‘How I deal with Anxiety and Depression’ – Guest post by Ashley Owens at Generally Anxious

This guest post was written by blogger Ashley Owens at Generally Anxious http://www.generallyanxious.com
You can find her on Twitter at @genanxious. Ashley is also an author of a mental health novel.
Here, Ashley talks about her experience of anxiety and depression and how she deals with it. We thank her for contributing such an enlightening post!
I have dealt with anxiety & depression for over 30 years. It’s been an exhausting and sometimes sloppy ride. The most important thing I’ve learned is to cope. In my case, if I attempt to ignore (yeah right) or fight anxiety & depression, it gets worse. Instead, I am learning to live with them.

Check in with yourself daily.  Life can move pretty quickly.  Every day, I take the time to recognize how I’m feeling, and make adjustments as needed.  EVERY DAY. As a diabetic takes their blood sugar and adjusts their insulin amount accordingly, if I am tired, nervous or sad, I make sure to take it easy on myself. Take baby steps, one step at a time through the day, and be honest about how much I can accomplish, without over extending myself. I am not a superhero, and no one expects me to be (except my dogs).
Treat your body well.  ‘Comfort food’ got it’s name for a reason.  However, if I don’t moderate the amount of junk food, alcohol, late nights, or sloth-like behaviour, I end up feeling worse, triggering anxiety & depression.  I try to get a good night’s sleep, take my vitamins, eat vegetables and be active every day, as best I can.  Full disclosure: cheesecake is my favorite food, so I certainly love eating things that aren’t necessarily good for me.  And I allow myself to, in moderation. 
Do not trivialise your hobbies. I love listening to music, exercising, reading books, snuggling with my pups. These are some of the things that make me happy, so it is worth the time to enjoy them. Contributing to your happiness enables you to deal with real life: chores, school, work, conflict. More importantly, happiness makes us a better friend, co-worker, daughter/son, spouse, person.
Am I a master at all of this?  Not. Even. Close.
Make a small checklist.  As a daily reminder, write down a short list of questions that will indicate if you are taking proper care of yourself.  For example:
  • Am I getting at least 6 hours of sleep every night (and preferably 8 hours)?
  • Did I hug my pet/family member/ best friend today?
  • Have I exercised in the last 3 days?
  • Did I dance around to music at full blast this week?!
You can use this short list as a barometer – If you answer ‘no’ to any of your questions, you need to make a change to keep yourself on track, healthy and happy.
I walk with anxiety & depression everyday, one step at a time, being honest with myself that I’m not perfect. Well guess what? Nobody is! You are not alone in your struggles, so be honest with how you feel, and keep moving forward!

Gratitude to you: with thanks

Recently I have been having the opportunity to grow my little blog here and it is amazingly being read around the world. From the UK to Israel, The USA and Canada to Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain,  Norway, Finland, Croatia, Monaco, Indonesia, India, Peru, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, Uruguay, Nigeria and Sudan.. I am amazed each day by where people are reading from and I am so so thankful. I write this not to brag but just because its so wonderful for me to reach people from different cultures. 🙂

We now have almost 60 dedicated WordPress followers, over 1,000 followers on Twitter, almost 700 in Instagram and 130 of my close friends and family on Facebook. This week, inspirational acid attack survivor Katie Piper liked one of our posts on Instagram about positive affirmation which was incredibly exciting!

We hope to grow the blog to spread light around the world for those suffering with mental health issues. I love receiving your supportive comments and sharing in online conversations with you all.

Today I am feeling so happy and thank you for engaging. I am also excited to announce a blog collaboration with Counsellors Cafe UK website, which will hopefully be posted in the next few weeks  and  Jewish Association of Mental Illness, who may be using my blog posts in the new year.

I am also thankful to Louie Rethink Mental Illness and Tim at Time to Change for getting me published before I even started publicising my blog.

With love xxxthankyou1

World Mental Health Day- The Mental Health Checklist.

Today is World Mental Health Day. This is a day focusing on mental health and illness around the world and encourages people to talk about their own experiences. So, I thought I would write a checklist of tools that have helped me recover from depression and severe anxiety in the past. I still have bad days but this is what has helped me.

1) Support Network- having someone to talk to. Whether its one friend, a family member or an extended support network on or offline, talking to those you love and who care for you is vital. If you struggle in this area, the charity Samaritans is always on hand to listen on their helpline.

2) Waking up earlier- Try and get up an hour earlier in the morning to kickstart your day.

3) Get washed and dressed even if you don’t feel like it when depressed. It can alter your mood for a little while and prepare you for the day.

4) Set 3 small achievable goals in your day. It could be as ‘insignificant’ as getting out of bed if you are depressed. (Note: not insignificant at all!!). If you are feeling good, set yourself a goal personal to you.

5) Exercise. I hate exercise- but even moving around a little can change your mindset. Build it up slowly.

6) Eating and resting well. With my bipolar, this has been vital in keeping me well. If you are having trouble eating or sleeping, speak to your GP/ psychiatrist.

7) Positivity. Try to think and visualise something happy. While difficult when you are very low, even writing about something happy cheers me up.

8) Don’t suffer in silence- Tell someone how bad you are feeling.

Happy World Mental Health Day from London, England.