It was a cold foggy day. I could feel the mist on my face but the rest of my body felt numb. The fog was so thick that I couldn’t see anything around me. It felt familiar but I didn’t quite feel safe. I looked down and I could see that I was standing on some train tracks. All of a sudden, I could hear bells ringing and red lights flashing. In the distance, I could hear the horn of a train and a slight light peering through the fog telling me the train was coming full speed ahead in my direction. I knew I shouldn’t be where I was but I felt paralyzed and couldn’t move. I could hear my husband calling my name, trying to find me, asking if I needed help, but I didn’t know how to tell him exactly where I was at. All of a sudden I started to feel the warmth of the sun. The fog was fading away and I was starting to see clearly again. I was able to jump off the tracks and run back to my safe place. What just happened? How did I even get there in the first place?
I work really hard at trying to keep a healthy balance in my life because if I don’t I can find myself standing on that train track. If I’m not careful, I allow anxiety to creep in which can turn to depression. When I’m in that moment I don’t always know how I got there or how to get out of it. Once I do come out of it, I try to figure out what lead me there in the first place.
For several nights in a row, I wasn’t sleeping well. I had somehow hurt my hip and the pain was overwhelming. I would toss and turn all night. Once my hip started to feel better, my dog decided he didn’t like the time change and wanted to keep us all awake and complain about the situation. We were also in a busy season of life. I had a list of projects that needed to be completed but could not figure out when I was going to get it all done. I found myself getting lazy with my food plan and could see the scale slowly inching upwards which made me start to panic. All of these things were the start of a bad downward spiral and my mental health was in danger.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in mental health. I know people who struggle with way more than I do. All I know is what I personally experience. Trying to explain it to someone who doesn’t experience it is very hard. It’s not something I have ever wanted to share with anyone because of the stigma attached to it but it is a part of my story. I always want to be as open as possible so others don’t feel so alone. I’m thankful for the support I do have which includes my husband. I know he feels helpless at times but he truly tries his best and is always by my side during the process and helps pick me up when I come through it.
After I came through this last episode of depression I felt defeated. How do I keep this from happening again? How do I get back on track? How do I feel motivated again? I am writing about all of these things in my blogs and yet I feel stuck. Maybe I shouldn’t write anymore. Nobody cares what I have to say anyway. I thought I had all the answers but I failed. I’m going to gain all my weight back just like others have said I would. What will my five blogger fans think of me now?
I reached out to my support system (my husband) for help. He recommended I go back to my toolbox. My toolbox? “Yes”, he said. “Your toolbox holds all the tools you have been using to help you with your health journey”. For example:
- Prioritize: When my list of projects gets to be too much I tend to freeze up and don’t take care of anything. I need to learn to prioritize what needs to be done and not panic if I can’t do it all. Doing one thing is better than not doing anything at all. I need to also reach out for help before I allow myself to get too overwhelmed.
- Track my food: I reached my goal weight and I was getting lazy with tracking my food. I thought I could just keep track in my head. I also stopped measuring and weighing everything. I thought I could just eyeball it. I might sneak an extra bite of something here and there…and then I wondered why the scale was going up.
- Renew my mind: The negative self-talk is so destructive. We truly believe what we tell ourselves so I need to take words like failure out of my vocabulary. I need to replace all the negativity with positive affirmations.
- Sleep: I know I need sleep to function so I need to be careful with this one. Some things can get in the way of this but I can still make sure I go to bed on time and take naps if needed.
- Pay attention to my feelings and emotions: When I start to get anxious that is usually a warning sign that something is out of balance. When I try to push my feelings aside instead of confronting them, is when I go down a bad path. If I can identify my emotions and pinpoint what is causing them, I can seek help quicker and hopefully resolve an issue before it gets out of control.
- Seek Help: I have to remember I am not alone in my struggles. When I feel stuck, unmotivated, or lost, I always feel encouraged when I turn to someone who has experienced what I am going through. This can be through friends, support groups, books, or podcasts.
Sometimes life will throw you curveballs. Just when you think you have something figured out you may fall. That is ok. We all need to learn to give ourselves grace and then pick ourselves back up and start over again. I’m so thankful for the people in my life who give me a hand to pull me back up on my feet and guide me in the right direction.
I’m not perfect…but I guess most of you know that already. My goal will continue to be to learn and grow and share with you all in the process.