What Makes Me Happy?
Posted by ashleegrayce
10th Jun 2018

“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” — Stephan Hoel

Depression is not something that I’m going to get over overnight; it’s an ongoing battle. After being made aware of the panic attacks, it took me a long time to educate myself about how I could control the attacks when they did happen. And of course there will be times when I won’t be able to control them (that’s the fun of panic attacks!), but if I can find things that make me happy and help me to heal, then at least it’s a start!

Whilst I was in process of visiting the Mental Health Unit, receiving my weekly one-to-one sessions, I came across exercises that would go on to help me when I was alone at home or, even worse, in public. I’ve noted two of these exercises below:

1. The Breathing Square – Imagine a square. First, focus on the upper left corner of the square. As you inhale, move your gaze smoothly to the upper right corner. As you hold, bring your gaze to the lower right corner. As you exhale, move your gaze to the lower left corner. And, to complete the cycle, as you hold bring your gaze to the upper left corner. Repeat. Personally, I breathe in for 15 seconds and then out for 15 seconds, but whatever feels comfortable to you.

2. Cognitive Restructuring – Focusing on Depression – Is the process of identifying and changing any inaccurate or negative thoughts. I have provided a link below that provides you with step by step instructions and also explains what each step means. It was used frequently during my therapy and has helped me a lot over the past few months! (

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” — Christopher Ree

Over the next few months, after completing my therapy sessions, I would spend time trying to find things that would make me feel good, that would inspire me, and make me excited for the future. Unexpectedly, one of those things was gardening.

Gardening and yoga have become my main sources of therapy. They have provided me with the ability to switch off from things that are stressing me out. Obviously, gardening has its challenges: seeds not sprouting, bedding coming under attack by insects and bugs, and the unpredictable British weather! However, these problems are things that can be resolved promptly with a little bit of research and some pre-planning. Plus, simple yoga can be done almost anywhere!

No matter how you might feel today or tomorrow, please remember that someone out there (including me!) does care about you.

With love,

A x

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