Drowning in Emotion #mentalhealth

I’m not embarrassed to admit I was struggling emotionally earlier this year…. after some soul searching (and help) I realised I’ve basically been running on adrenaline, dealing with repeated family illness, stress and loss over the past 5 years and that when things got back to ‘normal’, my fight or flight mode subsided so everything fully hit me – and it felt overwhelming.

I tend to be pretty good in a crisis and then feel upset after the event – which is kind of what’s happened but on a longer, more gradual scale.
I’d spent so much energy supporting others that I hadn’t looked after myself and all of a sudden, instead of being the person people came to for help, I felt I had nothing left to give anybody – let alone myself.
Even smaller, normal day-to-day life stresses – very annoyingly – seemed so much harder to manage and cope with.
I’m very aware how many people struggle with things like anxiety and depression… not only from friends’ experiences and stuff in the media, but also my previous career because I’m actually a qualified Therapeutic  Counsellor and for a number of years helped people to cope with things like grief, anxiety and depression.

So in some respects I knew what to do when I realized I was properly struggling and not just having a difficult couple of weeks ….. which leads me to today’s blog and talking about some simple things which I hope may help others who are feeling overwhelmed or drowning in emotion – which is what it felt like for me.

 


So if you can relate to what I’m talking about, here are my suggestions of 5 things you can do right now to help yourself …..

1. Accept You Are Really Struggling.
I know it’s difficult to admit you can’t cope, but until you do this nothing is going to truly change.
It’s also important to be really honest with yourself…. and I know it can be hard to admit uncomfortable feelings or thoughts, because our brain naturally defends us and denial is a very easy way of doing so ( trust me I am a bloody expert at it).
But if you are hiding the truth from yourself because you are afraid of the implications or reality of a situation, you can’t make things better or deal with it properly.

It’s also helpful if you can identify exactly what it is about your current situation that’s making you feel the most uncomfortable – we all have triggers or things we find the most tricky to cope with.

 

For instance I know I hate not being in control and it can make me feel unsafe if I’m not, so when times get difficult the way I cope is by trying to find solutions to the problem, to plan and manage things, which makes me feel more in control and generally better about the situation.


2. Release Some Pressure!

Speak – you’d be amazed what comes out that you are unaware of when you start talking about a difficult situation with someone you trust. Sometimes just fully realising what’s bothering you can ease the build up of pressure in your mind…

OR

Write – putting pen to paper in a stream of consciousness, no editing, just spilling your guts out in a letter to yourself or to a person – that they will never see – again can be a great help when you are feeling overwhelmed….

… and this relates back to my first point that getting fully clued up and clear about the specifics of what is bothering you goes a great way in beginning to help ease the situation.


3. Ramp Up Your Self-Care.

Be kind to yourself as you would a friend, give yourself permission to surrender and accept that it’s ok to not be ok for a while.

Little self-care rituals often get overlooked when life becomes difficult – it could just be a case of cooking your favourite meal,  having a long bath of an evening to help unwind and clear your mind or sitting down quietly to write in a journal … I wrote a post about the things I do here.


4. Get Outside.

 

Leaving the house can be the last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling low or stressed and something I know I’m guilty of doing, especially as I work from home, but forcing yourself to put on a bit of make up, get out of your trackie bottoms and getting in the fresh air can be very healing.

Feeling the Sun, wind or even rain on your face can be so revitalising and can help lessen the feelings of isolation people who suffer from depression often feel.

Even passing a stranger in the street can feel like some kind of human interaction.

And that leads me on to say that trying to say yes to more social things, even when you really don’t feel like it can be a positive step to take – agree to go for a drink after work with a friend, even if you have to fake enthusiasm once you get there, again it’s about seeing and being more part of the outside world.


5. Start Planning.
You may not have control of the situation you find yourself in – but you can control how you react to it and what you do next.

Everything in life is temporary, it’s a famous saying for a reason and making future plans can have a positive effect on your mindset… and this has two parts.

One is having things to look forward to outside of the things you are struggling with currently. So whether it’s a night out with a special friend, a trip away or a bucket list for the coming season, having things in the diary to get you out of the house and interacting with people can only help how you are feeling right now, even if it feels a huge and exhausting effort to get out and actually do them.

The second part is more specific about making changes or plans to help with the situation/life/feelings you are uncomfortable with right now.

What can you do to make yourself feel better in the short term?

What do you want your life to truly look like in a few years time?

What do you need to do to make that happen?

Can these things happen the way your life is now?

There’s a brilliant girl on YouTube who has a ‘life design’ channel where she focuses on how to achieve the things you want in your life or even just work out what those things are… and that’s something I struggle with, what do I actually want?!!

She’s very calm and knowledgeable, with quick exercises you can do to help clear your thoughts and she does it without being cheesy, preachy or too ‘self-help’. Her channel is here.


So I find doing some of these 5 things help me start to get my head above the water when times are tough ….

Please don’t be afraid to ask for help – it takes more courage to do that than to just carry on ignoring the situation you are in ….

 

… and there are lots of people out there you can contact if you want some support.

Very reasonably priced therapy: Better Help

UK Counsellor List: Counselling Directory

Free Mental Health Support & Advice: Mind

Anxiety help: Anxiety UK

 

Sending love this Sunday…

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Image credits: Photographer: Eric Rach, Instagram: @ericrach Image Editing: Tiffany, Boho & Blush.  

14 Comments

  1. Sue C
    July 15, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    Beautifully put Tiffany, i think many of us have suffered and your points are dead on.
    I get outside everyday never mind the weather, i say hello to people out walking their dogs and sometimes you can have a chat and it will lift your mood up.
    I agree that being honest about how you are is a good thing, people will expect less ‘bubbles’ from you if they know you cant conjure them up and will offr suppoer sometimes.
    Remembering that people all around you are going through thier own struggles too so you are never the only one!
    Thank you for sharing xx

    • July 16, 2018 / 3:32 pm

      Thank you so much! It’s really sad that so many people are suffering but it’s great that more people are feeling able to talk about it more freely!

  2. Linda Davis
    July 15, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    What a beautifully written piece on what happens to so many people. I can truly empathise as I have felt the same way. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts and advice. Lots of love always💓💖💝xxxxxxxxx

    • July 16, 2018 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you so much Lin 💖 …. it’s really not a nice place to be in when you are feeling like that is it. I definitely think it helps knowing you aren’t alone as well as hearing what helps other people Xx

  3. July 18, 2018 / 12:06 pm

    Great post here. I totally understand the feeling of anxiety and depression. Few years ago, I have experienced it too.. Thanks a lot for sharing your advice and thoughts on this matter

  4. July 18, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    Thanks for being real Tiffany! I completely understand being that place of holding it together for so long out of necessity of circumstances, that when you finally get a chance to breathe it all comes crashing in. This is such a great list – I’m trying to incorporate some of these in my life right now!

  5. July 19, 2018 / 9:25 am

    Thank you for opening yourself up wide and sharing what so many feel like they are doing alone. You are an inspiration and helping other’s know that being human is ok, and that we don’t have to give in to society’s “perfection” cos it doesn’t exist.

  6. July 20, 2018 / 3:13 am

    I’m not sure if anyone can honestly say life is such smooth sailing that we don’t struggle. Challenges help us all grow – and these 5 tips are marvelous to “take the lid” off the boiling pot so to speak. These are great coping tools to help remember your sacred soul and what it’s here to do and become. Thank You for inspiring me today! ❤️

  7. July 20, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    Tiffany, beautiful tips. We all struggle, and as women we have estrogen guilt up the whazoo so to speak! We must do SELF-CARE every single day, it is either do or die and this still continues to be a struggle for women. We are no good to ourselves and others if we dont take care of ourselves first and learn to wave a white flag and ask for help. This does not make us weak, it makes us more power-filled to serve ourselves and others. Better human beings! xo
    I am glad you are back on track and thank you for opening up.

  8. July 20, 2018 / 10:40 pm

    May I add a number 6? Unplug! There is so much data and emotion coming at us from our computers and phones that it distorts our perceptions. Everyone seems to have a happier or easier life. We take politics personally, get into arguments with strangers (this happens between my friends on my FB feed who live in totally different states), feel guilty b/c we cannot donate to every single fundraiser that pops up for someone’s bday. Let’s not even talk about drowning in email Then, add trying to stay on-course at work without distraction from texts, phone calls, and reminders pinging away at your brain. It’s nearly incapacitating!

    Thanks for the list and reality check. So helpful, as always.

  9. July 22, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    All great points Tiffany and so true. I love how you’ve even managed to convey the journey of overwhelmed / drowning / head out the water with your pictures. Having the connection with others and getting outside are two things I struggle with along with admitting there’s a problem and that I need help. Thank you for sharing your story and all the great suggestions.

  10. July 25, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    I absolutely love the pictures you used to illustrate this post. They really spoke to me. I have a hard time when I am not in control either and you gave really good advice here.

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