Being Kind To Myself During Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

At the start of the week I wrote my post to announce that it was Mental Health Awareness Week and my intention to publish a post every day…you might have noticed that it didn’t happen.

I spoke about the theme being kind to yourself and to others. In the end it was something that I needed to do for myself – which also meant not posting online. I was struck by a particularly nasty migraine earlier in the week and felt pretty rough physically and mentally for the rest of it.

One evening I was trying to write a post on ways to be kind to yourself and it just wasn’t working. Ali pointed out that I wasn’t being kind to myself – that quality was more important than quantity. I agreed and said I would take the time and see what happened. Today is the first time I’ve felt up to writing a new blog.

I had to remind myself that while I love writing the blog and interacting with people, if I’m not up to it nothing bad is going to happen. If I take time off, no one will hate me. It’s also part of the work I’ve been doing within therapy sessions – to be more compassionate to myself and mostly give myself a break.

Writing this is partially because I wanted to say what happened and to show that you need to practice what you preach.

Be kind to yourself.

Welcome To Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Writing about mental health isn’t anything new on this blog. While it may have changed in recent years to being about how I’m doing mentally in regards to chronic health conditions it’s still very important to me.

This years Mental Health Awareness week is very different and it’s likely that more people are aware of their mental health. We’re living through a time that none of us could imagine. As simple affection is limited or, for some, impossible I feel like now more than ever it’s important to discuss how we’re feeling.

This years theme is kindness, something we can all give but could all do with receiving too. While the world might seem like the most anxiety inducing place right now, and it is, there are also signs of hope and generosity.

During the last few weeks I’ve received messages, family members and neighbours have helped when we couldn’t go to the shops, strangers on the internet have sent me things from my amazon wish list and so have friends. I’ve tried to do things for others too in the ways I can.

I know that, for me, it’s felt at times like we’re stuck in a reoccurring nightmare. That it takes more effort than I have when things are hard. It’s normal to have days where it’s all too much, especially now. Taking it day by day, even hour by hour we can get through it together.

I’m going to be posting hopefully every day this week about mental health. Even though it’s a different kind of awareness week. I hope you find the posts helpful.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-Eight - The Week I Wanted To Give Up

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-Eight – The Week I Wanted To Give Up

Well, what a bloody week. It’s definitely one that deserves a large gin…or three. I think this has been the toughest week for me, mentally. Literally as soon as I woke up on Monday this cloud of sadness was above my head. I couldn’t think and all I could feel was my foggy brain and a tidal wave of emotions. I have been SUPER fun to live with (sorry Ali).

This was the first time where I just felt like giving up. I couldn’t focus on anything, I didn’t have that much work to do and everything just felt pointless. I’m pretty sure the weather didn’t help as I noticed a LOT of people mentioning a dip in their mood.

I’ve always had a thing about wanting to to be doing something productive most of the time. I’ve mentioned before that I find it hard to relax and switch off which I’m working on but when I’m not in a great mental state it goes out of the window. To feel useful I have to be doing something, right? I know I’m not alone in this.

That was until Wednesday afternoon, all my calls were done and Ali decided we were going to start our Marvel marathon whether I liked it or not. He got pillows, the duvet and put on Disney Plus. We ended up spending the next 6 hours watching Captain Marvel, Captain America and Iron Man before eating burgers together. Thursday was pretty similar.

Today was much better and I knew it as soon as I woke up. I just felt more capable getting out of bed. There wasn’t a struggle to get dressed and showered. I grabbed my laptop and made a to do list. I think I’m getting through.

Whether you’re someone who’s had dealings with depression before or these are new feelings it’s hard and it can feel so completely overwhelming. Everything and nothing feels too much.

Needless to say I’m not giving up but I wanted to write this to be honest. Because there will be people who are also struggling and feel bad because of it. There will be people who can’t be open and honest with people at home about how they’re feeling for whatever reason. I wanted to say it’s ok. It is ok. Next week is another week. We’ll get through this.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One - Getting Through Tough Days

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One – Getting Through Tough Days

I’m going to be honest with you all, I was dreading today. I’d been dreading it for a few weeks and until recently my plan was to spend the day hiding in my bed – I was in a much worse place mentally than I am right now.

Today marks 5 years since my life completely changed after a horse riding accident. If you’ve read my blogs for a while you’ll probably know quite a lot if not I started horse riding at university and loved it, 6 months into learning to ride I fell and broke part of my spine. It was a long recovery and I later developed Fibromyalgia.

Normally, I’d make sure I treated myself on the day. If I could help it I wouldn’t plan anything but I’d maybe go to my local shopping center and let myself buy a few things, go to a coffee shop and maybe see a friend or my family and get through the day. Obviously I couldn’t do that today.

I woke up and checked my social media and BAM Facebook memories, thank you very much for the picture of me riding. Thank you indeed. So I got up, got my cup of tea and let myself have some time to sit and think – feel how I needed to feel. I did get teary and emotional thinking about all the changes, everything that happened.

I’m working through the event, what happened after and my Fibromyalgia diagnosis in therapy. I do think that had helped this year. I let myself feel and then got up, got showered and dressed. I worked all morning and went out for a walk to feel the sun on my skin.

While I was walking I thought about how far I’ve come. Some days I can’t do that, other days (in non lockdown times) I can go to the gym. Each day is different but I think I’m doing well. Would I have got through today a few years ago? I don’t know.

It’s a bit of a rambly post, but I expected that. I’m proud of myself for where I am. Does that mean I don’t struggle? No. I struggle mentally and physically with the fact my life has changed forever and I’ve had to change the future I thought I would have.

That said I’m trying. I’m taking it day by day and I’m proud of myself for getting through today in a totally weird and stressful situation.

Peace out.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Seven - Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Seven – Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

I have been playing with what to write for days, literal days. I even started writing a post yesterday only for it to stop flowing through my fingertips. I just couldn’t write. For the past few days, my brain has been as useful as fluff.

On some days, I can get things done but others it just seems like my creativity has just taken a running jump and left me. It’s strange, I don’t know who I am really without being able to write. Normally it’s second nature to me, it’s how I make sense of things.

My guess is that while we’re seeing amazing things coming from creatives there are also times when they struggle – like I am now. I thought I’d write blogs upon blogs, my novel might get a good chunk written – maybe I’d create videos too! While I’ve blogged more than normal, that’s about it.

I know that a big chunk of it is that my mental health has struggled. Anxiety has been buzzing in the background and distracting me so much from my own creativity. It’s different when I’m working, for some reason I can still do that but my own stuff has struggled for a few days. I’m hoping it finds its way back

Is there a point to this post? I don’t know, I guess I just wanted to write something to try and get back into the mojo I haven’t had for a few days. Also, to see if any of you have felt the same.

Anyone else?

Anxiety is something that is floating around a lot right now and rightfully so. It’s incredibly normal to feel worried and feel anxious. But how about when you have anxiety? When you’re pretty used to your brain freaking out. I’ve lived with anxiety for a really long time now and have found ways in the normal way of life to cope with it but those aren’t quite working right now. So I thought I’d put down a few of the ways that I, and other people I know are feeling right now. You Don’t Want To Sound Dramatic, But You’re Absolutely Terrified Usually, any kind of anxiety or panic spiral that leads to catastrophising can be challenged with reason but when you look around and see other people who don’t have anxiety disorders getting worked up it sounds alarm bells. So it makes sense that your brain is on high alert and EVERYTHING feels like its on fire while you’re standing in the middle watching. Panic Attacks Feel A Lot More Scary Last week I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in a long, long time. I was petrified that something was seriously wrong. Part of a panic attack for me includes a tight chest, trouble breathing and chest pain. Sound familiar? Exactly. Thankfully, I had Ali to help me with this one because it wasn’t going away on its own. In the moment logic went out of the window and it just overtook my brain. Afterwards I was completely exhausted mentally and physically. Regular Symptoms Are Harder To Deal With It’s kind of mentioned above but a lot of the symptoms of anxiety are similar to that of the virus. So your chest feels tight, then you worry, then you get anxious, then your chest gets more tight and so it carries on. You’re Not Quite Sure How To Manage Without A Lot Of Your Coping Strategies I spent years working on strategies to help me when I was feeling anxious, one of the easiest was going for a cup of tea and a hug with my Mum, which is out of the window. Borrowing a dog for a walk and play? Nope. Meeting a friend to get out of my own head and space? Also no. You Feel Alone I completely get this because it’s easy to feel alone in all this. BUT I can promise you that you’re not.

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Four – What It’s Like To Have Anxiety Right Now

Anxiety is something that is floating around a lot right now and rightfully so. It’s incredibly normal to feel worried and feel anxious. 

But how about when you have anxiety? When you’re pretty used to your brain freaking out. I’ve lived with anxiety for a really long time now and have found ways in the normal way of life to cope with it but those aren’t quite working right now. So I thought I’d put down a few of the ways that I, and other people I know are feeling right now. 

You Don’t Want To Sound Dramatic, But You’re Absolutely Terrified

Usually, any kind of anxiety or panic spiral that leads to catastrophising can be challenged with reason but when you look around and see other people who don’t have anxiety disorders getting worked up it sounds alarm bells. 

So it makes sense that your brain is on high alert and EVERYTHING feels like its on fire while you’re standing in the middle watching. 

Panic Attacks Feel A Lot More Scary 

Last week I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in a long, long time. I was petrified that something was seriously wrong. Part of a panic attack for me includes a tight chest, trouble breathing and chest pain. Sound familiar? Exactly. 

Thankfully, I had Ali to help me with this one because it wasn’t going away on its own. In the moment logic went out of the window and it just overtook my brain. Afterwards I was completely exhausted mentally and physically. 

Regular Symptoms Are Harder To Deal With 

It’s kind of mentioned above but a lot of the symptoms of anxiety are similar to that of the virus. So your chest feels tight, then you worry, then you get anxious, then your chest gets more tight and so it carries on. 

You’re Not Quite Sure How To Manage Without A Lot Of Your Coping Strategies 

I spent years working on strategies to help me when I was feeling anxious, one of the easiest was going for a cup of tea and a hug with my Mum, which is out of the window. Borrowing a dog for a walk and play? Nope. Meeting a friend to get out of my own head and space? Also no. 

You Feel Alone 

I completely get this because it’s easy to feel alone in all this. BUT I can promise you that you’re not. 

You’re really, really not.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Seven - Little Wins

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Seven – Little Wins

Yesterday I fell asleep at 8.30pm, hence there lack of blog and I think I needed it. While I have been going to bed earlier I’ve felt absolutely exhausted and I think that’s to do with my mental health.

A lot of people are struggling mentally right now and it makes total sense as to why. Even people who don’t live with mental health difficulties are finding it tough right now, which is completely valid. That said, I’m fine to admit that I am mentally struggling, as I said before a lot of my mechanisms aren’t available right now.

It’s because of this that I’m focusing on the small wins every day. Today I’ve managed to get up, get showered, get dressed, eat fairly regularly and work. It might not sound like much but having some kind of motivation was great.

Getting big wins can feel pretty impossible for most of us right now. So by focusing on something as small as getting showered and dressed in the morning, getting a little work done or something that we enjoy should be enough.

I set out the 4 things that I want to do every day and I’m trying to stick to them as best I can it gives me something to aim for that doesn’t take much out of me. At the end of the say I’m still living with a chronic health condition and a mental illness. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not superhuman, that I have to do what I have to do.

What are your little wins?