Hello Sweet Peas. It’s been a minute.
I’m sorry to all my weekly readers that there hasn’t been a post in nearly a month.
And I also apologise if this post is a little rambly, but I need to get this post out there and I need to say what I am about to write.
I’m hoping that this post will not only be educational but will also clear up as to where I have been and why the blog was put on hold over August.
This is a hard post for me to write and I’ll be honest with you, this is the first time in nearly two weeks that I have found the courage/strength/motivation whatever you want to call it, to sit down and write anything.
The thing about PCOS is that it doesn’t just affect the body physically. The change in hormones and the toll the pain takes on the body can also affect you mentally.
I have been dealing with depression and anxiety from a young age. In the beginning, it was infrequent, spells of each that would last a little while and then go away. But the older I got, the more stress I was put under the longer the spells became and the less time there was between them.
Just when I think I have it under control, it finds a new way to raise its ugly head. These spells can range from feeling a little blue to being emotionally numb. My anxiety has controlled me so much in the past that when I lived alone at one point I didn’t leave the house for weeks. The problem was, at the time, I didn’t know I had PCOS. I didn’t know those feelings were being caused by hormonal imbalance and my poor diet, to me, the world just seemed to be closing in.
I’m not going to jump up and scream to the rafters that discovering my PCOS has cured me of my mental health issues. Far from it! Even with the knowledge of what is going on in my body and mind, there are times when I just don’t care and I allow the feelings to consume me. Why? Because sometimes it becomes too hard to keep fighting.
I used to beat myself up (metaphorically speaking) about these ‘breakdowns.’ But I have come to realise that, actually, it’s ok. We are all human and we cannot be expected to fight a never-ending battle all the time. It’s ok sometimes to fall off the wagon and just crash. The important part is to take care of yourself and make sure you get back up again afterwards.
Which brings me to where I have been and why I haven’t been posting. For the last few weeks, I have been having a ‘crash.’ I don’t know for sure what triggered it, but my mood went downhill fast. I suddenly could not see the point in anything. What was the point of having dreams and aspirations when all society wanted you to do was get a job in an office and work there until you died? (No kidding, this is literally the thoughts that were going through my head.) I have a weird phobia of passing time, which makes me constantly worried that I am running out of time. This, combined with my Monday Blues was a potent mix and I could not pull myself out of it.
Deciding I was never going to make it as a writer I threw out all of my notebooks, two years worth of research for my novel (even typing that still hurts) and I stopped writing. Cold turkey stopped. I couldn’t bring myself to write, I couldn’t even bring myself to read because it was like a reminder of what I would never achieve! Those who know me will tell you my life is my writing. I am nothing without my writing, I live and breath the written word. Heck, I studied it for three years at university! I went from writing over 22,000 words a week to nothing. And I have never felt more worthless.
This post is turning into more of a confession than anything else, but please bear with me.
I’ve titled this post ‘Dealing with Depression and Anxiety’ because this was how I was feeling over the last few weeks. I hit pretty much rock bottom. But at some point last week, there was a moment when I realised I needed to get up. And somehow, I starting building myself out of the darkness. And that is what I want to talk about today, even though I have been rambling for a while already. Here is my best advice for dealing with depression and anxiety.
One: Know when to stop – we live in a very fast-paced world and as a generation, we are not very good at slowing down, let alone stopping. But when you start to feel overwhelmed you need to stop. Take some time away for the things that are stressing you out. Whether it be work or a person or whatever. Even if it is for a day, stop and walk away. Someone recently told me that you cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. It’s a phrase that has really been making me think lately. Have a think about it for yourself and see if it makes you think too.
Two: Keep Control Of What Goes In – Of course, we can’t keep control of everything. Especially with a condition like PCOS, which kind of does whatever it wants too (Will my period be 5 days early or 9 days late or not at all this month? It’s like Russian Roulette). But, I have found I can control what I put into my body and I always feel so much better when I am eating relatively healthy food and staying as active as I can. For me, I know I feel crap when I eat meat, dairy and bread. Before my meltdown, I was eating all of these things on a regular basis whereas I had spent the entire previous year avoiding them. I really do attribute some of the blame for my mental health to my diet. I have now started watching what I am eating and I am already feeling so much better.
Three: Forgive Yourself – As I said before, there was a time when I would punish myself for having these spells. But, I realised I deal with a lot of crap on a daily basis. My fellow PCOS ladies will get where I am coming from when I say this condition is high maintenance, plus having to deal with everything else life has to throw at you. If I met someone who had to deal with all these problems and they were having a hard time and felt like giving up, I wouldn’t want to punish them! I would be saying it was ok, and that they needed to take some time for themselves. So why wasn’t I saying that to myself?! You are only human! There are going to be times when fighting becomes tiring and all you want to do is give in. This is not a weakness! It just means it is time to take a rest and restock so that when you are ready, you have the strength to keep fighting.
Four: Find the Harley to your Joker – I know that relationship really isn’t the best example, but it was Harley Quinn who said you have to find someone who is the same kind of crazy as you. It’s a quote my best mate and I had a laugh about recently because it is true. To survive the darkness of mental health you need to have someone in your life who understands. My best friend is my lifeline. I honestly don’t know how I survived 23 years without him. He encourages me to pursue my dreams, he is there whenever I need him and he is all ears whenever I need to talk and moan and rant. But then he is also someone I want to share my good days with too. Find someone in your life who will bring you back from the brink on your darkest days.
Five: Ask For Help! – I cannot stress this one enough. If you are struggling and you don’t know how to get yourself out of the hole, ask someone for help. Whether it be your friends, parents, doctor, ask! Don’t suffer in silence, it will only grow and fester and slowly tear you down. If you don’t want to talk to people face to face there are numbers you can call and speak to someone anonymously.
Six: Fight, Girl Fight! – When all is said and done, the only one who can make a difference in your life is you. You have to take that first step to take back control. It’s not easy, and yes you will probably fall a few times then a few more, but you have to fight. You can’t let these feelings define who you are. These emotions are just part of your story they are not its conclusion. Take the time you need to recuperate your strength, but then you get back up and you fight again because life is beautiful and you are amazing and there is still so much you have to do and accomplish. But you are only going to accomplish those things if you pick yourself back up.
Thank you so much for reading this post. I feel like I was pretty much addressing myself through most of it and I know my best friend is reading this right now thinking, ‘For goodness sake, take your own advice!’ I am trying, and sitting down and writing this was one of my first big steps to picking myself back up.
I will say, however, that I am not going to be doing weekly blog posts for a while. I will be posting, but just as and when I feel I have the time and the headspace to write.
Thank you again for reading and if you are one of my Sweet Peas thank you for supporting my blog by following. If you are not yet a Sweet Pea click that follow button to keep updated with all my future posts.