My mental health has been (and still is!) an arduous process. Anxiety, depression, and addiction are deeply seeded in my family’s DNA. I know these disorders are prevalent in our society as a whole. I am using this entry as a means of making this issue clearer in my own mind. If feelings or problems are not your cup of tea, you may want to pass this one by. I will get back to posting about gardening and parenting soon.
Anxiety has been my primary disability for years. I operate at a heightened state of alert that does not allow me to inhale or exhale fully. A lot of my self-care continues to go into attempting to let go of this ever-present tension, and remembering to breathe to get oxygen to my brain. (I wish I was jesting.)
I tend to be less self-aware when depression is creeping back. For me, it often surfaces as trying not to feel. I will sleep a lot or numb-out on social media. I am an optimistic and busy person by nature, so anxiety is easier for me to accept than despondency.
Self-awareness of my addictive tendencies has allowed me to side-step the chemical dependency many grapple with. However, I am a compulsive person. As a compulsive eater, I have found sugar to be a very effective mode of numbing feelings. I made a vow to adopt a clean-eating life-style a couple months ago; so that is no longer an option when I am feeling the need for escape. My latest compulsions are essential oils and podcasts… not all compulsions are negative!
So I am coming full-circle back to self-care. It is interesting, self-care is easier for me when I am already feeling good. When I am most down, most in need, it is the most difficult for me to implement. Case in point, last night I was at the center our family frequents for therapy. My daughter had an appointment, and I was considering taking a bio mat session. My thinking went, “I don’t want to waste a bio mat session when I have such a severe headache.” My daughter pointed to the bio mat poster in the office that listed “alleviates headaches” as one of its uses. I had the session and felt better. My point being, it is so easy to snowball in the downward spiral. When I am low, I don’t want to do anything, however that is exactly the time I need to take steps to help myself.
I feel I vacillate between attempting CONTROL (anxiety) and attempting ESCAPE (depression). There is certainly much I have little control over and escaping feelings is a loosing battle. Yesterday the words that kept swirling in my head were surrender and release. I often joke that I am a zero or ten girl–all in or all out. It is very difficult for me to “just be”. My current goal for myself is to surrender. It is a work in process, but awareness is a good starting point.