Natural Medicine Contest - How I regained and maintain my mental health

in #naturalmedicine3 years ago (edited)

Tending one's mental health may be the most important thing we can do for ourselves, and for those around us.

Once we neglect this part of our being, everything else starts falling apart - blood pressure rises, stomach ailments appear, our immunity is compromised, to name but a few.

I will tell you my experience - a nasty clinical depression hit me rudely many many moons ago - anyone who knows me also knows that I'm the most positive one around, so when this happened, I just could not understand it.
My brother had committed suicide two years prior to my episode and that tragedy played a big part in triggering my mental illness.

It took me many years to get out of that deep dark pit of depression, anxiety and panic attacks - so how did I do it?

Six months ago I wrote about my journey Terminal depression - Be a survivor so have a look at that if you like, but I will share a little of that post here along with more survival skills, hoping it will help someone.

I quote a paragraph from that post -

You feel life has lost all meaning, day in and day out, are tired all the time, cannot cope with even the smallest tasks, you feel physically ill, your mind is racing, you cannot concentrate, you start thinking about death, anxiety levels are huge and panic attacks hit you from nowhere, insomnia becomes your daily foe. It feels as if you’re all alone, even though you’re surrounded by supportive friends and family.
Friends are perplexed at this new you, and tell you it's time you snapped out of it, as if you enjoy feeling like that!

Besides the loss of my brother, I recently lost a talented young friend to suicide - I shared my feelings here on steemit just after getting the news Depression took Angie
Then some two weeks ago I shared a little about one of my best friends in one of my Cook With Us blogs. Linda is still fighting for her life, indirectly through her depression/ panic attacks which compromised her heart health and digestive system.
She suffered a pulmonary embolism and then had a massive heart attack; she was also losing blood internally - a bleeding ulcer - her kidneys failed due to the blood loss.
Linda was on life support for nearly three weeks and despite doctors telling her family she would not make it through that first week, she's still fighting; there was a glimmer of hope but now the outlook is not so good again.

So why am I telling you all these stories?

I want to emphasise the importance of mental health and the bad consequences on our physical well-being; we really need to take any mental illness very seriously indeed!

If you feel something is not right, do not be afraid to talk to someone you can trust and find a reputable holistic health practitioner.
The sooner you do it, the sooner you will be on the road to recovery!
Or if you suspect a loved one is going through a mental illness, speak to them and please ensure they get treatment - this really is not something one can wish away and definitely not snap out of it!
I always compare it to a diabetic whose body no longer makes insulin - without the correct treatment they will not survive, so why do we treat mental illnesses differently? It is very real!

Another extract from my Be a survivor post:

I learned various coping skills during that period; walking does wonders to lift one’s mood, as does any form of exercise. I took up yoga, did breathing exercises which are super for calming one’s state of mind, generally tried learning as much as I could about this horrid illness, really listened to music again after not doing so for years! I spent copious amounts on supplements, and took great care with my physical health as I believe you cannot cope if that also deteriorates.
I also learned how to hide my illness from well-meaning people who told me to snap out of it!

All the above were vital in helping me back to good mental health, but I will now share with you my ten steps to regaining and maintaining good physical and mental health.

Just for today.jpg
This quote that I found in an old Dale Carnegie book became my mantra - I used one of my photos here to illustrate it

Ten steps to regaining and maintaining good mental health

  • 1 - Balance -it is of paramount importance to keep the balance between work and leisure to keep stress levels down; try to find your own quiet spot and take short breaks when you feel overwhelmed.
    Stop, breathe slowly and deeply throughout the day - remember the saying - stop and smell the roses!

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  • 2 - Sanctuary - Make your own little sanctuary at home, whether it's a room in your house, the garden or balcony; wherever that may be. This should be your little haven where you can go when you need a break. The best place would be your bedroom as a good night's rest is beneficial for healing - insomnia being the enemy.

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  • 3 - Verbalise your feelings - talk to someone close to you about how you're feeling and make use of all your support systems - be it family, a friend, a work colleague or a spiritual leader ; someone you can trust.
    In fact, we all need to talk openly about mental illness to put an end to the stigmas around it. I find it ludicrous that people are not afraid to talk about their blood pressure or diabetes, yet are almost ashamed of admitting they have depression!
    CHeryl Pat.jpg

  • 4 - Find a good holistic healer and counselor - do not think simply popping a pill will get you back on the road to recovery - it takes hard work but it is so worth it!
    Always remember to take baby steps and also take things day by day. It is impossible for anyone to think they can solve their whole life's problems in one day!
    I was very fortunate in finding an excellent homeopath who counselled as well as gave me homeopathic medication - this wise lady really was a lifesaver!
    Should your condition be more acute, I believe it is vital to see a conventional specialist psychiatrist as you may need to go the chemical route but always bearing in mind that just popping a pill is not the cure-all!

  • 5 - Diet - A healthy well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit is vital as we need to take care of our physical well-being to enable us to fight any mental illness.
    Fruit.jpg

  • 6 - Supplements - there are many natural supplements on the market that assist in balancing brain chemistry. I took Evening Primrose Oil, Omega 3, Vitamin B, 5-HTP. Ensure you get enough Vitamin D by getting enough sunshine, or take the supplement.
    The herbal anti depressant St John's Wort also works well.
    But as always, check with your health practitioner before taking anything.

  • 7 - Exercise and correct breathing very important - walking and yoga top of my list but any other form of exercise is great for getting the endorphins going! I know it's hard to motivate yourself, but this is a vital part of your road to healing.
    frogs yoga.jpg
    Image

  • 8 - Hobbies - I know you feel like doing nothing but think of the things you used to enjoy - I love cooking & baking as well as gardening; when I get stuck into these things, I become more focused and forget just how bad I was feeling.
    This is where Steemit helped me - I thoroughly enjoy the cooking challenges and the interaction between the Steemit chefs :)
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  • 9 - Leisure times - feed your soul!
    Music is my best therapy! Theatre or even going to the movies helps me forget about all my troubles even if it is just for that one evening; short breakaways even if it's just a day at the beach or in the park, really is like recharging one's batteries!
    IMG_20180830_122830.jpg

  • 10 - Meditation - Last but not least, in fact the most important tool I discovered!
    I shared the following about how meditation finally helped me heal in that post a while back:

Meditation has many positive benefits:
Brain waves become calmer, and as your brain is the control centre of your body, healing starts to take place.
Your blood pressure will normalise, in fact it starts improving after the first meditation session.
Helps restoring you back to health if suffering from PTSD and Depression.
There's evidence that it can prevent the dreaded Alzheimer's Disease, plus tons of other medical conditions.
Good things will come your way as your new state of mind affects your immediate environment.
This is the most natural form of relaxation, costs nothing except 15 minutes minimum out of your day, you can do it in any quiet space; this certainly is the biggest gift you can give yourself!

A wonderful friend that I met here on Steemit is the author @ericvancewalton who wrote a fabulous book on Meditation - The Perfect Pause - have a look at his blog and order a copy - life changing for sure!

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So I do hope sharing the story of my journey back to full health will help someone! And always remember that help is at hand and you can climb out of that deep dark pit of depression and anxiety and live life to the fullest again, no matter how impossible it may feel now!

A big thank you to @naturalmedicine and @mountainjewel for highlighting mental health issues with the Natural Medicine Contest.

Original Content by @lizelle
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Wonderful advice. I have also suffered from depression - thankfully a long time ago. It's simply impossible to "snap out of", as you say - if it was that easy, there would be no such thing as depression, as no one actually wants to feel like that.
I can't even remember how I felt at the time - the only thing I remember was a kind of heaviness that went right to my soul. There were several reasons why I managed to get out of it, but it was a complex procedure. All the things you mention are very helpful.

Glad you managed to get out of it @natubat, thanks for stopping by :)

we all need to talk openly about mental illness to put an end to the stigmas around it.

It is about time we bring this out of the closet. So many of us suffer from depression and anxiety. Your ten steps are a great place for recovery and maintaining good mental and physical health. I walk on the beach every day and meditate too. Eat good healthy foods and take supplements for good nutritional balance. I am glad you have found your way back from the darkness.

Thanks so much for your feedback @cecicastor, you're very fortunate to live so close to the beach and walk there daily :)

Woo! Love your post - we've given you a full upvote for entering our challenge, and you will appear in the Week 1 round up curation. Hope this helps you continue to write such amazing posts. We've also resteemed it. We encourage you to use the #naturalmedicine tag so we can more easily find you.

If you're a supporter of all things natural healing, and haven't already got on board our collective, you might like to read our introductory post here. We'd also love to welcome you on Discord here!!

Congratulations! This post has been chosen as one of the daily Whistle Stops for The STEEM Engine!

You can see your post's place along the track here: The Daily Whistle Stops, Issue 261 (9/18/18)

Thank you thank you! For sharing the story of your experience with mental health and depression. I found it very touching and appreciate so much that you helped to further shed light and destigmatize healing around mental health. So many times we can be discouraged to speak about it based on those “well meaning” people who tell us to snap out of it— moreso we need posts like these that help point the open way toward healing paths and techniques we can employ when we’re in those moments! Did I already say thank you? 😊 many blessings your way!

Ah thank you so very much for initiating this @mountainjewel, and for your lovely comments :)

Excellent! You should consider turning this into a free e-book on Amazon. I know time is of the essence; and, understand if you don't. This could benefit so many people on so many levels. People should be able to print copies of this and gift to friends who might be going through.

I wrote a post recently about suicide being a silent epidemic for middle-aged white females. I am reminded of a colleague from years ago who hid this secret, never disclosing this darkness, though she was battling a major illness. Oddest thing, I will never forget is that days before her suicide I received an anonymous letter...very cryptic. I was no longer working with her and admittedly had lost touch. To learn that she committed suicide that following Thanksgiving weekend left me 'in the dark' for a bit. It's tragic how things happen, and years later, posts such as this bring them to memory.

Best regards.

Peace.

Thank you for your wonderful feedback and the suggestion, will look into that.
I will also have a look at that post you wrote - suicide is the most difficult thing to deal with abd the scars it leaves behind never go away! My brother was 26 and my son's friend only 32 at the time, both super talented! So sad that both never reached their full potential!
The more we talk about these issues, the less stigma there will be - we did not even realise my brother was feeling that low as he always put up a front so it was a huge shock!
I still have to watch myself but as soon as I feel the clouds coming along, I take stock, slow down a little and do the things as per my post. Life tends to pull us in other directions but we do need to take care of ourselves!
Blessings to you @spiritualmatters :)

What a wonderful, heartfelt post @lizelle. Thank you for sharing this with us. I know many will benefit from your advice. Mental health is no laughing matter, so many people are lost each day due to depression. I trust you take good care of yourself these days...and I am so glad you have chosen the cooking hobby!! This allowed us to meet my friend :) Be well, bless you !

Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback @birdsinparadise! It is very real yet so many people think it's imaginary and just a bad mood but that's so far from the truth!
I'm so thankful for Steemit and all the little communities, my favourite being the cooking and I'm so happy to have met you as well :)
Bless you too :)
PS our new guests arrived tonight with the cutest little baby who did not stop smiling, the cutest little one, so I'll pretend I'm a granny for a couple of days ;)

what a beautiful post and very helpful to me right now, i’m pushing through some ptsd from a bully at work and a few different things you point out i will add to see if this helps. thank you!

Glad you found it useful @eaglespirit, thanks for the resteem as well :)

@lizelle are you doing like a quick reply when you comment? LOL

Haha no @eaglespirit, I was just busy commenting at the time but ginabot is very good at alerts...at the moment that is ;)

@lizelle okay great! you seemed like you were speed commenting. much like i'm doing right now LOL

LOL I often speed comment from my cell phone in between doing stuff but have not used some of these new apps ;);)

yeah no kidding and now that the app is down and i cant comment fast i'm all out of whack LOL

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