Alright my lovelies, I have been writing and sharing with you guys for almost 18 months now, and I’ve realised that I do tend to only share the good moments, the highlights and not always exactly what is currently going on in my life.
I am absolutely scared shitless to talk about this side of my life, but here we go…
As a teenager, I suffered quite severely from depression, I had some suicidal thoughts and I was definitely not the most healthy or happy version of myself.
I allowed peoples judgement and opinions overshadow how I felt about myself and ultimately allowed them to cast only dark memories on my most important teen years.
I can never get that time back, and it’s hard to even relive some of those memories to write about them.
There was bullying, self doubt and whole lot of tears for me during the time when most are finding it hard enough to navigate through growing up and becoming an adult.
I have the scars to prove it.
But I got myself out of that, through learning self love, talking out loud about what was happening to me, and being brave enough to go and see my Doctor about my dark thoughts.
And of course, with the help of my family and (real) friends by my side.
I take a lot of pride in my own strength, my ability to pick myself back up and being able to get myself through most circumstances that go on through my head and in my life.
But in no means do I do any of this alone. The main process within me has to be done by me, and I have to want it; But I lean so heavily on my husband, my mum and my friends when things get hard.
Being on the otherside of my past depression doesn’t mean I am ‘cured’ or ‘over it’ as some people like to assume. I still deal with those demons and flashbacks on a daily basis, even as a relatively happy and healthy adult.
If I am being honest with myself and with you all, my own inner fears tend to take over a lot more than I’d like to admit. And that is definitely something that I do not share with you guys that often, if at all.
When it comes to depression or anxiety, it really is a unique experience for everyone. We may share some symptoms or triggers as each other, but essentially we all travel our journey alone as we are the only ones that know what is going on inside our heads. And what we share out loud, is not always the whole truth.
Different things trigger episodes with me. As different things will trigger others.
It could be something as simple as someone making a joke towards me that means nothing, but turns into me feeling insecure and judgmental on myself for the next 3 days.
Or a situation that sends me flash backs to being a bullied teenage girl who didn’t know how strong she was.
Or just me getting into my own head, creating theoretical scenarios and then getting so stressed and anxious that I don’t leave the house all week.
I was lucky enough to not experience any pre or post natal depression.
Both my doctor and I were incredibly surprised considering my history.
But since having my babies, many triggers have been added, more frequent episodes have occurred, and I have definitely developed some Social Anxiety in big crowds and tend to hold myself up at home instead of going out and socialising.
Becoming a mum has definitely increased my emotions, as anyone would expect would happen. But increased emotions means increased fears, increased worry and more self doubt.
I try not to compare, doubt or judge myself on a daily, but let’s be real, all mums are terrified 90% of the time, some are just better at hiding it than others.
I will go to the ends of the Earth to protect my boys from anything or anyone that could hurt them or make them feel any less than they are.
So anything that happens with my kids (or happens in my head) can send me into a downward spiral and into a place of severe anxiety.
I am so incredibly lucky to have my beautiful baby boys that are healthy and happy, and my amazing husband who brings me back down to Earth and reminds me of that when I am freaking out.
I don’t want to dwell too much on the past and what happened to me. So let’s move onto what I do to actually deal with my depression and anxiety on a daily.
When it comes to actually dealing with an episode of my depression or anxiety, I have a few tricks that work for me personally, now they don’t always work – but most of time, at least one of them will help me calm down enough to talk it through.
MUSIC – Music is a big mood-lifter for me. Depending on what is actually bothering me, I find a playlist, artist, song etc that is the opposite to what I’m feeling and let that take me away from whatever is going on. Playing it loud in my headphones to get me out of my own head helps a tonne.
CRYING IN THE SHOWER – This one is actually so therapeutic to me. Crying in general is such a good hormone release, and crying in the shower seems to just wash away all the crap and make me feel refreshed and less foggy once I get out.
(Obviously a lot harder now I have 2 babies at home to care for, so I end up bottling up my feelings all day and then unloading them on my poor husband the moment he walks in the door)
WRITING – I LOVE writing, and I have journals all over the place for all different things. But I have a book that I write in only on bad days. I don’t go back and reread things or reminisce on anything. Sometimes I even rip out pages when I’m done and burn them, or tear them up and put them in the bin. But writing is my biggest release. I leave everything on the paper, and walk away from my desk without anything left in my brain. I write absolutely everything down.
SWIMMING – Very similar to the crying in the shower. And I haven’t done this in a long time, but as a teenager, I used to swim a lot. I’d go to the beach, swim out past the wave breaks and sink to the bottom, listen to the nothing-ness of the ocean and just let all my shit fall away as I think of myself as a tiny fleck in such a huge ocean.
I got so good at holding my breath too, so win-win.
MY KIDS – This is a new one for my list, but holy crap, kids are so good at pulling you out of your funk and reminding you how fun life can be. I go and sit on the floor with my boys, play trucks, build blocks or do puzzles and lose track of time. I forget what I was upset or anxious about in the first place and just live in the moment with my two favourite humans.
I would never wish these feelings or thoughts on anyone. And I definitely wouldn’t wish the dark thoughts I had about myself as a teenager/early adult on any other human being. Every life is priceless and no one should ever feel as though they do not belong on this Earth.
If you know anyone that experiences these thoughts or has feelings like these about themselves, please be there for them, listen to them and keep in touch.
We may avoid contact, we may ditch out on plans, but know it is not on purpose, we can’t help it. It is hardwired in our brain to not burden our friends and family with our emotions that we don’t completely understand ourselves. It is hard enough for us to find words to describe our feelings to ourselves, let alone get words out to others.
So please don’t take it personally.
And to my fellow people that are suffering or experiencing anxiety, it is okay to not be okay, it is okay to feel shit about yourselves sometimes and it is okay to hold yourself up in the safety of your home to regroup when you need to.
We all need to support eachother and love on eachother as much as possible to get through this crazy thing called life.
REMINDER: Please be kind.. The words you say or write to others can affect them way more than you could ever imagine. You never know what someone is dealing with at home. And what you put out on the internet is there FOREVER.
If this post has triggered anything for you. Please reach out to those closest to you, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.