Today I am happy to feature a wonderful and strong women on my blog: Sophie Holmes from “Mummy of a Square Peg“. She writes about life with a child with autism, but also had to fight Depression and Anxiety in the past (and still has to sometimes). In this post she describes, how she dealt with it and how her life has changed since then. Give her a head’s up and check out her blog and social media:
And now: Enjoy the read!
The first thing I want to say is that it is completely possible to learn to manage anxiety and depression to the point where you can enjoy life again. When life’s challenges do raise their ugly heads then, you can confidently deal with them and smack them out of the park. That said, I have only found this out recently. Having suffered from anxiety and depression for the past two years, I thought that it was just something that I would have to learn to live with and that I could battle on through it, it wouldn’t defeat me because I’m a strong person…..ermmm NO! That is absolutely NOT what would happen. You see, I just gradually went down and down and down until I started having panic attacks and freaking out in a shopping centre. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I love a bit of retail therapy and I would always shop as a means to lift my mood. Now I was getting angry if I was stood in a queue, if someone stepped in front of me, if there were too many people in the shop, if the displays were untidy, if I couldn’t find the size I wanted. I could feel the rage building inside me. Even then it took an amazing friend of mine to sit me down to make me see that something was really wrong.
What is CBT and how can it help?
From that point on I decided to take time off from work to give myself time to get better. The first step I took was to phone the depression and anxiety service and I enrolled on a group CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) course. The second thing I did was to book an appointment with a hypnotherapist who was recommended to me by my friend.
Initially I was a bit sceptical about the CBT course but actually it was really very good. For me, the best thing about it was meeting other people who were going through the same thing. When you’re in the thick of depression you’re convinced that you’re the only one going through it but nearly everyone you speak to has had some sort of ‘episode’ at some point in their life so they completely understand where you’re coming from and that is really reassuring. On the CBT course we covered a variety of topics such as dealing with negative thoughts, overcoming fears and phobias, assertiveness etc. It also provided us with practical strategies for these and a booklet to take home that I consult whenever I notice that things are going down again.
Can hypnotherapy really work?
So, onto hypnotherapy, before you say anything, it is nothing to do with swinging watches and I will not dance like a chicken everytime someone clicks their fingers. The hypnotherapist will put you into an REM sleep cycle through guided stories. The REM sleep cycles help you to process the stresses of each day, so if you’re not sleeping well at night then the stresses won’t be processed and you wake up the next day still as stressed as the day before. She also gave me an audio track to download to listen to at night, although now I play it whenever I’m feeling a bit stressed and it just brings my stress levels down a notch.
How self care can help
The other thing that I have learnt is the importance of self care. You absolutely MUST set aside time each week to do something that you enjoy. For me, those sorts of things are reading a book, doing exercise classes, writing my blog and having a really deep bubble bath whilst listening to my relaxation track from the hypnotherapist. As a full time secondary school teacher and a mother of two boys (one with special needs) I had completely neglected myself and this had a huge detrimental affect on me. Eventually I didn’t want to do anything at all and even getting myself dressed was a monumental effort. So now, even when life gets ridiculously busy and hectic I will at least squeeze in a quiet ten minutes to read a book.
So this is my journey so far with depression and anxiety (something that I thought would never affect me). If you’re going through something similar then remember that you are absolutely not alone so please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Whilst I still have some wobbles I am a 1000 times better than I was before Christmas and I can now enjoy many more things in life. I never want that Black Dog to get so big again.—
Thank you Sophie for giving us such a personal insight into your struggles with Depression and Anxiety. I am glad that you could make it work and found a way to revive a little bit from it. Even if there might not be a way to completely recover, it is important to know that there are ways that can make life easier and a little bit brighter. I really loved reading this post myself, so I hope everyone who comes by also does.