concerning calls and encouraging comments really made me feel that I was important, cared and thought of, and was not alone in the battle with mental illness.
Having my support network is important because friends and family could pick up on cues from my active lifestyle or lack of, and my thoughts from online groups and identify my stressful moments, sometimes when I can't. I appreciate others for reaching out to me, it re-energized my optimistic perspective on recovery and life.
Although I still have work to do to acquire and maintain wellness, I believe I can and will get through this difficult time with satisfaction.
How strong is your support network?- Do you have friends and family who know you well enough to reach out to you when you are feeling down? If so what are your warning signs that you are in need of support?... Whenever you do not meet your obligations, when you are irritable, or when you isolate- what are your warning signs?
If you feel you do not have a strong support system I encourage you to seek support by participating in online networks and self-help groups to learn from peers and to establish more relationships.
Recently, I've been under a lot of stress, so I tried my usual coping skills that usually worked for me in the past with dissatisfaction and no relief. Accordingly, I went to speak to my therapist to learn new ways to help me cope with my stress and anxiety. Fortunately I came after most of the traffic died down in the mental health center, and was able to speak with her.
We came up with a stress management plan. The plan is to set a time frame or parameters around the time I spend on the lap top doing business. I will prioritize my work load and take more time out for myself to relax. I plan to try this new way of limiting the time I spend to my business for a week or two.
After talking to my therapist about the many things on my mind, I felt some relief and satisfaction with the stress management plan we devised. I feel safe knowing that these feelings are more stress-related than the byproduct of my mental illness, though stress can lead me to experience some symptoms of schizophrenia. Experiencing what I have with schizophrenia in the past- I do not want to go through that again, and I do my best to take care of myself to help reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Since September, I've been busy with business- board meetings, conference calls, and presentations- which I am satisfied with being a part of these activities. However, I feel like I am powered on overload right now, and its not a good feeling.
Right now I have a lot on my mind. Lately, I sleep too much, forget too often, and lack motivation to carry out house chores- I force myself to do them every few of days. The last couple of days I took the maximum dose of anxiety medication that was prescribed by my doctor, it helped a little bit. I wrote in my journal and read a little to relieve racing thoughts, tension and overwhelmed-feeling, but I still felt uneasy. I've used most of my coping skills- writing, reading, listening to music and cleaning, now I need to talk to someone about this, because I do not understand what is happening to me?!- I feel like I am gradually breaking down sometimes, while other times I am forcing myself to do what I need to do, and I do get a lot accomplished. I have a lot to think about- my family, finances and LIFE in general! I am not sure if this is mental health related and this is the result of me functioning under a lot of stress? I will seek out my therapist either today or tomorrow.