Lockdown stress & mental health, my Journey

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 “Meditation is the only freedom, as it is a dimension beyond the mind. All the stress & struggle are in the mind”  -Sadhguru

The lockdown is proving to be challenging to even the most “grounded” among us. We should be patting ourselves on the back for following through and putting the health needs of others, especially the vulnerable, first. 

Having a mental ailment, at the best of times is challenging.  Now we are facing an entirely new experience but Instead of caving in, as I was beginning to do, when stress became overwhelming, I made a decision to seek out help, knowledge and support for myself…. not from a doctor or therapist….. ME!

There are several ways in which I have gone from a sobbing mess because my kids were bickering for the tenth time, to feeling complete calm, balance and a lack of thoughts that are toxic. 

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ANOREXIC TO ENTREPRENEUR

I have battled eating disorders and alcohol addiction for many years, so I have personal experience of mental health. Being less than a year in to recovery, I am still on the journey of healing and self discovery. 

It really can feel like, your mind is being “taken over” at times and that can cause extreme inner conflict. As many of  you, I too, am at home with two little ones and have been tested beyond belief. Kids are kids and they are struggling too with this  huge change and  looking for reassurance from us. 

I really don’t think that being at home is the issue, the issue is within ourselves. If we had inner peace, then it would not matter what our external enviroment is doing!

It is my mission, to find HOW and WHAT I need to do, in order to create inner peace that is not affected by my own inner noise, kids, lockdown, job or anything outside of myself.

I HAD TO MAKE A CHOICE!

For myself and possibly any other physical or mental illness ( excluding genetically induced ailments) it is my thinking that caused a physical reaction…. starvation!! 

Being early in to my recovery from alcohol addiction on top of eating disorders, the mere act of stopping the negative behaviours, i discovered, was only the first step. So when I began experiencing stress, anger, resentment & unpleasant feelings inside that literally come from nowhere , It was clear, that my mind and how I was thinking was causing all of these emotions. Getting “rid” of the behaviour left me exposed to all those inner feelings, I was escaping from. So I had two options… either run back in to another hole for a false sense of peace or man up and keep walking in the right direction. Th direction for me, was and is….. spirituality  and understanding the universe inside and around me.

A NEW PATH

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There are so many ways to refocus the mind and take yourself away from helplessness and anxiety or depression and anger to a place that is intentionally focused on those things in life, the simple things….. a funny movie, a walk outside, a ten minute meditation, drinking water, a nutritious meal  and looking outside yourself and look around.  The more I was feeling anxious or sad the worse the feeling grew because I felt helpless and at the mercy of my emotions and thoughts. A slight shift in attitude and what I spent my time DOING and NOT ALLOWING my attention to stay in a negative space, the easier it became to do it.

You may feel like you don’t want to, you are too busy, you have kids or feel too depressed etc. Ask yourself….. can you afford not to! Get the kids involved, there are lots of great mindfulness and yoga apps on youtube such as cosmic kids. prepare a meal with them that’s fun and easy. 

The great thing about keeping it simple, is it doesn’t cost a lot! A walk in the fresh air is free, sitting still and listening to the noises around you is free also….. A first step can be just simply, looking online…. look up mindfulness, easy healthy ideas and beginners yoga…. then the second step is to do one thing first…. take a short walk and so on. 

DONT SUFFER IN SILENCE

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For myself, having had anorexia for over twenty years, I didnt want to discuss this latest relapse with family and friends. They all knew obviously, but it was sort of considered "normal" now because it had been so long. The people around me felt powerless, so little was said. 

I decided to seek out support for myself and i found that within online communities. If you are struggling with mental health either talk to a friend or family member or, if like myself, you would rather not, you can take responsibility for yourself by gaining support outside of your immediate circle. Its often easier to open up with others in similar curcumstances as you can relate with true understanding. Its also a way of being there for someone else, which can shift that inner mindset, to see that others are also hurting and that you are not alone. The charity "mind" is a place to go online. Also check out any groups on social media.

Whilst it is a new situation we are all facing at home. This is not the reason why, those with mental health issues are struggling. Look at it more as an opportunity to do that inner work. Once you begin to feel less tormented inside, being home all day is more bareable and you are able to face any challanges with children , work and finances. This is not a generalised statement and their are exceptions for those who have absolutely no control due to genetics and other factors. The majority of mental illness however can be eased within the self and i have first hand experience of that. Its a relief actually to know, that healing, can be achieved within ourselves. It is certainly not our fault and there are many reasons why we become this way but dwelling on those reasons will not benefit us. What we can do is heal those inner wounds by doing the inner work to free ourselves, take responsibility and not let mental illness, anxiety or stress get the upper hand.

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