If Wellbeing was a choice, something we could pick each day, then everything and everyone encountered would fill our hearts with joy and in moments of darkness, we would know a light still shone. I wish this was a choice that was easy for each and every one of us, every day, but with 1 in 4 people that now suffer with a mental health problem this is a choice that can seem untouchable.
After months of psycho-therapy for anxiety and depression, I sit here reflecting on how far I have come with the help and support of an amazing team of professionals from Efficacy and Nuffield Health and some of the best friends and family a girl can have.
I have blogged about anxiety disorder, something that has been lurking in the shadows and tapping me on the shoulder for many years in a very subtle way. I have learnt that the more you bury emotions and thoughts, the more they begin to manifest themselves in challenging ways and it took two wonderful women in March, who I had connected with through work to spot the signs and get me help.
I almost don’t recognise the person I was back in May this year that sat in her CBT session and wrote, ‘There is no point being here’. Even writing that now brings a tear to my eye and yet it still took weeks after that sunny day in May to finally press the ‘pause’ button and heal my mind.
My weekly CBT sessions had focused on my anxiety over cancer and the fear of it coming back. After dengue fever in the March and tough times at work, it felt like I was no longer welcome in this world. My emotions and thoughts were spilling out of me and I withdrew from everything and most people I knew.
After months of panic attacks, constant anxiety and worry about life, relationships, health, work, I called a dear therapist, who helped me to take the brave step and finally put my hands in the air and surrender to the depression and anxiety. Suicidal thoughts and even writing the note in my head was the final straw…. I felt so frightened of life itself. I didn’t recognise the hands on the steering wheel shaking with panic as I drove away from work that July morning.
Physically, I suffered with stomach pains, constant sensations of nausea, lack of energy, binge eating, sugar craving and throat tightening. Emotionally, I was angry, upset, tearful and scared and thoughts to match.
I had choices, yet, the choice of complete wellbeing, still felt out of touch. I so passionately believed in wellbeing and it is the best professional role I have ever done in my life. I was truly practising wellness for mind, body and soul – I just hadn’t fully grasped it …. Have I ever really had wellbeing?
I continued to stare at my vicious little flower and a 10-day silent meditation retreat gives plenty of time and space to do that. It has been my biggest challenge and most brutal experience I have ever encountered sitting with my emotions and thoughts – I literally was scared of my own shadow.
Through my weekly CBT sessions we’ve explored childhood, belief patterns, traumas, relationships, emotions and behaviours. I have learnt that wellbeing is truly an inside job.
“Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world”
I am deeply grateful for all the love, kindness and support I have had from a circle of people I had the courage to tell at the time. Thank you x
For further reading and support on mental health, please hook in with the following useful resources:
Professional Help and Support:
Efficacy – CBT Therapy
Nuffield Health – Links to emotional wellness and resilience
Mind – Charity supporting mental health
Time to Change – Campaign to end mental health discrimination
The Well of Being – Jean Pierre Weil
The Chimp Paradox – Dr Steve Peters
Peace of Mind – Thich Nhat Hanh
Calm – Michael Acton Smith
Frazzled – Ruby Wax
The Pressure Principle – Dr Dave Alred
The Wisdom of Healing – David Simon, M.D
Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
Retreats and nourishing acts of kindness
Life by Danielle – Weekly tools, life coaching and retreats
Traditional Yoga – Registered Charity that offer meditation weekends, retreats, resources and great tea!
Soulstice Wellbeing – A place to unwind, relax, enjoy a yogi tea and treat yourself to a class, or treatment