For many years, mostly in my 20s and 30s, I suffered from a lot of depression. It came in bouts at different times. It would come at times for days, sometimes it would last a few weeks, and sometimes just a day or so. Some days it was worse than others, some days I could hardly get out of bed, others it was just as if a black cloud was hovering over me all day. I would have a washing machine in my stomach with anxiety and I would cry at the drop of a hat. Other times it went in deeper and I would feel like I was in a really dark space with some very dark thoughts. In those times I could really withdraw into myself.
I am certain that depression it is different for many people and it definitely comes in all different forms. For me, I often tried to mask it with food, alcohol, and smoking. It hit me bad when I had my babies and it took the form of Post Natal Depression. The first time I had it, I didn’t even know I had it. I just thought life was grey and that was it. It sucked. It comes from nowhere often and you just wake up in the morning and don’t feel like getting up. I often cried a lot and withdrew from society. I also often put a smile on my face so no one would know. It was exhausting. I honestly thought, this is life and this is how it is. This is how I shall be for the rest of my life. My glass was definitely half empty.
Fast forward into my life now. I no longer suffer the big black dog days. Honestly, I could not tell you the last time I felt really bad. I did go through grief earlier this year but that wasn’t depression, it was grief. And I worked through that. The black dog days are in the past for me now. It has been a good few years so I feel safe now.
So how the hell did I go from being so miserable inside, relying on anti-depressants, drinking every day and binging on sugar most days to a person who feels energetic, grateful, joyful and happy in my own skin? Sure I do have down moments like most people but they pass real quickly and I give them very little attention.
I did ONE thing. I changed ONE thing in my life. One tiny little thing was all it took. It was the catalyst for so many other changes in my life.
I WENT FOR A WALK. That was it. Truly! I had been in a session with my counselor and I told him I had dreams, I wanted to move to New Zealand, and I wanted to feel I could. At that point, I knew I didn’t have the courage. I was far too “sick” in my head to do anything that drastic. He saw something in my soul that day. He wanted to help me. I saw him wanting to help me. He saw something that meant I NEEDED to go to New Zealand.
He asked me what exercise I did and I told him I was allergic to exercise. I had no idea the link between mental health and exercise. I always thought exercise was just another form of self-punishment and I already had many of them in my life. So I was good there thank you. But he told me just to go for a walk with my friend.
To humor him, more than anything really, I did. I went for that walk. And to my surprise I really enjoyed it. And straight away I noticed the endorphins. So I did it again, and again, and before I knew it I had found the bug for exercise. Very quickly after that was when I found my trusty Powerhooping.
Since then I have gone on to form all sorts of habits, which support my mental health, and I eliminated many habits, which were holding me, back. I have since stopped drinking alcohol, smoking and no longer controlled by food.
The key is to get moving. No matter how that looks for you. I also know how hard this is when you are feeling depressed. BUT the payoff is immediate. The results are mindblowing. There is an exercise for everyone out there. And the key is to find something you enjoy doing. Enjoy it enough to want to do it. I would sing this song to ANYONE who struggles with mental health issues. Even if you don’t, we should all be exercising in some way shape or form. It lifts us up into a space that feels so good.
Once you establish this one habit, the others will fall into place too. It is natural to want to keep improving once you start to feel even a little bit better. You can start by looking at your food intake, your mindfulness practices, your sleeping etc. It took me a while to build everything in. BUT now I am here, I will never ever look back.
So get out there and get moving. And honestly, it won’t be long until you start to feel a little bit better.
I have created a program with YOU in mind. It is to help you get that going with those good habits. It is called 21 Healthy Happy Habits and you will LOVE this. The program includes all the habits I have incorporated into my life which have transformed my life.
Check it out here