We all know that being an entrepreneur comes with its fair share of exhilarating highs and daunting lows. The constant pressure to innovate, meet deadlines, lead, and overcome obstacles can take a toll on our mental and emotional wellbeing.
This is where stress management comes into play. It is important for entrepreneurs to manage their stress, as stress can affect creativity, energy and judgement. If you are an entrepreneur who needs guidance with stress management, read these five effective strategies below:
Strategy 1: Prioritise Self Care
Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself – mentally and physically. By taking care of yourself, you promote relaxation. Although relaxation cannot take your stress away entirely, it sure helps.
Self-care can come in the form of walking around the block, meditating in your garden, taking a warm bath, or even picking up your guitar and pulling some strings.
To prioritise self-care, you must set up a self-care routine and stick to it; for example, every day after work, set aside an hour for meditation.
Strategy 2: Delegate And Outsource
As an entrepreneur, you might be used to doing everything independently. It is after all the hard work that got you to the point of owning a business. But you do not have to do everything anymore.
An overload of work causes an overload of stress, so start delegating and outsourcing tasks – it can be anything from delegating administrative tasks to outsourcing Content Marketing.
To give you peace of mind, find trustworthy people to handle these tasks for you. Hire the right team members and research and compare outsourcing partners to ensure you have the best.
Strategy 3: Improve Your Time Management Skills
Time management is a word that often gets entrepreneurs running in the opposite direction. It can seem like an insurmountable task to take on, especially when so many responsibilities come with running a business.
However, time management is essential for handling your stress. To better your time management skills, create a to-do list, set up a time-blocking system, and prioritise your daily tasks.
Luckily this is the modern age, so you can use many online time management tools – Trello or Asana are just two of them. So please don’t let stress get the best of you just because your day is filled with tasks; utilise these tools!
Strategy 4: Develop A Support Network
People need people, no matter their personality. If you are going through a tough time, reach out to your family members, your friends, or even a trusted business partner/employee.
Talking about how you are feeling is known to reduce stress because it gives you an outlet to vent.
So leverage the support of those closest to you; you will be surprised at how much better you feel.
Strategy 5: Adopt Stress Reduction Techniques
Stress reduction techniques are daily practices you can implement to help reduce your stress. Popular stress reduction techniques include deep breathing exercises, visualisation, and journalling.
Deep breathing exercises can help you relax by focusing on controlled, long breaths that slowly move in and out of your body. Visualisation involves visualising a calming scene or activity, such as a beach or a walk in the park. And journaling your thoughts and feelings can provide an outlet for difficult emotions.
You can always contact a professional if you’re unsure about these techniques. They have the necessary skills and knowledge to teach you how to effectively use each technique.
Start innovating, meeting deadlines, leading and overcoming obstacles with a healthy mindset.
By following these five effective stress management strategies, you will be an unstoppable entrepreneur!
Self-care is a buzzword that has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people talking about how important it is to take care of ourselves. But what does self-care really mean? And more importantly, what are the benefits of self-care for mental health? Let’s take a look at why self-care is so important and how it can improve your mental well-being.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. We all need different kinds of self-care depending on our individual needs, but some common examples include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and taking time out to relax. Taking part in activities like these can help us manage stress levels and make us feel better about ourselves overall.
The Benefits of Self-Care for Mental Health
Self-care has many benefits for our mental health and well-being. Taking time out to practice self-care can help reduce stress levels, which can have positive effects on our mood and energy levels. It can also help us gain clarity and perspective on problems we may be facing in life as well as helping us feel more connected to ourselves. Regularly engaging in activities such as yoga or meditation can also help us develop coping skills for dealing with difficult emotions or situations. In addition, taking part in activities that give us pleasure, such as reading a book or going for a walk, can boost our moods and make us feel more positive about ourselves and life in general.
Self-Care Tips For Improved Mental Health
If you want to get started with self-care but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips you can use:
• Take breaks throughout the day – even if it’s just five minutes – to recharge your batteries
• Make time for things you enjoy doing, such as reading a book or listening to music
• Get outside into nature whenever possible
• Connect with friends or family members who make you feel good
• Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization
• Eat healthy foods that will nourish your body
• Exercise regularly – this doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym every day! A simple walk around the block will do wonders for your mind and body
• Spend time alone – this could be journaling or simply sitting quietly with yourself
• Be kind to yourself – don’t forget that self-love is one of the best forms of self-care!
• Reaching out and getting psychiatric services also counts as self-care, as you are helping yourself feel better in a professional setting
Self-care is essential for maintaining good mental health and well-being. From eating healthy foods to taking regular breaks throughout the day, there are many simple things we can do every day that will benefit both our minds and bodies.
The key is finding what works best for you personally—what activities bring you joy and make you feel better? By taking some time each day just for yourself—whether it be reading a book or going outside into nature—you will soon start reaping the rewards of self-care!
Confidence is essential to everyday life, and it can be challenging to find when you need it. But don’t worry – there are simple steps that anyone can take in order to give themselves an instant boost of confidence. So if you want to become more self-assured and feel better about yourself, read on for seven easy tips that will help you build your self-confidence right away. From basic body language tricks to changing your mindset, these tips will help you feel more confident no matter the situation.
1) Understand The Benefits Of Self-Confidence
Understanding the benefits of self-confidence is the first step towards developing it for yourself. There are many advantages to having a healthy level of confidence that can help you overcome challenges, reach goals and enjoy life more fully. People with higher levels of confidence tend to be more successful in their relationships, careers, and academic and financial goals as they are less afraid to take risks.
Self-assured people also have improved mental health, better decision-making skills and a greater ability to trust themselves. They find it easier to cope with negative emotions such as fear and anxiety and feel more in control of their lives. With the right level of self-confidence, you can have the courage to pursue your dreams and live a meaningful life filled with joy, love and fulfillment.
2) Dress To Impress
One of the key things that can give anyone an instant boost in confidence is to dress for success. Clothing can significantly impact how you feel and how others perceive you. Dressing stylishly and with good taste can give you a sense of pride, increasing your self-esteem. The trick is to focus on creating an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident – one that best reflects your unique personality, style and essence.
When it comes to picking out an outfit, it’s essential to be aware of colours and patterns that bring out your best features. For example, wear darker or monochromatic colours if you want to draw attention away from certain areas. You may also want to consider accessorising with jewellery or scarves to complete your look, as these items can add texture and dimension to the overall ensemble.
3) Try A New Hairstyle
A new hairstyle can do wonders for your confidence, instantly making you look and feel more attractive. For those looking for a dramatic change, consider going for a bolder cut or colour. If you’re feeling adventurous, try something unique, like an edgy pixie cut or an ombre dye job. You could even wear trendy braids or funky buns if you’re daring.
For those who prefer a subtler approach, simple changes such as adding layers to your hair or tweaking the bangs can give you a refreshed look without drastically altering your appearance. However, no matter what hairstyle you choose, you should make sure that you know how to care for your hair. For example, caring for naturally wavy hair requires different techniques than caring for naturally straight hair. So be sure to do your research before you make any drastic changes.
(image: Alysha Rosly)
4) Improve Your Posture And Body Language
Improving your posture and body language is a great way to exude more confidence. This could be as simple as practising proper posture while walking, sitting or even standing still in place. Standing tall with your shoulders back, chest out and head up will instantly make you appear more confident and assertive. Practising good body language, such as maintaining eye contact, using open gestures and leaning forward when interacting with others, is also essential. Doing this can help you express yourself better and project an air of self-assurance.
Subtle changes in how you interact with people can go a long way in improving your confidence level. For example, instead of crossing your arms defensively when talking to someone, try adopting an open stance with your arms at your sides or folded across the front of your body. Smiling warmly also helps create a sense of trustworthiness and openness which are key elements for establishing connections with other people. These small changes in behaviour can make all the difference when it comes to making a positive first impression and building relationships based on trust and respect.
5) Develop A Positive Mindset
A positive mindset is essential for gaining self-confidence and feeling good about yourself. It’s important to remember that your thoughts have a significant impact on how you feel, so learning to manage and control them can be extremely beneficial. To develop a positive mindset, practising daily affirmations and recognising your past successes is essential. This will help empower you to move forward and tackle any challenges that come your way.
It’s also essential to cultivate a sense of gratitude in order to foster a more positive outlook on life. Practising gratitude means taking the time to acknowledge the blessings in your life, whether big or small. This could be anything from appreciating a beautiful sunrise to recognising family and friends’ support when you need it most. Doing this will create an attitude of positivity and appreciation, which helps build confidence over time.
6) Surround Yourself With Positive People
Surrounding yourself with positive people is an essential part of building your confidence. Positive people can provide you with encouragement, support, and motivation when you need it most. With the right social circle, you can feel more secure and supported in times of doubt and insecurity. Research has also shown that having a strong support system can help with stress relief and improve mental health and emotional well-being.
Seek out those who support your goals and dreams by joining clubs or groups related to your interests. Doing so can open up new friendships that bring out the best in each other. It’s also beneficial to create activities that bring friends together, such as game nights, brunches, and movie marathons—all of which will provide an excellent opportunity to unwind together after a long week. If time or distance prevents meeting up with friends in person, stay connected through video calls, text messages, and even sending surprise packages now and then as small gestures of appreciation for one another’s company.
7) Set Goals And Visualise Success
Setting goals and visualising success is a powerful confidence-building exercise. By setting clear, achievable goals, you can gain a sense of direction and purpose, which helps build your self-esteem. Visualisation has also been shown to be an effective tool for achieving success in life. By focusing on the desired outcomes of a situation or task, you can better prepare yourself mentally for the challenges ahead.
The power of visualisation should not be underestimated because it can help unlock inner resources and hidden potential that remain untapped without this practice. Using mental imagery techniques involves focusing on the end result you desire to achieve, picturing yourself succeeding in each step along the way, learning from any mistakes or missteps that may occur and believing in yourself and your abilities to reach the goal. Additionally, regularly engaging in visualisation allows you to tap into creative problem-solving skills that could lead to innovative solutions you may not have thought of otherwise.
There are many simple things that anyone can do to give themselves an instant boost of confidence. From making physical changes to developing a positive mindset and surrounding yourself with supportive people, practising these daily habits will help increase your self-confidence over time. By setting achievable goals and visualising success, you can unlock inner resources and hidden potential that will open the door for greater opportunities and successes.
You’ve probably heard people talk a lot about self-care, but is it something you do for yourself? Self-care has many benefits for your health and wellbeing, but it’s easy to let life get in the way of taking care of yourself.
Self-care covers many basic things to help you stay fit and healthy, but it can also mean putting yourself first and taking a little ‘you’ time to get back on track. If you’ve been a little overwhelmed or run down, then taking some time for self-care could be what you need to bounce back.
Below you’ll find some of the things you can do to practice some self-care and do something great for yourself this week.
Check in on your health
How healthy do you feel right now? If you’re constantly tired, feeling run down or battling cold after cold, it could be a sign that you need to take care of yourself a little better. Forming some new healthy habits, including eating better and getting eight hours of sleep a night, can make a big difference to your health and make you feel more energised during the day.
Could your health do with a little boost? Shake yourself out of some bad habits and take some steps to put your health first.
Do something for yourself
Self-care can be about doing things for yourself, and that could include treating yourself too. Focus on doing things that will have a real benefit – a new hairstyle, for example, can work wonders for your self-esteem and give you a huge boost.
You could also decide to do something that’s been on your mind for a while. Do you have crooked teeth? Why not get some clear aligners and start transforming your smile? This could boost your confidence in a big way and is an investment in yourself worth making.
You may want to look after your emotions and speak to a therapist, journal, do some gentle exercise or speak to a friend.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something for yourself that will make you happy and give you the lift you need.
Take an evening to relax and rebalance
We all need some time to pamper ourselves, and an evening of self-care could be just what you need. Consider it a mental health day, to help you take care of your mental health and help you find your balance again.
It could be as simple as lighting some candles, having a bath and treating yourself with a face mask – find things that keep you calm and relaxed and will help you shut off from the world for a little while. Make it a regular part of your routine to give you something to aim for as a reward for all of your hard work.
It’s easy to take self-care for granted, but it’s incredibly important to take care of yourself. Take a good look at your current lifestyle and whether there are changes you could make to improve your self-care. Putting yourself first isn’t a bad thing, and doing more of it could be just what you need to feel better inside and out.
How many people do you think are currently struggling with their mental health and want to know how to improve it? The answer will probably surprise you; around a quarter of the population have a mental health disorder, and this can either be minor or something that needs serious medical attention.
That’s a huge number, and it could be that you are one of these people. If that’s the case, it’s crucial to know what you can do to improve your mental health and ensure that you start to feel better. Of course, medication and therapy can be the ideal solutions in some cases, and it’s important to see a medical professional for help no matter what. However, if you can do as much as you can at home to help yourself, things will get a lot better.
Read on for some useful suggestions about some small but powerful ways to improve your mental health.
Take Mental Health Breaks Throughout The Day
If you’re feeling as though you’re struggling with your mental health on any given day, you should be able to take a mental health day. This means staying home and doing what you need to do to feel more positive. This will be down to you, but some people like to go for walks in nature, catch up on sleep, read a book, enjoy a spa day at home, and so much more.
However, if you can’t take a whole day for any reason (although it’s wise to try if you can), taking a mental health break of anything from ten minutes to a couple of hours is the next best thing. When you are starting to feel overwhelmed, take some time for yourself. Not only can you protect your mental health in this way, but taking breaks when you’re busy can actually make you more productive rather than put you behind because when you get back to what you were doing, you are more focused and feeling healthier.
Look For The Positives
As much as we all love technology, sometimes it serves as a negative force in our lives. Social media, 24-hour news feeds, online newspapers, and even channels like YouTube, can offer us a glimpse of the bad things that are happening around us, and when you have a mental health disorder, this can make things worse. Even if there are positive things happening, it can be hard to see them through all the negative things.
However, in order to improve your mental health, it’s important to change things and ignore the negative to see the positive. The easiest way to do this to begin with is with your own life. Stop scrolling through social media if you know it upsets you and makes you angry, and instead focus on the good things all around you. That could be anything, no matter how small. Perhaps you notice a flower blooming. Your coffee might be delicious. Your little one might make you laugh now that you’ve seen ways to help your baby rollover. There are hundreds of tiny but important positive things happening all around you all the time. When you are feeling down, look for them. This will help to make you feel better, but it will also distract you from your feelings, and that will improve your mental health as well.
Ask For Help When You Need It
They say that communication is the cornerstone to a healthy relationship, and that is true not only with other people but also with yourself. If you trust your partner or a friend, it might help to talk about some of the problems you’re having and get those concerns out of your brain. This can help make things clearer. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open when you feel safe to do so. Emotional stress can sometimes make other problems worse in your relationships with your spouse and other people.
And if you feel like you can’t talk about your mental health, there are multiple types of therapeutic interventions that might help you work through some of the problems you’re having.
When you start to feel like you can’t handle day-to-day tasks or when you often think bad things about yourself or other people, it might be time to ask for help or talk to someone about what’s been going on.
Exercise Every Day
When you stay active and work out every day, your blood flow improves all over your body. With more oxygen in your body and more blood flow, you feel more energetic, fresh, and mentally alert.
If you work in an office, it’s even more important to exercise and do other physical things. Exercise not only keeps our bodies in good shape, but it also keeps our minds in good shape. You don’t have to pay a lot to join a gym to do that. A simple walk is all you need. The most important thing is to do this every day.
Exercise is good for your mental health, but it also makes your bones and muscles stronger, which keeps you from getting hurt while working out or running errands. Since being injured can be a terrible thing for your mental health, exercise can help in this way too.
Expose Yourself To Sunlight (Carefully)
A lack of vitamin D can lead to a number of mental health problems, like Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. When you go outside in the sun, your body releases endorphins, which are also known as “happiness hormones.” These hormones make your brain work better.
So, take a break from your normal routine (which we already know is a good thing to do) and go outside. But make sure you wear sunscreen so you don’t get a sunburn.
Learn To Live In The Present
When a person stays stuck in the past, they are more likely to have mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Negative self-talk like “Why did people do this to me?” steals a person’s happiness and makes them miss opportunities in the present. Try not to think too much about the future and learn to live in the present. By doing this, we can be much more prepared for anything that might happen in the future, so there is no need to worry about it.
Do you ever feel like your past is holding you back from being happy in the present? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to let go of hurtful memories, especially if they’ve experienced a traumatic event. However, carrying around these negative memories can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and wellbeing. That said, this blog post will discuss how to let go of hurtful memories and lead a happier life!
Acknowledge your hurtful memories
The first step to letting go of hurtful memories is acknowledging them. This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s important to face your demons head-on. Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories, you can begin the process of healing. If you’re not sure how to start this process, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can help you work through your feelings and start the journey to recovery.
Understand that your past does not define you
One of the most important things to remember when trying to let go of hurtful memories is that your past does not define you. Just because you’ve experienced trauma or pain in your life doesn’t mean that’s all there is to you. You are so much more than your hurtful memories! Allow yourself to see the good in yourself and know that you deserve happiness.
Also, don’t forget that your hurtful memories don’t have to control your present or future. Just because something bad happened in your past doesn’t mean it will happen again. You have the power to create a bright future for yourself, no matter what your past may hold.
Focus on the present and build a positive future
Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories and accepted that they don’t define you, it’s time to focus on the present. What makes you happy right now? What are your goals for the future? Start spending your time and energy on things that make you feel good. Fill your life with positivity and watch as your hurtful memories start to fade away.
It’s also important to forgive yourself for what happened in the past. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or downplaying its importance. It simply means letting go of the negative feelings associated with the event and moving forward with your life. Remember, you deserve happiness!
Seek professional help if needed
If you find yourself struggling to let go of hurtful memories, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There’s no shame in admitting that you need assistance to deal with your past. A therapist or counsellor such as from The Awareness Centre, can help you work through your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms. They can also provide support and guidance as you begin the process of healing.
Letting go of hurtful memories is a difficult but necessary task if you want to lead a happier life. However, by following the tips outlined above, you can start on the path to recovery and begin living the life you deserve!
When you suffer from low confidence levels, almost every task can seem unachievable. This can have a severe impact on your quality of life, causing you to feel down and miserable at the best of times, so it’s something that you should certainly aim to change in order to enjoy each day to the fullest! Fortunately, this guide contains everything that you need to know to boost your confidence levels like never before, and it couldn’t be simpler to get started today! So, if you’re interested in finding out more, then read on to discover some of the best tips and tricks that you can utilize today to transform the way that you feel about yourself in no time at all.
Source Some New Clothes
Is there any better feeling than throwing on a brand new outfit that shows off all of your favourite features? Sourcing some new clothes can be a brilliant way to boost your confidence levels, as wearing a different outfit from your usual comfort zone clothing can help you to feel head and shoulders above your previous self. Stepping outside your comfort zone is where the magic really happens, so spend a day at your favourite shopping mall or online shop and try on/view a variety of different outfits that you love but wouldn’t usually wear. It can be hard to love your body shape and yourself, so take time with this.
You’re bound to find numerous different outfits that you feel more than confident in, especially if you grab those pieces that you wouldn’t usually consider or that you know flatter you! There are so many different places to buy clothing so don’t fret if you don’t have a shopping mall nearby – simply check online and you’ll be able to source countless different shopping platforms filled to the brim with beautiful clothing that you can order for delivery straight to your door!
Transform Your Smile
It’s fair to say that your smile is probably one of your most notable features, as it’s a way of greeting someone new, someone you respect or someone you love. Your smile is the first thing that a person is likely to notice about you too, so if you don’t feel confident about your smile, you may choose not to put on a happy expression in any situation.
This can discourage people from wanting to approach you, which will no doubt send your confidence levels even further down, so improving your smile is a sure fire way to feel better about yourself! Invisible braces are one of the easiest and most effective ways to realign your teeth, whereas professional whitening can get rid of discolouration and staining.
No matter what kind of dental treatment that you seek out, make sure you find the best cosmetic dentist to carry out your procedure. You don’t want to risk ruining your smile, so read reviews and check for certifications beforehand.
Practise self love and compassion
Its important to boost your confidence by giving yourself some love too! Work on your mindset, say positive affirmations, learn to love yourself and write a list of your best attributes. Ask friends what nice things they would say about you and keep it in a notebook for those low confidence days! If you find it hard to love yourself or be kind to yourself, reach out to a therapist or coach who can help you to work through confidence and self esteem issues.
Fashion is a powerful force. It has the ability to make people feel confident, empowered, or at its worst horrible about themselves. It can have a positive impact on mental health and self-esteem if you find something pieces that make you feel good about yourselves. On the other hand, fashion can also have a negative impact on self-esteem and mental health if you’re constantly exposed to images and messages that make you feel inferior or unhappy with who you are. Especially with the inward turn of the pandemic, its hard for people to feel happy and confident about themselves.
The Psychology of Fashion
Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry and a big part of many people’s daily lives. It’s a subculture that’s easy to invest in. And, like any other trend, fashion comes and goes, so you’re always in control of how much you invest in it. The psychology of fashion reveals the different aspects of how fashion impacts people’s self-esteem. From the way people perceive others based on the way they’re dressed, to how people present themselves to the world by choosing outfits, fashion has a strong psychological effect on everyone.
Our bodies are such an important part of life, and it’s normal to have some insecurities about them. Still, as you grow older, many people struggle with body dysmorphia or an unhealthy obsession with one’s appearance. Constant exposure to images of other people’s bodies that are unrealistic and unattainable can be harmful to your self-esteem, especially in young people who are still forming their self-image. This can lead to eating disorders, body dysmorphia, low self esteem and depression and anxiety. Looking at images of gorgeous models wearing clothes you can’t afford or fit in can makes you feel left out or confused. It’s fun to keep up with trends, but try to avoid getting stuck in a rut of hype culture.
So what should I do?
You can’t ignore fashion and societal trends- but it’s important to not let fashion (or what is popular to wear) become something that defines who you are. It’s a fun accessory, something you should do for enjoyment, creativity, and confidence. For people who have found themselves struggling with their mental health due to the psychological effects on body image, it’s important to seek help. Talk to your friends and family members, or seek professional help if you need it. There are many ways to find happiness in style- whether you’re into vintage clothing, a specific designer, or a particular style like athleisure. You can read blogs with good recommendations, and wear things that you love, like that pair of perfect trainers or Men’s Off-White Hoodies. There’s something for everyone, and it’s important to have fun with it!
Fashion and societal expectations of how one should look can have a big impact on mental health, so it’s important to be mindful of it. It is also hard to be bombarded with negative messages on body image via social media. The body positive movement has sprung up because of this narrative- showing curvier models and embracing your flaws as beautiful.
There are also many ways to wear your favourite clothes in a way that makes you feel good about yourself, without negatively impacting your mental health. Focus on what makes you feel like the best version of yourself!
This article was written by a freelance writer and contains do follow links.
TRIGGER WARNING- DISCUSSES SUICIDAL IDEATION, SELF HARM AND BIPOLAR DISORDER. PLEASE READ WITH CARE
This weekend, I went home to my mums to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover) and have some quiet, family time. It was wonderful and because our religious laws mean we don’t use the internet, our phone on our festivals, it meant I had time for digital detoxing and switching off. But with that silence, came space. To think and reflect.
Something you may not know about me is that as well as being a writer, throughout the years I have been a prolific diary (journal) writer. The act of putting pen to paper and type to keyboard has always been therapeutic for me in my darkest moments. I found a diary I had written in 2013, when I was living with depression, suicidal ideation and self harm thoughts and actions.
The journal was covered in butterflies- always my symbol of hope. I don’t want to trigger anyone so I will say this carefully- essentially, I was so unwell that for me, my symptoms were: sleeping until the afternoon with a slight break for a meal or tablets, not socialising, finding it hard to wash due to increased anxiety and lethargy, feeling like I didn’t want to wake up the next day and wanting to harm myself in various ways- but being so frightened by these thoughts (because i knew they weren’t really Eleanor) that i had to vocalise them to my family and psychiatrist to keep myself safe. Thats what I did and its why I am still here today, in recovery.
I lived with this depression for about 6 months- my psychiatrist was encouraging me to try Lithium to stablise the bipolar but I wasn’t ready and wanted to see if Quetaipine could halt that. As we know, I became hospitalised for mania soon after in 2014 which led me to recovery and writing my book Bring me to Light.
When you live with an illness like bipolar disorder, you can sometimes forget the nuances of all the details of how you were when you were unwell. For me, I always felt that I handled the depressive episodes ‘better’ than the mania- just because I was able to keep myself as safe as possible by telling my family and doctor and changing medication. My psychiatrist had to come out to see me at home with a nurse as I was so unwell and I wrote out how I felt for him to know.
So many people live with terrible episodes of depression so this blog is just looking back and giving you some knowledge of how it manifested for me. Essentially, depression is a slowing down of the mind towards inactivity, darkness, misery, anxiety, agitation and it is often triggered due to changes in hormones and brain chemistry (if you have a family history its more likely to happen). Depression is not just low mood. Its paralysing. Its not wanting to be in the world and being in so much emotional pain. You may think of ways to harm yourself and you may dream of not being in the world. Or you may be ‘high functioning’. I somehow managed to go to friends weddings during this time despite spending the other days in bed til 5pm- I have no idea how- anti depressants and support helped greatly. However, my depression was dark and invasive.
Now, I had forgotten a lot of these finer details. For me, I never truly wanted to die- I wanted the uncontrollable bipolar to go! The suicidal ideation was my bipolar brain chemistry but also an expression of not coping with life and the bipolar moods I had been given- I was 24 and I couldn’t enjoy life- i was wracked with anxiety too. My mental health was fragile and unstable and it is no way to live- but what saved me, was being hospitalised and finding medication and therapy that has helped me to live in remission (thank God) for 7 years now.
I can say now that my brain chemistry is balanced and even if i ever get sad or frustrated, I don’t have those awful thoughts and if they ever come up, I can deal with them. I have such a supportive partner and family- my family and psychiatrist saved me as well as me trying to save myself- I frightened myself with my thoughts and I had some semblance of being able to keep myself going, which is not possible for everyone. It helped that my Dad has bipolar and could really understand what was going on for me too- he understood exactly how I was feeling but he knew it was the illness and not Ellie. I feel so lucky for that because not everyone has this. My mum, step dad and sister and wider family also were so supportive and never blamed me for being unwell. That helped too. My faith also has helped me dearly,
If youve got this far thank you for reading. My mission is to help others with these conditions feel less alone, through sharing my own experiences. I have been careful not to reveal what certain thoughts were here so I don’t trigger anyone.
If you live with depression and a host of other issues, you can recover again. Hold on. You will not feel like this forever and you can find a level of happiness and stability again. Reach for help, someone you trust, a help line, a psychiatrist and don’t give up.
You sabotage your relationships when things feel too calm.
You panic when your partner goes on a family vacation, believing that they’re leaving you forever.
Perhaps you can’t stand hugs or gentle touch.
Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself: “What in the world is wrong with me?! Am I just not cut out to have close friends or a romantic relationship?”
Actually, that’s not the case! You deserve close relationships– everyone does. If you resonate with these scenarios, though, you may have some unprocessed trauma– and that trauma may be making your relationships feel like a rusty, ungreased wheel.
You’re not alone. Here’s how trauma can blow our relationships off-course, and also, how self-compassion can help to ease that struggle.
Trauma Creates Hypervigilance
Trauma is any incident that overwhelms your ability to cope (abuse, neglect, or surviving a natural disaster, just to name a few examples). These abhorrent experiences cause our brains and bodies to swirl with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
After a seriously traumatic event (or relationship or childhood), our cortisol levels don’t always return to baseline. Often, the nervous system creates a new baseline of heightened stress response. In short: you don’t go back to being as calm as you were before the storm. Now, you’re hypervigilant all the time. You’re always stressed, always scanning for the next attack.
Unfortunately, relationships can’t be created without vulnerability, and vulnerability can’t happen if you’re constantly scanning for attack.
You might be hypervigilant in your relationships if:
You feel uncomfortable, fidgety, and unsafe during social situations
You constantly micro-analyse everything other people say to make sure they’re not going to hurt you
You constantly micro-analyse everything you say to make sure you don’t say anything “wrong”
Aversion to Intimacy
Trauma, and the excess cortisol it triggers, also creates an aversion to physical closeness. When we’re stressed (i.e., when our cortisol is on full blast), our nervous systems naturally resist being touched.
Do you find yourself shrinking away from hugs? Do you feel an urge to run away when someone gently touches your arm? That’s likely a trauma response.
Of course, if you’ve experienced assault or physical or sexual abuse, this is a double whammy. Since your trauma came from physical touch, your brain has registered any physical touch as dangerous– on top of your increased baseline level of cortisol. Of course you’d feel sick at the thought of a hug! If this sounds like you, go extra easy on yourself if you struggle with relationships; this struggle isn’t your fault.
So, This Sucks… How in the World Do I Heal?
Yes, it sounds bleak. If this is you, you may feel hopeless. I’m with you; I’ve been there. It’s not hopeless, though. This is healable.
Therapy: Do I Even Have to Say It?
Yes, healing this will probably require trauma-informed therapy. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can begin to shift once you see a therapist who validates your traumatic experiences.
Now That That’s Out of the Way: Self-Compassion Comes Next
I’m 100% serious when I tell you: you deserve to go easy on yourself.
I say this with firmness, and yet, I forget to go easy on myself most days. Regardless, it helps immensely to stop comparing your relationships to other people’s relationships (both friendships and romantic relationships!).
Yes, it may likely take you longer to learn how to develop lasting relationships, both friendly and intimate. It may seem unfair that making and keeping tons of friends, as well as a life partner, comes so easily to some, while you’re struggling to simply text one person back.
Know what? It is unfair. You shouldn’t have gone through the trauma that you went through. What this means, though, is that you can recognize that you face more relational setbacks than someone who didn’t suffer the same trauma as you did. You’re starting further behind with a ball and chain tied to both feet.
Thus: you can stop comparing, and you can stop feeling like you’re “behind” somehow. Always try to recognize even your tiniest victories, even and especially the challenges which seem “easy” to other people.
Relationships make our lives juicy and sparkly, and so, if trauma has impacted your ability to form relationships (I’m with you!), then you’re probably struggling.
Try your best to go easy on yourself. You’ve been through a slog of painful experiences that, unfortunately, can make life on Earth feel like walking straight uphill all the time. Therapy helps. Self-compassion helps.
And yes, I know it’s tiring, but there is help for you out there. Just keep going.