They just make me worse
Posted Thursday 19 April 2012
Spilling a tub of yoghurt on a clean kitchen floor was the moment I knew I had a serious problem. I collapsed into a flood of tears that just wouldn’t stop.
As a single mum with two girls aged five and three at the time, life was extremely hard. I couldn’t take it anymore.
That day I went to my Doctor. I didn’t tell her that for the past five years I’d been living on about two hours sleep a night, that I had no energy, could barely cope and didn’t want to live anymore.
I was so worried my children would be taken away from me. ‘They’ would decide that I wasn’t capable of looking after them.
The next day after only two hours sleep and more suicidal thoughts. I had to go back to my doctor and tell her the truth. I was too scared not to – my girls might not have a mum if I didn’t get help. And now. So began my journey on prescribed drugs for the next four years.
As my GP handed me my first prescription, she said that taking antidepressants was not the long-term answer and that I would also need therapy. I didn’t feel ready for that until a year later.
For the next two years, I had weekly counselling sessions. It took me this long to realise that the sessions were a waste of time. All I did was spend every session figuring out why I behaved the way I did. Analysing each situation, each conversation. It was paralysis by analysis. Problem focused.
I came to realise that I could spend years analysing every scenario that I had found distressing. Having experienced an event, a distressing event, why would I put myself through living it again?
This doesn’t mean that I forget what happened. But for me, it is far more constructive to ask “How can I feel happier now? What do I need to do to feel happy now?"
There were two major turning points on my path to recovery:
- the fundamental decision to make being upbeat a daily life priority
- discovering precisely what to do on a daily basis.
I proactively pursued a myriad of simple, effective techniques and strategies that were solution-focused and that can protect you from the knocks of life. Among other things, these included methods for dealing with worry and anxiety, raising self-esteem and confidence levels.
I did nutrition courses to learn about which foods can improve mood. I exercised regularly - 20 minutes walking a day and took courses in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). NLP is about re-programming destructive and harmful language, thought patterns and beliefs to ones that enhance the way you feel.
Within five months, and with the full knowledge and support of my wonderful GP, I was off the antidepressants. However, we are all unique and timescales for one person will be different from another’s. We need to respect our uniqueness and work at a pace that is right for us.
I felt compelled to share my learnings with others. A deep desire that I have had ever since. I know what it feels like to be in that hell, that dark, cold place. I wanted some good to come from all the pain, anguish and trauma I had been through.
It became my passion and dream to write a book that included all of the strategies I used to recover - Moving on up was born. Whatever solutions are right for you, I want to say to you, don’t ever give up hope. We really do have the inner strength to make lasting improvements to the way we feel.
Nita is a working Mum, living in Hampshire. If you would like to order a copy of her book Moving on up via her website, email Nita with ‘Mind’ in the subject line and she will donate £1 to Mind for each copy ordered.
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