Previously, I wrote about the affects of anxiety and depression. I wrote about what they stopped me from doing and how they have limited me. Here, I’m going to show how I’ve fought back. What they didn’t stop me from doing, and what I achieved despite their affects…
How I’ve fought back against Anxiety and Depression (past and present):
- Progress: I know this contradicts what I said before, about being unable to progress when you’re feeling anxious or depressed, but forcing it really helps. This is no easy task, but progressing in any positive way helps to remind yourself that you are capable, you are living, and you can get out of this bad state towards something better.
- Acceptance: the only way to get through the illnesses, or at least suppress them, is to accept that they are there. Don’t fight them; it makes it worse. Accept that they’re there, you’re in a bad way, but it won’t be forever. Finally doing this helped me open up about A & D as well as begin fixing it through therapy and my own self-care techniques.
- Moving: you have to try to force yourself to be active. You have to go places, go for walks, exercise, stretch with yoga or pilates, and generally get your body moving. This helps with endorphins and dopamine which fights back against anxiety, stress and depression.
- Getting up: I had to force myself out of bed, even if it was just to the sofa or my mom’s bed or my partner’s house. You have to get out of that space where you allow yourself to sink, and get out of your head by being in a new space.
- Indulging: in these periods, I allow myself to be a little naughty at times and indulge, just to bring myself back to appreciating pleasure. This is with nice foods, bingeing Netflix, or something like that. It helps you remember what it’s like to feel good.
- Communicating: the best thing I ever did was speak up about how I was feeling. This was to my mom, my siblings, my teachers, and eventually several therapists at different times in my life. Once I said the words, and said them again, I was finally able to bring the illness into the light. I helped me to deal with it, accept it, and gain other people’s perspective on it, too. And of course, therapy helps so much with your own understanding, as well as techniques to help yourself cope.
- Looking inside: More recently, I think, I’ve learned that looking within helps so much with managing or alleviating mental illness. This is because I’ve been able to identify my own insecurities, recurring thoughts, fears, limitations, wants and desires by doing this. Then when you identify these things, you’re able to fix them.
- Lists: I love lists. Lists have saved me time and time again. Lists help me focus and move forwards. Lists help me gain perspective by writing out what I have, what I’ve done, and what I want. Lists are something I write every day, and with my mind (illness or not) this is life-saving.
- My craft: by never letting go of my writing, despite how far I fell, I have saved myself from drowning completely. It has been my lifeboat. It has helped me to pull my thoughts into reality, and defeat them or understand them better. It has helped me escape from my situation and just disappear into another world. And honestly, it has helped remind me that I can do something worthwhile.
- Time: the best thing you can do is give yourself time to heal. Because it does take time, but you will get better at coping.
My achievements despite the affects of Anxiety and Depression:
- Writing books: It is no easy thing to write a book. It’s a wonderful but complicated thing to do that takes a lot of discipline, revisions, and WORK. Being fragile with anxiety and depression made doing this difficult, but on the other hand, doing this saved me, too.
- Publishing books: I’ve self-published (so this means not only writing books, but editing, designing, and marketing them, too) 3 books at various points whilst suffering from depression and anxiety in my life.
- Loving my partner: I have been unlovable, I admit, but I’m so lucky and grateful to have a partner who didn’t abandon me or make me feel bad for how I was feeling. But I am proud of myself for not pushing him away even though I felt like doing so, and for even being able to support him in his time of need when I was weak myself.
- Supporting others: whilst ill, I wrote a self-help book, and then ran a support group, and even hosted my own mental health awareness event in 2016. I was weak and unsure and barely healing, but I put my energy into supporting others and that, I believe, also helped me get out of that state.
- Travelling alone: even though my life is riddled with anxiety, I pushed myself to go and see the world. It may have been a short trip, and it may not have been as far as some people go, but I did it. It’s my achievement, and I’ll have that forever. Knowing that I can challenge myself in this way, despite “who I am” and how often I overthink myself into oblivion, is important information to know about myself.
- Travelling period: even when going away with others, I’ve had so much fear about so many things. But I’ve gone. I’ve always got on the plane.
- Doing my GCSEs (well): depressed, anxious, and barely sleeping, I completed my GCSEs to a good standard. I was sleeping in my teachers’ offices, and was given some special measures (sitting at the back) in order to do it, but I got it done.
- Doing the international baccalaureate (well): the same goes for my college level of education.
- Pursuing my dreams: I’ve not stopped; simple. No matter what comes my way, no matter how hard A & D fight against me, I’ve kept going in the pursuit of my dreams. And I know…I always will.
I hope you keep fighting, for it’s a battle that can be won. Millions win every day, and I have time and time again. Keep fighting, friend, you’re stronger than you think.
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
If you want to hire me to write about mental health (or other), then don’t hesitate to get in touch!