Over the past year I've felt the weight of the world on my shoulders again. I could feel the darkness creeping back in, the self doubt, the self hate, having no motivation to get out of bed or look after myself as I should. Having been here before, I've been determined to catch it before it gets bad and as hard as it feels to do anything productive, starting by talking about it helps and I'm forcing myself to do things that I know will help while I ride this out.
At the moment, it's a hard time for everyone and I know I'm not the only one feeling it. So if you or someone you know can feel things slipping a little, here's a few tips to start feeling a little more human again. It's not easy, but making any tiny steps in the right direction all helps.
Talk about it
Mental health services are under so much strain right now, which is sad as it often means the help isn't there when you need it, but it's also a comfort to know that you're not alone in the way you're feeling. With this in mind, there are heaps of chat rooms and groups online if that's your thing, where you could share, vent or ask for advice. There are helplines out there for chats and immediate help (see numbers below this post), charities with support and of course your GP that can refer you for counselling and check there are no issues adding to your dip in mental health such as being low in certain vitamins that affect your mood. There are lots of medications out there too that your GP can prescribe, and if one doesn't work don't give up, try another, change doses and keep trying until it helps. There is no shame in needing a little medical help for a medical issue like mental health and around 17% of the adult population in the UK are currently on anti depressants, with a heap more self medicating in some way I'm sure, so you really are not alone!
Eat well and exercise
This one I struggle with massively hense it being last, because when you're low and feeling worthless, why the hell would you want to bother looking after yourself or exercise when you barely have the energy to rise out of bed each day? The thing is though, that these things really do help, so if at any time you can do a little extra exercise to release those endorphins, do as much as you can! Healthy food also contains more vitamins and things that make our body happy, which also effect our mood and happiness. It's just getting over the battle of not wanting to look after yourself to get past first which I think is the biggest battle of all, but if we can do the above steps first, then this one becomes much easier. Usually when depression strikes, we stop doing the things that made us happy before, so if there's any way you can introduce versions of things you used to enjoy, you may just be able to spark a little enthusiasm back.
If you're not feeling yourself right now, don't let it linger and please make sure you do something about it before it gets worse. Sometimes the signs are small, like doing less things you enjoy or not looking after yourself as well as you should, so if you think this could be you and you need a little help, pop along to see your GP, find local support or call someone who can be a listening ear and help point you in the right direction to feel better.