On January 25th Bell Canada are running their ‘Let’s Talk’ day where they donate money to Mental Health initiatives.
“In the UK, Canada, the USA and much of the developed world, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability among people aged 15 to 44.” Medical News Today
I love that they are raising awareness to ‘mental disorders’, and I also have to admit that there is something that makes me feel really uneasy about the whole topic. A ‘disorder’ insinuates that your mental health happens to you and isn’t in your control.
Let me wind back a little so you don’t think that I’m belittling the issue of Mental Health. I’m not.
I’ve lived with the effects of mental health. I’ve seen the benefits and downsides to using prescribed medication. My Dad was on it for many years when I was a kid. I was raised hearing about the depression in my family and how it’s in my genes.
Surely it was my destiny…or was it?
I refused to believe that being depressed was part of my life path, so I did everything I could to make sure it wasn’t going to get me!
These 10 habits pulled me back to the sunny side when black clouds were beginning to move in:
- Exercise – the more strenuous the better. It made me feel alive and strong.
- Eating fresh food
- Staying away from TV, especially the news
- Choosing how I spend my time and who I spend it with
- Getting enough sleep – even though I still manage to have bags under my eyes regularly 🙁
- Focussing on things I’m grateful for every day – most important on the tough days
- Seeing new places and having new experiences
- Having time in my schedule so I can be spontaneous
- Seeing friends – old or new (being a member of a club or group even)
- Committing to something regularly that involves showing up (FB group/Running Club for example)
These are all healthy habits, but the real life changer was when I did some ‘work’ to heal my story. When I say work, this didn’t involve hours of journalling or hanging out in a sweat lodge!
It did mean that I worked with a coach on the stories in my head. Yes, there were tears! Many tears. I listened to myself talking about how I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough… and how the words and events that had hurt me as a child were still affecting me today.
Imagine, hanging on to beliefs from 40 years ago!
My kids were suffering because I wasn’t dealing with my ’emotional baggage’ and being the Mum they needed me to be. Sound familiar?
Just like everything, your emotions (and your stories in your head) need a good clean up!
They’re only telling you half the story
Whenever I hear about ‘mental health’ studies and talks being given about how to have good mental health, they talk about some of the points above – they don’t mention the emotional clear out though – and that’s why I feel uneasy about it.
I feel that you are only being given half the story. Giving you medication before you’ve tried these other things is disempowering you.
This blog isn’t meant to be knocking any sort of medical treatment or psychology, because I don’t know those fields. What I do know is that your mental health is within your power to look after. You can take charge of it and not have to deal with side effects.
Depression isn’t something you just wake up with one morning. It worsens over time if you don’t do anything to stop it. I see it in the same way as gaining weight. It creeps up on you gradually and then one day you realize you don’t fit into anything – and it feels really bad!
Try the 10 things I’ve listed in this blog, and if you need support and you’re ready to stop passing on your emotional baggage to your kids – lets talk!
I’ve made free time in my calender to get you back on track. You don’t need to be ‘depressed’ or about to go to the doctor, you might just feel like life is heavy and you can’t do it on your own.
If your kids don’t want to spend time with you – then thats them telling you that your ’emotional baggage’ is affecting them to. It’s time to deal with it! Let’s talk!