Sarah, mother of two young daughters, gives us a wonderful insight into the tools she uses to manage her anxiety and depression.
Coping mechanisms for facing and overcoming anxiety and depression are so inspiring and beautiful. Sarahs story takes you to a place of femininity, creativeness and courage.
“I have ‘battled’ with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life.
Following the birth of my youngest daughter, Sophia, I felt at a particular low point. She didn’t sleep, so sleep deprivation worsened my depression and I seemed to slip further and further into a deep depression.
I didn’t seek help for nearly a year, until I reached breaking point.
I was so ashamed and worried to tell anybody how I felt for fear they would judge me, or worse, they would think I didn’t love Sophia.
I tried for over a year to conceive and had suffered a miscarriage and I was so fearful that I’d seem ‘ungrateful ‘ for feeling so depressed at what should of been the best time of my life.”
“I remember the relief at finally opening up to my doctor about the way I was feeling
After a few months of medication I started to feel better and started to enjoy life again.
Unfortunately my condition deteriorated during the break down of my marriage and I felt increasingly anxious, finding it difficult to face the simplest of tasks. It became a struggle to get out of bed sometimes or dressed. I had some dark days. Again my doctor was extremely supportive and through talking about my problems and increasing my medication I began to recover.”
“I started to gain the courage I needed to open up to people about my challenges and was surprised to discover several people close to me were also facing challenges alone.
I’m finally in a place where I feel I can open up about the anxiety disorder I was diagnosed with and I want very much for the stigma around mental health issues to be destroyed. People need to be educated in the challenges many people face alone and that it is not as simple as cheer up or ‘look at the positives’. Statements like this are actually extremely damaging to somebody suffering from mental health challenges.”
“I was lucky that I managed to obtain the courage to speak to my doctor and family before it was too late. A sentiment I will always pass on to my little girls… that there is nothing they can’t talk to me about.
I have learnt several ways of coping with the challenges I face. I have learnt to identify certain triggers that increase my anxiety levels and I try not to avoid them all together, but face them with a different perspective.
I also find it helpful to pre plan my week in advance. I use a diary/planner to organise my coming week. I can then see any potential hurdles in advance and try to plan and prepare myself.
I set myself achievable targets to get everything needed done but also try to reward myself with special time or with something I enjoy doing. I try and allow myself me time for an hour a day. Wether this time is spent relaxing with a glass of wine, watching a movie or painting my nails, or even adult relaxation colouring.”
“I always give myself something to look forward to. E.g. A shopping trip, a visit to a friend or quality time with my fiancé. By always having this pre planned in my diary, I can easily look ahead, to something good , whenever I feel anxious or worried about daily life. I carry my diary with me everywhere.
Something I would like to achieve next, despite my challenges…Is to improve on my self confidence. My anxiety has made me have extremely low self esteem. I still have the occasional bad day or particularly anxious day but with suitable medication and coping mechanisms, as well as talking to somebody about my challenges, these bad days are overcome-able.
I will always allow myself to cry. Sometimes a release is all you need. You should never be afraid to release your feelings when necessary . I also allow myself to cry occasionally in front of my children. I want them to know that it’s ok to show your emotions and that even mummy cries sometimes. Everybody gets sad but cuddles help.”
Sarah has fantastic tools in place to help her manage her mental health challenges. Adult colouring books are becoming particularly popular in mindfulness and managing anxiety. You can find more information on adult colouring books here