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02 Sep 2022 , by MummyConqueringAnxiety

Shouldering the relentless burden of anxiety and depression

There is no escaping the fact I am more susceptible than others to high anxiety levels and periods of depression.

I’m still trying to get to the bottom of why this happens to me but maybe the reason or cause of the obstacle is irrelevant and perhaps the way we handle the circumstances we face is what truly matters.

What the heavy burden of anxiety feels like

For anyone who’s had a baby, packed for a holiday with kids, moved house, decluttered, or walked a long distance with your shopping bags, you know what it’s like to carry baggage around with you.

The heavy feeling. Constantly, asking yourself, “When will this end?” Feeling like the load is too much for you to carry; when you’re getting plastic bag marks from the weight of the load. How tedious lugging around heavy boxes can be. How mentally draining it can be to have so many heavy things taking up your space. Consuming your energy. On the flip side, have you ever felt better when you’ve decluttered? When you finally put down the bags and let out a huge sigh of relief.

Mental baggage

Now apply the same logic to your mind! Carrying known anxiety triggers around with me daily, and being aware I could easily slip back into the depths of depression, is a daily struggle. It feels like I have a pouch with me at all times and if it becomes full, that’s when anxiety and depression are ready to strike. And they will, at some point. Because it’s happened to me several times before. In my more vulnerable moments – when I haven’t had enough sleep, or I am run down, I feel closer to losing my mind all over again.

My pouch of anxiety and depression

Some days the pouch is full and some days it isn’t. When I’m working at my job, trying to write for the blog and entertaining a three-year-old, naturally it’s full. When I’m relaxing on a sun lounger on holiday with a cocktail and a good book, my pouch is virtually empty. We’ve all heard people talk about family members being different when they are away on holiday. Stress doesn’t bring out our best selves and it wears us down slowly.

Even though I am taking more control over my mind and am currently doing a solution-focused hypnotherapy course. I still have the thought that something catastrophic could happen to me and it would completely tip the balance. I mean, it’s more than likely something eventually will happen. An unexpected event, a period of financial difficulty, a relative being unwell. And then where will I be?

In the lead-up to and the aftermath of my mental breakdown, I was a shell of my former self. Deeply unhappy. It felt like my brain had switched off and wouldn’t reboot. As it happens, it was at least four months before it did. I would say it took a full year to feel confident I had gained some control of my life.

Will I ever be fully recovered?

I avoid using the term “fully recovered” because I dont think I ever will be. Whilst anyone can put measures in place to deal with the stress life throws our way, we can never be certain of how we will react to unexpected events. How do we know when the stress pouch is too full?

Because a mental breakdown literally caused my life to be placed on hold for the best part of a year, there is a fear this could happen again. But would I even realise it was coming? I didn’t fully realise the stresses in my life were causing lasting damage. Even this fear is all part of the negative anxiety voice in my head, which constantly lives there. It tells me lies and keeps me from living to my full potential. I evicted it a long time ago, but it’s hard to ditch the leftover memories.

Sticking a plaster over the wounds

Nobody has removed my anxiety. The medication I take doesn’t make it go away. I am managing my symptoms daily and putting strategies in place to avoid a relapse. You know that head bobbing above water feeling? Well, that’s me. Until I take full control of my life and become more confident that I have strategies in place to empty the stress bucket, I will not be able to ditch the feeling of something dragging me down.

Is there a better way to live? I’m trying my hardest to find it. I am a positive person. As a busy mum, I take naps when I need to (even though I sometimes don’t want to). I say no to social occasions if life becomes too much (and sometimes people don’t always show understanding – but that’s on them, not me). I drink a lot less alcohol than I did before because it doesn’t help me. Alcohol causes my IBS to flare up and makes me moody and depressed. This simply isn’t fair to my little one. Keeping up with a three-year-old is hard. I would rather drink water to stay hydrated or have a cup of tea.

Is my brain broken?

Despite making progress in my hypnotherapy sessions, I can’t avoid the feeling that my brain is broken. The chemicals in my brain are off balance. My rewiring is faulty. It’s easy to blame yourself for this. Is it something I did? Hypnotherapy is teaching me it probably isn’t. I’m just having an automatic reaction in my brain to grim life circumstances.

There is hope

I figure gaining mental strength will be great for any future situations life throws at me.

The outside world is a scary place and people are correct to be cautious. But when does this slip into fear, high anxiety levels and depression? Do we actually blame anyone for wanting to hide under the duvet and not leave the house?

My suggestions for managing anxiety on a daily basis:

  • Positivity is powerful – use in it all areas of your life
  • Tell yourself, and others, positive things – positive affirmations are an amazing tool
  • Self-care – be kind to yourself and others
  • Be open and honest
  • Change your mindset
  • Live your true purpose
  • Be yourself
  • Set boundaries

Final thoughts

As well as spreading the message about such an important topic as mental health, which I know impacts more people than just me, you can find me on Twitter. Or you can visit my blog. I can’t wait to connect with you. Thanks for reading.

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