There are countless ways of taking good care of you. So many ways of filling your bucket with joy, exercise, meditation and so on. But what if these things don’t work?
Last year I moved country and this resulted in major depression. I tried to run, I tried to listen to podcasts, and I tried to list my gratitude. But nothing worked, nothing even made a dent. Then I realized that you can try to fill your bucket, but if your bucket is broken, you can toss whatever you have inside and it will fall right through.
Sometimes it can take a while before you realise you can’t help yourself with these tools, and you need to pull out the big guns.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS: A SILENT PANDEMIC
One in four people in the world are affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives. Ill mental health is among the leading cause of disability worldwide. 800,000 people a year die of suicide. Mental health issues are a silent pandemic.
This means that we need help. It’s simple really; you break an arm, you go to the hospital and get a cast. This helps you heal. You get sick with an infection and call the doctor and they prescribe you antibiotics. You aren’t feeling great, you take your vitamins, you exercise and take care of your physical body.
WE NEED TO START TREATING OUR MIND THE SAME WAY WE WOULD TREAT OUR BODY
We need to ask for help. But where do you go? What do you do? Some days are very bad and I call the doctor for an appointment but by the time I get there things have eased, the day is not too bad anymore.
I wonder if I made it up, I wonder if it was real. The answer is simple, it’s real, these feelings are very real, and those intrusive thoughts are very real. Document those bad days so when you get to the doctor you can show them what some days are like.
There are steps to fix your bucket. You don’t have to keep walking around with a broken bucket.
Life is worth living, you deserve to live your life not just to be alive.
This does not mean the road will be simple. The road is hard and very long. Think of Dorothy on her yellow brick road, she stumbled into all kinds of troubles and struggles to get back home. But she was not alone.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
Talk to your doctor start ruling out physical problems that can cause bad mental health, like lack of vitamins or sleep apnea. There are many more physical problems that can be a cause of your broken bucket.
THERE IS NO EASY OR FAST CURE
Unfortunately, there is no easy or fast cure for deep rooted mental health struggles; fast fixes are usually not good for you in the long run. I got addicted to anxiety medication, I did not fix my bucket – I just kept popping pills that temporarily eased the pain, but the leaks in my bucket were getting bigger.
MEDICATION + THERAPY TO GET TO THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE
Find a doctor you trust, and research all the methods and medication they prescribe. I have worked at a hospital and will let you in on a secret. Doctors are humans too, they don’t have all the answers they are not all knowing. You know yourself best and you should always trust your gut and feelings.
In my own opinion a combination of medication and therapy is the way to go. You can medicate yourself all you want but if you don’t get to the root of things you can’t make a resolution.
Medication takes time to work, be patient. I know this part is the hardest. If you don’t have an ounce of happiness in your body how can you have patience? Just keep walking on the yellow brick road, keep living till you feel alive again.
GET SUPPORT FROM THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE
Being in the middle of a metal health crisis can be very scary. If you have kids, tell your spouse to take time off work. If your spouse’s employers do not understand, explain this to your doctor who can be your advocate. In the past my doctor has written medical notes for my husband’s work to be excused from going into work. If you broke both your legs you would need special care as well – this is essentially your situation – you have broken both legs and you need help.
That’s ok; there is no need to feel guilty about this. You need to feel safe and loved.
This blog is edited and was published first on WellWomen