Beyond the Mind Clutter
While I'm sitting down and having time out, I am looking in awe that one of the most precious gifts I have ever received sleeping on the bean bag near by. There's a million things I could be doing in my crazy life right now, but instead I want to take in this peaceful moment and write about my recent journey in the hope others will understand that they are not alone. I tend to not blog anywhere near what I did last year, but I still tend to try and add a message from time to time. It might come across as a little negative to start, but stay with me on this!
These last few months have been that time where I have really had to stop and 'smell the roses'. My plate was getting so overflowed that I found it difficult to keep taking it all in. I was starting to drop away from commitments and just felt generally cluttered every second of the day…. and night…. I struggled to sleep because my brain was continually processing what I could be doing tomorrow… or next week… or even next month. My job was becoming increasingly stressful, especially considering I am working under someone who is very difficult to please and all the other responsibilities that come with teaching (including the extra curricular stuff like Festival of One Act Plays). And not to mention still run a home single-handedly with a child in the picture week on/ week off. Oh and the fact I get the dream of teaching GROUP FITNESS a couple of days a week (this gets me excited)!!!
Honestly, no wonder I'm so darn tired and all over the place!
Anyway, in the mist of all the craziness I really started to feel really alone, useless and like no one really could give a stuff about me. From this, I started to become so concerned about the everyday events and keeping my life, work and family afloat, that I started to lose sight of my well-being.
And then the horrid thoughts started… "you're not good enough", "why bother? no one gives a stuff about what you're doing", "if you stop now, no one is even going to care or notice", "You don't belong here"… etc… etc… Do you know how hard it is to stand in-front of a room full of 14 year old students with those thoughts running through your head? Or trying to ignore those voices and keep a positive and perky persona through an entire fitness class? Or try to explain to your daughter that you need a five minute time out to cry alone? It sucks! It's demoralising! It affects your ability to get things done and totally disproportions reality.
The only way I could fix it was to keep getting busier. Just keep the mind focused…. just keep slapping a bandaid on that emotional wound…. it doesn't matter right? And then imagine all the everyday demands and stresses piling on top of that…. and then the feeling of loneliness and helplessness. When you feel alone, it's hard to process that someone would understand you.
My breaking point happened when the hurtful feelings and crying took over, and when other's words felt more weighted than how they really were. I won't go into too much, because I want to keep some aspects of the journey to myself, but you get the drift. I realised at that point, it was time to get help. Getting that help was the best thing I could do for myself. I'm not saying I'm swimming in a bed of roses right now, but I can at least smell them a little better now.
So if you're reading this and feel like this is speaking to you right now, can I assure you that you're not alone? Can I also assure you that if you haven't spoken about it, to JUST DO IT. Letting it out to someone close (or a counsellor) is the most liberating thing you can do. Beyond Blue provides a great guideline of what is depression:
A person may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, he or she has felt sad, down or miserable most of the time or has lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and has also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.
It’s important to note that everyone experiences some of these symptoms from time to time and it may not necessarily mean a person is depressed. Equally, not every person who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.
- not going out anymore
- not getting things done at work/school
- withdrawing from close family and friends
- relying on alcohol and sedatives
- not doing usual enjoyable activities
- unable to concentrate
- lacking in confidence
- 'I’m a failure.'
- 'It’s my fault.'
- 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'
- 'I’m worthless.'
- 'Life’s not worth living.'
- 'People would be better off without me.'
- tired all the time
- sick and run down
- headaches and muscle pains
- churning gut
- sleep problems
- loss or change of appetite
- significant weight loss or gain
There are also heaps of organisations that you can get in touch with for counselling, advice or any other crisis help (particularly if you're having thoughts of suicide). These people make it their life's work to help individuals through depression and personal crisis and are willing to provide a safe and positive environment to help you. I'm sure there are heaps more, but these are the main ones!
BEYOND BLUE: 1300 22 4636
LIFE LINE: 13 11 14
VETARANS & VETARANS FAMILIES COUNSELLING SERVICE: 1800 011 046
KIDS HELPLINE: 1800 55 1800
HEAD SPACE: www.headspace.org.au
SALVATION ARMY: http://salvoscounselling.salvos.org.au/
The important lesson that you need to remember is to recognise the signs that you need help and do it no matter how awkward or embarrassed you feel about doing it. Ultimately, in order for you to be a blessing for others, you need to be happy and healthy within yourself. Remember that despite those voices, feelings and thoughts, you are loved, important, amazing and deserve to feel the awesomeness that everyone else sees in you!
Have a lovely night and love to you all!