So the start of spring is almost upon us and with it, for me at least, brings lots of plans, motivation and a fresh outlook on life.
I’ve tried plenty of different ways to cope with my mental illness in the past. Talking therapies have helped to some extent at points, and it’s true that a problem shared is a problem halved, even writing posts about it have helped me to feel less alone.
I’ve been on medication before, on two separate occasions, and it’s helped me to get out of very low points I found myself in. I was on them for six months of Benjamin’s pregnancy, only weaning myself off a few months prior to his birth.
Now suffering with a mixture of the depression I’ve lived with over half my life and a newly diagnosed anxiety, it’s sometimes hard to see the positives even though I know there are many in my life.
Spring isn’t just a time for celebrating mothers, school holidays and eating lots of Easter eggs, the extra hour of sunlight and change of season brings about brighter, lighter days with blue skies, and pushes away some of the negativity.
I’ve suffered with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) alongside depression for as long as I can remember. It was always there, getting worse in autumn and slowly getting better as spring rolled round. When at school I would look out my window every morning and if there was one single cloud in the sky I would know that the day would be a bad one (I am not as bad these days, but when I’ve had a bad day I can almost guarantee that it will have also been grey and miserable outside).
After a few very low months, I am really trying to fight and I am on a waiting list for some specialist counselling, to try and deal with some childhood issues that have yet to be brought to the surface. In the meantime I am trying to tackle depression in other ways, without resorting to going back on medication just yet.
The main thing I am doing is reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. Self help books are by no means a new thing, but they are brilliant for someone, like me, who loves to read, and loves to take a practical approach to battling my thoughts. At the moment I am reading Happy by Fearne Cotton, and getting ideas for small positive changes from ‘You’, but I will be visiting the library to get more.
I am also trying to push myself into being more sociable, as my illness has made me more and more of a recluse lately. I’m going to attempt to join a buggy walking group of mums I saw advertised locally and return to the gym for my favourite Piyo class. Exercise is a really good way to combat depression. It’s a natural way to boost seratonin and, although I often don’t feel like it especially after a bad day, I know deep down it can really help. The buggy class is a triple whammy as it involves exercise and socialising with other mums, whilst at the same time being outside in fresh air and getting that all important vitamin D!
I’m signing the kids up to classes too, as I don’t feel I do much with them one on one. Carly’s going to be going street dance, Cameron will be starting martial arts, and Benjamin is going to be going along to a baby class with me.
I’m excited but terrified at the same time, although my health visitor has agreed that this is the best way to overcome things, by charging in head first. It will also help me to make the most of the time with the children. It’s still uncertain whether I will be able to afford to return to work, but if I can, it means I might only have a few months left at home being able to spend quality time with them. Spending time with the children helps me focus on the positives in my life.
I also want to be more sociable with my friends. I’ll make no secret of the fact that I don’t have many friends left in my life these days, but those I do have I rarely seem to spend time with, even the ones who live nearby. By making plans I will give myself more things to look forward to, and ultimately keeping busy keeps my mind from dwelling on the negative thoughts in my head.
With our wedding coming up in the next few months, and our uk reception just a couple of months later, not to mention everything else happening this year (Carly starts school in September, argh), I have plenty to keep my mind off things and lots of positives to focus on.