The Flip Side - This guy
Posted by AliceRitaK
3rd Sep 2016

Quite often my posts here are descriptions of my struggle with depression and anxiety. I've been tied up in knots of late grappling with the tail end of my marriage. I'm divorced but not yet completely disentangled.

This week I've managed to think about my situation and have followed the recovery practices that I've learnt along the years courtesy of good professional advice from psychiatrists, psychotherapists and sponsors. This week the strategies have worked for me and I want to share the flip side here to show that depression and anxiety don't always win the battle and don't always rule my life.

My first antidote is the gorgeous Jack whose photo is attached to this blog. When I bought him I had made a conscious decision to confront my phobia of dogs. I thought the only way to reduce my anxiety would be to get a dog. I had reached a point where I would have to cross the road if I saw one as I was beginning more and more to hyperventilate and panic attacks were becoming more frequent. So I bought Jack as a puppy and the growing bond and human canine journey has been truly worthwhile.

This little chap keeps me warm when the days are cold, snuggles on my feet and licks my hand on the days I'm blue. This guy gets me out of the house and into the park in all weather and as a result encourages me to interact with fellow dog walkers which is always good for me. Left to my own devices I would probably decide to hide and shut myself away from the world. So even on the days when I feel heavy limbed and don't want to move I know I have a responsibility to him to take him on that walk, feed him, groom him and play with him.

There is a strong bond between humans and dogs and an exchange of oxytocin through touch. So when I stroke him those happy chemicals pass between us and my mood lifts. I think he is one of the best choice I ever made and I would love for him to understand how important he is to me and I'm hoping he senses it anyway.

This week I've also started writing my diary again, availing myself of my Melody Beattie beyond codependency daily readings to drag my thinking away from my obsession with my ex.

I have been frustrated with limited physical movement following a fall that resulted in a torn knee ligament, bruised/fractured ribs and a bruised lining on one of my lungs. The knees have been painful and I've been demoralised by how this has restricted me and perhaps made me aware of my ageing. So this week I made a conscious decision to go to an Acquafit class and I found it immensely beneficial. I was able to move so much more easily and therefore exercise the muscles that support my knees. The music was uplifting and being with a group of people doing the same thing was also soothing in its own right. I intend to go back. I was surprise by the good it did me.

I also attended a Tai Chi class and I recalled doing this some 9 yrs ago as an inpatient at the Priory. I thought things over and decided that those lessons and classes were offered to me for a reason. So why should I not do these things now in the outside world? Within about 5 minutes I felt my anxiety lessen and my breathing calm. I spoke with the instructor and have confirmed I will be doing the practice weekly, if not more.

I've seen my GP too and discussed the possibility of reducing my anti anxiety meds and replacing them with the Tai Chi. Since I am new to the area we have agreed to work out a plan in the new year. I feel as if I am taking control of my life and am pleased that I am making decisions. It increases my self esteem and I grow a little taller.

Generally I have learnt to follow a 24 hour programme, to keep my thoughts in the day. I find that if I wander too far off centre the discomfort returns. This week has been about recovery for me and it's worked for me this week. I want to share it with you. I hope something will resonate.

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