#Depression Two months on… an anniversary to celebrate?

face_happyWell hello again and how time has flown!

I have been thinking about this post for several days now… whether to do it or not… would it be useful … or not…

So I am thinking that it would be pretty useful for people to see how I am getting on, what progress I have made, my challenges, what I have learnt and where I am going next. Plus, gives me an opportunity to do a mini review.

So, how are things going?

Well the first two months have been challenging, see below, though I am getting there. Starting from quite a low point has been hard…

Progress?

Through taking the initiative in researching what I was up against and then starting to put in place a variety of positive actions I have managed to improve my condition. These positive actions that have helped identify when I am vulnerable and then take the positive steps I need to take to avoid/correct that challenge.

Professional help has assisted in cementing this start. Confirming that my initial steps are on the right track and then addint to the ‘toolbox’ I have to deal with the challenges and then focus on the positives.

In following a self help route I have empowered myself. Gifting me control and ownershop.

Now I do have to add here that this is also a potentially dangerous route in that without the confirmation from professionals that what I was doing was right I could easily have headed down a route that would lead to destructive actions.

My advice therefore is to do your research, take care in who you listen to and question whether your actions are really for the best. Keeping a log of how things are going can also help with this. Highlighting what works and what does not.

What have been the challenges?

Down days have been my biggest challenge. Those days when the simplest small thing can start the snowball of negative thoughts.

Often the trigger has been lifes ‘little’ upsets. Things that seem to have gone wrong or caught me off guard.

Learnings?

During these last two months I have read a fair bit and learnt a lot.

The importance of simply eating regularly. This has been very obvious from my diary recording of mood compared to meals. When I am starting to feel down I need to consider whether I have eaten recently and if not, correct it. This helps feed my body and a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

Thinking of healthy bodies draws me on to exercise. I have to exercis regularly and quite hard to keep fit enough for my soldiering. This provided me with a big incentive to get out there and keep fit. The advantages of participating in some sort of fitness are manifold. Fitness invariably makes you feel better as your body reacts to the physical activity. It also allows you to set goals for yourself, that you are in control of. Making these achievable gives you easy quick win success, again making you feel better. Fresh air is always good. I remember being at university and enduring a slightly stressful time which a run in cool soothing rain helped to relieve.

Communication is also paramount. I know that when I am not feeling great I have a big urge to get away from everyone and find a quiet place to hide. This could not be further from being good. For me when sensing a low point coming on I know I need to start talking, texting and writing. Basically get communicating by whatever means I can. In making those connections my mind will be distracted and through my closest friends and family find help.

Smile! This sounds almost too simple. On a physiological basis when we smile we release endorphines which help us feel better.  Socially have you ever noticed that the more you smile the more people smile back at you? Go on try it.

Identify the negative thoughts and question them. Do those thoughts reflect reality?

Look for the positives that are going on around you. Often there are quite a few positives to be taken from what is happening around you. Latch on to these as they can provide the lift you need to set you on an upward trend.

Learn from the challenges and work to make things better. It’s very much like climbing a mountain. With the right equipment, tools, support and a positive mental attitude much can be achieved.

Next steps…

Keeping up with the Jones’s (is that the plural?). I have made a good start, in my opinion. Now is the time to take this good solid start and build on it.

For now I will concentrate on improving my diet to be more healthy and rounded, to continue to improve my fitness, to fight hard to identify and destroy negative thoughts and seek the positives.

My longer term aim is to take me as a person on beyond merely getting back to where I was before and reach for new heights that deep down I know I am capable of. I just need to challenge myself, believe in me and take flight!

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