9 Ideas for Emotional Self Care | Self care Series

Chronic Illnesses, Invisible illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, Well-being

What is Self care and Why is it Important? 

Self care is gender neutral and is the process of taking care of our physical, emotional and mental health.  It is important to you look after yourself to be more productive, improve your self-esteem, increase self-knowledge and being more compassionate to others.  By knowing your self-worth you will be giving off positive vibes and make you seem more attractive. Although useful sensory self-care is useful it does not necessarily address your emotions but dealing with your emotions can make you less stressed for longer.

If you are sitting there thinking self-care is selfish, well I have found valuing myself more has allowed me to give more and have stronger relationships with others.  It is easy to forget that emotions are not always good or bad, they are responses to situations that you control.  It can be easy to mask these emotions by using self-destructing mechanisms like alcohol, overeating and drugs but they are only temporary solutions.This post will a part of a 3 part series to help you with self-care ideas in loving memory of Nathan Robson. Nathan sadly lost his battle to depression aged 20 on 19/04/2018.


Emotional Self-care Ideas

  1. Keep a daily diary

Take time out of your day to record how you are genuinely feeling which can help identify the triggers of your moods and what makes you feel happier. If you are worried someone might get hold of your deeper inner thoughts put the diary in a safe place with a padlock on it the old school way or keep it password protected on your laptop. A daily diary can also help you see how far you’ve come, especially if you are working with a therapist to find the route of your problems. If you don’t know where to start try use these pointers and make your own list.

Think if you I loved myself what would I…

  • Do more of?
  • Do less of?
  • Who would I spend time with?
  • What inspires me?
  • What hobbies make me happier and how will I make time for them?
  • What goals do I want to achieve?
  • Which boundarieswill I set?
  • What actions can I take now?

diary.jpg


2. Seek Professional Support

If you don’t have anyone who you are close with seeking professional support could be a good route for you. Typically you can get up to 6 free counselling sessions through your University well being centre or the mental health charity Mind (U.K).  These free sessions tend to deal with one  problem you are facing due to the session limits.

However, you maybe entitled to free counselling in your local area through your GP about cognitive behaviour therapy, which helps retrain your way of thinking and may be more beneficial if you require longer sessions.  If you feel talking to a stranger is not for you an alternative may be discussing going on anti-depressants. However,  these take usually around 6 weeks to be effective and lose their effectiveness when combined with alcohol.


3. Practice a Healthier Diet

Food is important to fuel our day and affects our energy levels – Did you know certain foods can help induce you into sleeping or make you sleep longer? Getting enough sleep is important for the self-care triple bottom line. If you have trouble sleeping why not try one of these foods just before bed;

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Lettuce
  • Turkey
  • Tuna or other fatty fishes
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Kiwi
  • White rice

Food also impacts our moods, taking multi-vitamins will give you an extra little boost or treat yourself by indulging if your favourite desert. If you find you have little self-controland are treating yourself to often why not try replacing sugary or fatty foods with healthier snacks or drinks. Lentil crisps are packed with flavour and low in calories, smoothies, herbal tea, yogurts or egg salads.

fruits


 4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

I know comparing yourself to others is so hard, when you see beautiful people floating around Instagram and many people’s lives seem so much better. However, you are your worse own critic, deactivating social media for a while might help you to start focus on yourself.

Focus on your strengths and develop your weaknesses 

One way to identify your strengths and weaknesses is by downloading an online skill matrix.


5. Avoid Withdrawal

Most times I considered killing myself has to be to do with being alone for long periods of time and overthinking. Withdrawing from people or your surroundings are the easiest way to enter a downward spiral. Even if you don’t think being around other people is helpful to keep sight of reality subconsciously.  Avoiding withdrawal is always my biggest challenge with self care because when I feel sad I don’t want to inflict my mood onto others or socialise with them.  You may feel you have pushed most or all your friends away but you can work to overcoming withdrawal by;

  • Attend local support meetups
  • Volunteer in a charity
  • Take a random trip
  • Call a helpline
  • Buy or borrow a dog and take it for walkies
  • Reach out to old friends

6. Reminisce on old Memories

Look back at past photos and videos can really give you the feel good factor and remind you of what makes you happy. If you have time and need a hobby making these into a scrap book with quotes with lovely photos can be really fun. If you don’t have time to do this why not make albums when you upload pictures to Facebook so they are easy to find later.

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7.Let yourself Cry

No matter if you’re a man or woman letting yourself is not weak. Crying can help you let go of situations and doesn’t have to be in front of everyone else.


8.Talk to Someone

Therapy is not for everyone and sometimes talking to a stranger is helpful to get an unbiased view even if you’re on a night out. If you feel you are only temporary down a helpline can really help have someone who listen to you. However, be aware Samaritans don’t tend to give advice but just give a helpful ear.


9.Plaster on a Facemask

Buying a Facemask makes you feel good when you put it on a good one can help with your skin. I find putting on a facemask triggers a positive mood and helps me relax. My favourite ones are from LUSH which cost around £7.50. You can buy fresh ones or ones that last a little longer.  If you have sensitive skin you may want to look in the Body Shop instead as there are a small about of parabens in LUSH products.The most important thing with emotional self-care, or any self-care routine in fact is you do it consistently.

Unfortunately Nathan’s mental health deterioratedonce his therapist went on leave and there was no one to replace her.


Sharing is Caring 

Please share the love to help as many people with tips for emotional self-care. Thank you.


Have your Say

Are there any emotional self-care ideas that help you – if so why not share them below?


Related Posts

Behind the Brave Face | 7 Secret Signs of Depression

Slaying the Double Depression


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Anxiety and Depression: Adam Hughes

Guest Posts, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Peeping through the Keyhole, Uncategorized

Peeping through the Keyhole 

Hello Lovelies,

Today’s guest post  is by Adam Hughes who gives a brief insight and advice to those living or supporting someone with anxiety and depression.

my name


About the Author 

Hi, I am Adam I am 24 years old living in London. I love reading, Audio books, writing and going on long walks. To find out more about Adam click here


What are the main symptoms you suffer from?

Depressive moods

Mood swings

Lack on concentration


How was your journey to diagnosis of depression?

It took years to be able to speak to a doctor and when I did it felt a lot better, like I wasn’t battling on my own anymore.


What 5 things you have learnt about Depression and Anxiety since being diagnosed?

I am not alone

It can take over many aspects of life

It can affect others as well as yourself

Love is always a great component of healing

Strength can be found in the smallest things


In what way has the NHS supported you?

Giving me a ear to listen to my troubles through counselling


What do you find is the most challenging part about your mental health?

I find building up a happy lifestyle and keeping up with others difficult.


What emotional support do you have for your mental health?

I have many wonderful and kind friends who are always supportive


 What are 3 ways you manage your mental health on a day-to day basis?

Meditation

Walking

Relax remedy spray


What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with Depression or Anxiety?

Keep on fighting even if it feels like everything is ending


Has any perceptions changed since you’ve been diagnosed with Depression and anxiety?

I have found society perceptions on mental health has improved by being challenged.


Have you gain any new hobbies since been diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety?

A love of writing again


How has depression changed your life?

My illness took some of the most important things from me last year (2017) and it almost ruined my entire life


What information do you wish you was given when you was initially diagnosed? Counselling leaflets and advice


 What do you do for a living?

Freelance Teacher/Performer


What are your future plans in the next year?

Building up a successful teaching career

 

5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

Chronic Illnesses, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, University life

“Having a productive day is very subjective; what is productive for one person is not for another”.

Some days, I find waking up, washing and eating productive. Others assess,  I am being productive when I  do University work.  What I have noticed though – is we all have tasks that need to be completed and this can send us into panic mode. The vicious cycle, of where to start and where to finish has a ripple effect – like a child who got denied candy at the fun fair.

 If you are someone sat there reading this with a chronic illness, I am sure you have an inkling of the cycle I am talking about. If you don’t well… I sit here, in envy.   What I am going to call the ‘ torrential storm cycle’ makes you question which direction to go in first.   Anxiety and stress are no strangers, crawling around your body, taking its toll , physically and mentally.  This post is designed to stop you in your tracks, so you aren’t continuously interrogating yourself about ability and self-worth.

“I spend 90% of my time in bed, but a chronic illness does not mean accomplishing your goals are not possible”.

Achieving those goals may just take comprise, planning and longer than you anticipated.


5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

1. Evaluate tasks ft. the spoon theory

If you haven’t heard of Christine Miserandino’s Spoon theory , it is a great place to start to help you have a productive day.  The theory in a nutshell, is that anyone who is chronically ill has 12 spoons each day (each one resembling energy) and spoons are exchanged for tasks.  The amount of spoons exchanged will depend on factors such as the length of the task and how strenuous. The point here, is spoon must be used wisely so you don’t burn out. By ordering tasks by importance you can identify what needs to be done on what day and start to put a plan in motion.

spoon-theory-e1510325926400.jpg

 In reality, you may find executing a plan is not always possible. However, the spoon theory gives you a general consensus of how much you can get done in a day.

You may find – once you start having a productive day you are at the opposite end of the spectrum. At Uni, I get told a theory is just that a theory. I am taught to challenge theorists view. So it may not be a surprise to hear I wasn’t a firm believer of the Spoon theory at first.  I was so productive one day I felt on top of the world. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had completed an exam, handed in an assignment, found a job, booked a flight, travelled home from Uni and packed for a holiday and cuddled my little bunny.

Shortly, after this semester came to a close – I realised I used the reserve of spoons for months. I had to fly home 3 weeks early from working abroad, quit the job I found and was  behind in every subject at Uni. Barely, attending lectures and hospital appointments.  What I am trying to emphasise, is pushing yourself one day really can have a detrimental effect on your health.

“You need to work out what is realistic to get done in a day for YOU”.

 Which takes me to by next point…


 2. Break down tasks

 Breaking down tasks makes things more manageable.  Something,  I am training myself in like a disobedient dog. I am one of those people who seeks to think holistically to even do a task.  However, breaking down tasks can relieve stress, because you know you are achieving something – which has got to be better than nothing, right?

goal

I have found people have been more understanding about my illness when they can see that I am trying rather than wallowing in self-pity.  The amount you need to break-down a task will depend on its complexity. It may be a case of trial and error, but you know your body better than anyone in time you will have this down to a tee.

 If it’s something academic, you could try and break things down with titles and research areas and tie the ideas together later.  You may not get the best grades you are used to due to time constraints.  However, at least you will pass and can try and work harder when you are feeling a bit brighter on future work. If the task is practical, like cooking, you could do prep at a certain time and then cook later in the day.  Or if you’re a little bit cheeky – ask someone to help you to make the task manageable.


3. Follow your Body Clock

Most people would say, sort out your body clock first and foremost. It may work, but it is something I have been trying to do for over 10 years. My body just likes to be up during the night. The fatigue and pain is more manageable after I have digested by one meal per day.

“To have a productive day you must follow your natural body clock”.

You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by taking a U-turn and trying to achieve tasks when your energy levels and pain threshold is low.

body clock

“Remember you can always move tasks to another day as long as you’re motivated to accomplish them”.


4. Relax… just not too much

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, everyone should take time to wind down.  If you’re fortunate enough TAKE a bath, or go and visit someone who does! Watch a comedy, listen to music or sit in silence, do what works for YOU. I am not saying you are not going to wake up still feeling fatigued because you probably will BUT subconsciously your body and mind is still getting a valuable break and you get a hint of happiness.  I find relaxing whilst doing a task slowly usually gives me the right balance. However, this may not work for everyone.

“Just remember, don’t relax too much or you won’t get anything done”.

bath.jpg


5. Relieve stress with a pet

Patting pets are proven to having a calming effect on humans (Rodriguez, 2012), which may help you to think more clearly and be more productive! It is ideal if you own a pet and go and give them love when you are stressed and they are in a good mood. If your pet is moody, trust me try hugging your friends’ pet or the other four tips AND come back to this one later.  When my pets are hungry they treats me like food and it makes me feel rejected and has the opposite effect.  If you cannot keep an animal, I suggest you look out for the nearest dog on your walks or go visit an animal shelter. That way you can have your rare day out, killing two birds with one stone.

 


Thanks for visiting Brains & Bodies. I hope I have shed some positive vibes on how to have a productive day.


Sharing is Caring 

I would love if you shared this post to help others with chronic illnesses have a productive day – everyone deserves one! For some reason all my shares reset back 27 from 84 , but please keep sharing. 🙂


Have your Say

Do you have any tips how to have a productive day? – I would love to hear them below.


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Over and out,

my name


References 

Rodriguez, T. (2017). Pets Help Us Achieve Goals and Reduce Stress.

Spoon theory (2017). The Spoon Theory written by and spoken by Christine Miserandino. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5IBsm49Rk [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].

 

5 Challenges Blogging with a Chronic Illness…

Chronic Illnesses, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses

 with a sprinkle of advice.

Hello, there 🙂

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If you haven’t read my other posts, welcome. It’s not a secret anymore I am a spoonie. I am Morgan Isabella Shaw, a 24 years old that suffers from Ehlers Danlos Sydrome. However, recently when I was procrastinating, I remembered I haven’t confessed how challenging it is to blog when you have a chronic illness.

I will admit I find multiple things an uphill battle. Cooking, washing myself, walking, relationships and blogging is no different. Actually, it doesn’t happen – unless I am blogging from bed. Even then, five minutes into starting a post I tend to experience a  flare up and struggle to finish writing it that day.  As, I throw my laptop down, I feel disappointed in myself I have not met the strict self-inflicted deadline.

If you land on my homepage you will notice I endeavour to publish one post week.

One post a week – is that it?

Many fire back at me with an eye roll or one raised eyebrow. This made realise how many people do not understand how many challenges are behind the scenes for me to keep on generating posts.This post will let you walk into another part of my mind and reveal 5 challenges a chronically ill person may face when they decide to become a blogger…


5 Challenges of Blogging with a Chronic Illness

1. Blogging is Addicting

 I don’t know if blogging is addicting for everyone or if it just applies to me because of my addictive personality.  I use blogging as a natural remedy for my clinical depression so I try to do it as much as possible to release emotions.

The problem with this is, I have found is I end up not getting other important things done. For example,  I sit very confused looking at University briefs, because I can’t find a private tutor this year –  so I turn my mind to blogging instead.

blogging-for-business

If you find yourself in this position you need to like me – try and snap out of it and  make a loose time management schedule, so you can do everything.  As I move through the academic year I am aware that my blog is going to have to take a backseat if I am to pass it, not because I am abandoning you! I also have to admit the more I want to blog the more I shut myself away from my friends. However, I don’t want to give up blogging.  For once I am starting to enjoy one thing again, which in turn makes me feel less suicidal on the whole.


2. Limited Energy

With most chronic illness comes chronic pain, fatigue and brain fog which makes it difficult to concentrate.  I spend every spare second I have whether that be on the toilet or public transport thinking of new blog ideas and content. The issue associated with this is, my brain goes into overdrive – I  now don’t know how not to think.I am awake until the early hours of the morning. I can’t blame blogging entirely for this – I have always been known as a lady of the night up with pain. However, before my mind got a longer rest.

When my I-phone is ringing in my ear  I know the next day  has hit.  I then *sigh* reaching for the closest can of coca-cola to be able to manoeuvre up right and override the extreme tiredness for a short period of time.  Due to my levels of tiredness I get fed up very easily…

sleep

So, even if I have the best idea for a blog – I lack motivation  to actually blog as even the computer screen stares back at me like a fiend.  A part of this is attributed that with a chronic illness, you never know when bad patches will attack you.  This means it is also difficult to plan a content and schedule and actually STICK to it.


3. Anxiety and Negativity

 I can be a very negative person. To date, I will be honest I only have 66 followers.   I become anxious that no one will like or share my posts and that even sharing my reflections will be worthless.  I panic that the more I write the worse my academic writing for University will become and I am convinced I am going to fail there too.

The reason behind this is, blogging is very descriptive writing and University expects a much more critical standpoint for assessments.  I then wonder if I am being too ‘open’ with the public in what I am sharing and worry that it will affect future opportunities. For example – I need to pull my finger out my arse and start applying for 12 month placements for my degree.

anxiety

I frequently question, if having a blog will be a hindrance and shed light that I used drugs in my past, have clinical depression and that I am disabled. I don’t want special treatment but I know I need to disclose my disabilities on a job application form because my pain affects me on a day-to-day basis.  Whilst, this is all spinning around in my small brain,  I then worry about when I take a back seat from blogging –  if I can ever get the passion back because for other hobbies when I lost them, it was lost forever…


4. Being a Citizen of the Blogosphere

It is also no secret I struggle with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. I find that when I read someone else’s blog to try and learn about other illnesses I don’t always understand what I am reading initially. Everything just gets lost in translation.

How do I overcome this?

I spend a lot of time on Google to understand what the illness is first and then go back to the individuals’ blog.  All of this is interesting but very time consuming.  You may be thinking – well just skip this part, but that would be a vital mistake.  Commenting on posts is essential to improve your writing skills and how you engage with other people.

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5. Gaining Traffic and Post Engagement

In October, I received just over 3,000 unique visitors. Although, I am not sure I really did receive this many as it is likely  some of these visitors were in fact me stalking myself using my friends’ phones as I was without one for a while.

I am unlucky with any electrical product! ( I  was definitely was born in the wrong century)..

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Additionally, I don’t have a strong social media following across many platforms.  I spend the most time on the one where I do have a following – Facebook, to try to gain traffic for my blog.  I am also putting ‘all my eggs in one basket’ and hoping when I finally set up a YouTube channel this will improve my traffic and engagement… as I try to figure out how to increase my Twitter and  Pinterest following.

On Facebook I post my blog posts on my wall, into a couple blogging groups and into chronic illness support groups when I have permission to do so.

 


That Sprinkle of Advice 

4

Do you have a chronic illness and are thinking about becoming a blogger?

 DO IT!

Just remember don’t punish yourself for not being able to post as much as you would like to gain a following.  Fellow bloggers divulged that blogging consistently is very important, where I have fallen short a little bit as the times and days I post content really does vary. This is something I am going to work to improve as I become more experienced and I hope my readers understand that this is not always be possible.

On groups, ensure you always read the pinned posts in groups or you can find yourself getting an inbox of angry admin messages and deleted out of groups.  I find the most effective way to promote your blog on Facebook is through Facebook pages BUT be careful you will be blocked by Facebook if you are a repeat offender.

I think if you post a series on one theme, you may gain more followers. However, I don’t do this because my mind is scatty and like to think of lots of different topics at the same time!


So, guys there are the challenges I have faced blogging with a chronic illness. Next, you can expect to find 5 more general challenges I found since becoming a blogger and what I’ve learnt about myself since becoming a chronic illness blogger.


Sharing is Caring

I would love if you shared this post to raise awareness of some of the challenges a chronic illness blogger faces!


Have your Say

If you a blogger what are some challenges you face?

If you’re a chronic illness blogger do you face similar or different challenges to me?


 Like what you see? 

Join me on my journey on social media;

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WordPress

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Thanks for staying tuned in bed with me and I hope to see you back soon.

Lots of Love,

my name

Popular Related Post

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Behind the Brave Face: 7 Secret Signs of Depression

Mental Illnesses

Depression Diaries (Post 2)

If you look around see someone who looks sad, they may be just that – sad. Life is full of ups and downs so it is natural for our moods to adjust to different circumstances. Feeling down in the dumps from time to time and grieving is normal (NHS U.K, n.d; Winch, 2015). It is when sadness turns into something more gradually, the inner demon depression is born in yet another victim.

A common misconception is depressed sufferers have monotonous personalities. However, it is a complicated emotional state that affects people behaviours differently. Someone who is depressed may loathe themselves, feel helpless, hopeless and upset (Mind.org.uk, 2016) although, the extent of what is felt and how they act varies.

A mildly depressed person can get through daily life holding down a job or running a family home. Whilst, a clinically depressed individual struggles to get through each day and may live a double life. Sustaining a double life for some is just too much to handle. In the U.K and Ireland alone, more than 6,000 people commit suicide, ISAP cited in (Mental Health Foundation, 2017).

 

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My last post touched upon that the disease does not exhibit in one stereotypical face. Depression can pursue your colleague or peer – the person you admire most or even decide to seek you. No one should believe they are immune from the black fogs wrath. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 people in England will suffer from clinical depression in their lifetime (NHS U.K, 2016) but many more go undiagnosed. Even those with diagnoses may still conceal it because they believe their curse will be a burden on others…

If you aren’t aware of the hidden signs of depression it is easy to overlook requesting help for yourself or a loved one in need. After all, how can you notice something you don’t understand? This post is to help you reflect on yours and others’ behaviour, to identify whether symptoms are apparent, to gain support to manage and relieve them.

 


7 Secret Signs of Depression (Part 1)

1.Withdrawal

A depressed person will try their best to avoid social activities. Periods of silent isolation is one of the main signs that an individual is being tortured by depression. When someone becomes depressed it is not unusual for them to lose interest in everything and everyone. Where he or she may have once been the party starter, now they are the party pooper and may even call into work sick.withdrawal

They may still make plans with you, trying to keep up the ‘happy’ pretence. However, in reality they have turned into ‘king’ or ‘queen’ bail’. Someone who consistently lets you down is likely to be suffering from depression.

 


2.Excuse O’clock

When you realise you were lied to it is hard to trust the person who lied to you. Yet, it is unlikely you will taste dishonesty from depressed people – they are  semi-professional liars.

clock

They have the skill of making up believable cover stories on the spot for pretty much anything. Lies could be to hide how they got scars on their body (when they have had a self-harming sesh) to an excuse of why they need to leave somewhere rapidly. Although, they mastered lying tell-tale signs of their illness is that they have an answer for EVERYTHING and are very defensive.

 


3. Mean Girl… or Boy

A depressed person over analyses themselves and others people obsessively. They do this is because they are so unhappy with their appearance and/or personality that they begin to look for what they desire in others. At the same time when that individual finds traits in someone else they despise in themselves they give off the impression over being over judgemental and a royal b*tch. From experience, chances are that b*tch is extremely insecure and depressed too.

girl


4. Conversation Changes

A closed book who avoids expressing their feelings and subjects is likely to be depressed. Of course, it is possible that he or she will bleed out their feelings but usually this in a philosophical manner. If you find yourself or a loved one turning the conversation to life or death, or what the route is to a happier life and no philosophy or R.E books have been studied. Then, you are certainly hearing little indicators of depression.


5. Substance Abuse Perceptions

We all know drugs are bad – right? Not exactly. A depressed person views substances differently to a healthy one. I want you to think of your favourite food, – could you live without it? If someone is a user they see them as necessities to get through the next day. Even if they’re not a user, they may consider it as a viable option to wash away their pain… to be happy again (even if they know it’s temporary).


6. The Mechanisms of Intense Feelings

A person masking depression will often feel emotions more intensely than others. Do you find yourself or know someone whom bursts out in floods of tears watching television over a scene that isn’t sad? Or see red about something trivial like someone overtaking them in a shop queue or in traffic? Well that is personifying the clouds of gloom. The only way some depressed suffers know how to channel their depression is through anger and irritability (Koh et al., 2002).


triple

7. *Incoming* Triple Threat…

Failure, Rejection and Abandonment. The three ingredients a depressed person wishes their mind could shield. There is nothing worse than finding out someone you love cannot handle your worse layer. The fear or rejection and abandonment forges the need to be secretive so they don’t walk away. If you or someone else strongly fears the triple threat, then you may be depressed.


So, there we have it guys, 7 secret signs of depression unveiled. I hope you found it useful whether you think you or a loved one may be suffering from the condition.


Do you think you or a loved one could have depression?

Resources

United Kingdom

Depression UK: Supports those suffering from depression

info@depressionuk.org 

Samaritans UK: A helpline for those who feels heavy distress or suicidal. The helpline does not show up on phone bills also.

116 223 – Free helpline (My personal favourite)

08457 90 90 90*

*This number still works to get through for Samaritans but you will be charged for the call.

SaneLine: (6pm-11pm, open every day of the year) provides support to those suffering from mental health problems)

Young Minds (Under 25 years old): A UK based charity committed to improving children and young people’s mental health.

020 7089 5050

U.S.A

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Adolescent Suicide Helpline

1-800-621-4000


Over to You

Can you think of more hidden signs of Depression? – If yes, why not share them below?


 

Sharing is Caring

I would love if you shared my post to raise awareness of some of the hidden signs of Depression.


About the Author

My name is Morgan Isabella Shaw a warrior of clinical depression. To find out more about my story click here.


Coming UP Next…

Behind the Brave Face: 7 More Secret Signs of Depression (Part 2)


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Thanks for reading

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References  

Koh KB, Kim CH, Park JK (2002) ‘Predominance of anger in depressive disorders compared with anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders’. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; 63: 486–92.

OpenUrlMental Health Foundation. (2017). Suicide. [online] Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/suicide [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

Mind.org.uk (2016). Symptoms | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems. [online] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/symptoms/#.WcOdoZWWzIU [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

NHS U.K. (2016). Clinical depression – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

NHS U.K. (N.d). Dealing with grief and loss – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/emotionalhealth/Pages/Dealingwithloss.aspx [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

Winch (2015). Psychology Today. The Important Difference Between Sadness and Depression. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

 

 

Slaying the Double Depression

Mental Illnesses

Depression Diaries (Post 1)

A HTML edited version, republished by SANE Mental Health Charity on behalf of Brains and Bodies: 12th October 2017

I want us to start with you picturing a depressed person. What do you see? A face of poor health, a mind drowning in a tsunami of negativity, locked up in a dim and dirty bedroom, feeling sorry for themselves? Does this sound about right?

“The truth is depression doesn’t have one face, it’s a shape shifter sifting through the black clouds in the night”.

It is always adjusting in those affected whilst on the hunt seeking its next victims. There is a common misconception that sadness is the same as depression (Mental Health Foundation, 2017). However, sadness is a transient feeling, that everyone experiences –actually it is normal (NIMH, n.d). It is true that both are intrinsically linked; sadness lays the foundations for it. Nonetheless, it is when sadness intensifies and engulfs you for many months or years, you’ve enter the black hole of depression that defines you. Unlike sadness, depression is a battle for life and must be managed to prevent suicide.

sad girl


During my teens, I was caught by clinical depression. For those of you who know me, this is old news, but for majority who don’t-let me introduce myself.

“My name is Morgan Isabella Shaw and welcome to my mental illness”.

I just want to make it clear, depression does not make me unique. According to (Mind, 2017) research carried out in 2016 showed approximately, 3.3 in 100 Britons share a similar diagnosis. What makes me different to some of those with it, is I was diagnosed at a time when it wasn’t openly discussed. There was a stigma attached to it. When I looked at the media there was no valiant celebrities advocates getting paid a bomb to be in a TV campaign or a front page in the newspaper. It was 2006, the economic boom, smiles surrounding me. For many, depression was not known to be on the horizon.

Let’s, fast forward to now. Things have changed a lot, since I was a teen. With one tap on Google you can find a stream of resources, blogs, Vlogs, celebrity’s stories with the public showing them support. So, it should be easier for me to speak about it- right? No, it’s never easy to talk about depression. It’s never easy, to share a poisoned mind.


“Many people don’t know why became depressed and if you asked me…I would say the same”.

Not discussing depression isn’t to spare people the intrinsic details, it’s because it is so hard to pinpoint the exact day you felt numb and empty. The day where you isolate yourself and everything you once enjoyed was abandoned. The day when nothing could make you feel better and take away your heart throbbing pain.

However, I can remember the exact causes of episodes of sadness. The first time I felt strong sadness was when I was sexually assaulted in school. Why, I will never know. I often caught nits, I didn’t wear makeup and hadn’t hit puberty – I was pancake girl. Lots of other situations of sadness involved my mother. Parents evening would arrive but there would be no sign of her.me and mum

When I became sick in hospital and she was more interested in why other patients were there. She would come to the school but not to see me. She spent her time talking to other mothers and I would walk home alone.

There were no Birthday or Christmas celebrations anymore nor family meals. In fact, I fed myself cereal twice a day, every day for years. I was also always compared to my siblings who were more academic, which made me feel worthless. As they were getting put in the top sets of English, Maths and Science I was struggling to string one paragraph together.

Roughly around this time, one of my brothers would beat me black and blue and nothing was really done to stop it. I mean, he would get told off but he knew he could get away with it time and time again, and he did. My mother’s interest in my life was slowly coming to a halt. I couldn’t fathom out what I had done to make this relationship break-down. I spent hours and days torturing myself, thinking about it.What I didn’t know was I had not done anything wrong. My mother was depressed, something I hadn’t experienced yet, something I didn’t even know existed.


“Depression runs in some family trees”.

family tree

Genetics are involved in depression but this does not mean a child will automatically inherit it. They are just more susceptible to it (All about Depression, n.d; Beyond Blue, 2017). The reason for this is because there are various personal and life factors that can cause someone to become depressed. This made sense, when I thought about it. Situations that can cause one person to come depressed may only cause sadness in another, everyone sensitivity levels are different.

I thought this title of this post was fitting because my mother and now battle the condition at the same time. We both have experienced trauma and poor health for starters. However, the main causes of my mother’s depression stems back from her childhood when she was singled out. She was beaten and treated like a slave by her mother. Washing, ironing, tidying and cooking for a family of six – she was expected to do it all. She didn’t have a childhood. She lost contact with her father for about 20 years for supporting her mother.

I am thankful she reconciled with her father and a couple of her siblings, that she has found some peace. However, she still does not have a relationship with her dying mother. Mine – Samantha, had been putting on a brave face for many years. She saw the symptoms of depression in me but she was ill too. To ill, to put me first. It is easy for people to forget depression is an illness when one key symptom of it – sadness is not.


“Depression developed roughly around the time my brother attempted suicide for the first time”.

I often look back and think, why was I feeling depressed? I didn’t wish my brother dead but we had never had a bond or a good relationship. As my parents were in flood of tears, my other brother and I sat in shock as we watched our sibling be sectioned. Every week, my parents would visit my brother but we did not discuss him. One day my parents returned from the hospital both l with different body language. I was then told I was not able to live with them anymore. Ryan was coming home and it wasn’t safe he was threatening to kill me. Due to his violent nature towards me in the past everyone was taking the death threat seriously.

I found this very unfair as a teenager. I thought he should move out and take free housing from the council because I wasn’t entitled to anything. I moved in with my mother’s friend but I didn’t belong there – I didn’t belong anywhere. You may be thinking, I was selfish and my brother needed my parents more than me and there is veracity in this.

However, I became brokenwhen I heard my mother had told people that she loved my brother more. My mother even lost a friend over that and then begrudged me. Amongst other things, this made me begin to have trust issues with other people. I felt betrayed and alone, I thought if my mother didn’t want me, no one would. Ever since then I went from one failed relationship to another. People just wanted to use me for something because they could.

Depression does not make you weak but it’s certainly makes you vulnerable. All rationality goes out the window and it’s easy to make bad decisions. Legal and illegal drugs  enabled me to escape. You tell yourself it’s a short-term fix, but it just made everything worse. The problem I have now that I have cut down alcohol and stopped all narcotics, I still feel depressed. The only difference is sometimes I have hope I will feel a real smile once again.

me nfriend


When people look back at me they do not the sorrow in my panda eyes, nor the pain behind them. They see big bright hazel eyes, a smile and the girl cracking jokes. Why would they believe someone who appeared so happy was so miserable? Well I suppose I am just good at keeping my SHIZ together now. When I opened up to anyone, they would run a mile and I curl back up into my ball of loneliness punishing myself for trying to be honest. Depression is a vicious circle, it is a concoction of emotions. Not only pro-longed sadness spells. For me itsanxiety, tearfulness, insecurity, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, impatience, sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and feeling empty all at once. I often confuse myself how I can feel everything but nothing at the same time.

I wake up wondering why I am still alive thinking of all the ways I could kill myself, staying in bed all day. Sometimes I don’t even brush my hair or teeth, or eat breakfast and hope that the next day has passed. I worry about the future and that I will end up in a ditch from an overdose somewhere. I spend so much time worrying about bad things that could happen I don’t seem to make a future. I suppose this all comes down to me having control issues somewhere along the line and how much I fear failure and rejection. Where exactly, I couldn’t tell you. I am soon to be trying to figure this out with yet another therapist. I just believe I am extremely ugly and no one likes me.

I have it drummed into my head you have to be really clever or beautiful, to be successfulconvincedI have neither of these qualities. It is difficult to accept yourself, when the media portrays an image of perfection – something that doesn’t exist. A depressed persons thoughts are their only reality. They often say I am not an optimist, I am a realist.

Even surrounded by people I just don’t know how to feel happiness. I don’t get close to people because I don’t want to rely on them to try and be cheerful. As I scour over Facebook and see people with solid friendships, and others in relationships, getting engaged or married and having babies I can’t help but be jealous, believing I will never have that. I can’t seem to trust anyone and push everyone away from just being me – that’s the most difficult part. Medication, didn’t seem to do much for me (probably from drinking too much alcohol) and actually made me more depressed and sent me to the same hospital my brother had previously been. The difference was I have the gift of the gab and a way of talking myself out of those situations.


Back to the Future…

My mother was sent on a parenting course and now she cooks me meals and we socialise on a daily basis when I am not at University. We do have a better relationship, but funnily enough now I am an adult she treats me like a child. I appreciate her more now but I have become more resentful as I live in the past and have to be very careful what I tell her. The way she manages her depression is by speaking to her friends about all the nunny and cracks and everything in between. We both shared additional mental rough patches recently due to her having a tumour – which thankfully turned out to be a benign one. At the same time she had a pulmonary embolism in her lungs and my physical health deteriorated during my University exams due to stress.

In a way, I think blogging is saving me, it releases some of those emotions. I mean even if I am being judged it isn’t by someone I know. My mother and I can’t help but care to much about what people think of us. As, we are already depressed negative situations just add on like a paper chain. We must make a conscious effort to align our mental and physical health and take small but positive steps to see more than blue – and you can too.


I know this has been super long post so … if your still here in Morgan’s world, thanks a bunch.

The next posts in this series, will give you tips on how to manage depression, how to look for hidden signs of depression in someone else and how to support those suffering from it.

                    I would love to hear your thoughts on speaking openly about Depression.

my name


If you feel alone and depressed and need support immediately you can contact any of these organisations, who can help!!

United Kingdom

Depression UK: Supports those suffering from depression

info@depressionuk.org 

Samaritans UK: A helpline for those who feels heavy distress or suicidal. The helpline does not show up on phone bills also.

116 223 – Free helpline (My personal favourite)

08457 90 90 90*

*This number still works to get through for Samaritans but you will be charged for the call.

SaneLine: (6pm-11pm, open every day of the year) provides support to those suffering from mental health problems)

Young Minds (Under 25 years old): A UK based charity committed to improving children and young people’s mental health.

020 7089 5050

U.S.A

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Adolescent Suicide Helpline

1-800-621-4000


References

All About Depression: Causes. 2017. All About Depression: Causes. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.allaboutdepression.com/cau_03.html. [Accessed 05 September 2017].

Mental Health Foundation. 2017. Depression | Mental Health Foundation. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/depression. [Accessed 05 September 2017].

MIND (2017) How common are mental health problems? | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#.Wa3uRJWWz4g. [Accessed 05 September 2017].

NIMH » Depression: What You Need To Know. (N.d). NIMH » Depression: What You Need To Know. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-what-you-need-to-know/index.shtml. [Accessed 04 September 2017].

Beyond Blue (2017). What causes depression . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression/what-causes-depression. [Accessed 05 September 2017].