Ironically yesterday was World Mental Health Day so it felt apt to share my experience with you this week.
I had a bit of a wobble at the weekend. It snook up from behind and twatted me on the head when I least expected it. Saturday morning I had a meltdown and couldn’t stop crying (and I don’t do crying).
So where did this come from? It started with a bit of feedback from my husband (that sounds like it was a really civilised conversation but it wasn’t, it was a typical row) where he revealed his observations to me that lately, I seem angry all the time. I got defensive and it went tits up.
However, with a bit of space I was able to reflect and see things a bit more clearly. I’d been ignoring some signs. There hadn’t been this one big massive issue that was stressing me out. It was a bunch of little- middle sized things that had been piling up on top of me, and now I was buried beneath them- I guess a lot of you know this feeling, right?
Now I’m not going to download the list (that would be over sharing and I do too much of that on a normal day!) but when I lay each one of these ‘things’ out in a line in front of me, it was easy to see how I’d ended up here. Yet, as a coach, who helps other women get their lives in order, I felt really silly. In fact, I felt a failure. A fraud. An imposter. A poor role model. If I can’t practice what I preach then how can I coach others to do the same?
The sensation was awful. My head felt like it was being squeezed at the temples. I physically couldn’t get my body to relax. My jaw ached with tension. The flappiness in my chest and my heart racing was unbearable. The emotion was like a tsunami hitting.
Then I put things in perspective… and whilst it settled me somewhat, I then felt guilty for all the people in the world who were far worse off than me.
Who’s with me on any of these things? I’m sensing they are commonly experienced by many women – career girls, mums, wives, carers, others, maybe all of them?
So, it’s Wednesday and where am I at? I’ve done some things that have moved me in the right direction. I’ll share those with you in a mo. But I’ve still got that flappy, racy sensation in my chest and the squeezing of my temples. It’s a work in progress. There’s no magic pill to fix it or take it away. It is however important to do something, as burying ones head in the sand puts you on a path towards more serious emotional health issues.
So Im sharing what’s helped me so far in the hope that they may help you too.
1. Acknowledge it and spit it out. Saying how you feel out loud, rather than rattling around in your head, enables you to engage your conscious mind, rather than leave it in your sub conscious mind. In conscious mode you can process, interpret, analyse and then take action. In subconscious you do feck all and it gets worse. Acknowledging it means you take ownership for it too.
2. Have great people around you. You probably think my husband is a git based on what I said before. But far from it. He’s listened, supported me and cuddled me. Chloe has given me a slap round the face with a wet kipper and made me laugh this week. And my mum is the glue that holds my life together.
3. Get in the present. I realised I was chasing the future too much. I’d lost touch with the here and now and wasn’t enjoying the moment. I was getting frustrated that everything I wanted was always was just out of arms reach. I needed to appreciate what was in front of me right now!
4. Breathe! Slow Down! I’ve been in a permanent state of ‘rush’ for as long as I can remember. I’m clumsy, knocking things over, dropping things. My husband has a saying “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. I used to roll my eyes at him but I’ve come to realise he’s right. I’ve been dealing in a false economy – rushing actually makes things take longer and they don’t get done as effectively.
5. And lastly, cut yourself some slack. Let go of the guilt. Ask for help and bloody talk to someone!!! It’s normal to feel this way sometimes. You’re normal. You’re a tough cookie and remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!