…Recover from a nervous breakdown (4!)
So I’ve covered medication (although I have to say that the jury is still out on that one), therapy and cat therapy and now I’m on to…
…Healing Effort No. 4: Exercise
Anxiety and Depression has made me hesitate to leave the safe confides of my little home, I gather this is a normal reaction; the stupid, primeval part of my brain perceives that I am in danger and informs me that I should be scared to go into the outside world, which is bloody unfortunate because it’s actually the most important thing in helping me out of this stupor – catch 22. But luckily therapy has educated me about how my brain works and I’ve decided that if I want to get better I’m going to have to take control over the stupid part of my brain and leave the house for some well-needed exercise. I’m not talking like a 5k run, I’m talking a little jog or a nice walk in the fresh air. Baby steps.
But its harder than you’d think, for example I’m writing this blog now and the words aren’t flowing as much as they normally do, the Citalopram is disturbing my sleep and last night was a particularly bad night – but despite not much sleep I know that if I went out on a little jog now it would help; help me feel better and help me write better, but the truth is I’m scared, scared to go outside. Sometimes when this happens I decide yoga is a better idea because I can do it in the inclosed space of my little living room. And it does help, yoga is great for getting the energy moving around your body and for settling your mind, I usually finish with a meditation practise and feel much better afterwards – better because that’s the effects the movements of my body have on my mind but better also because it’s a sense of accomplishment to have gotten my depressed behind out of bed and moved it around a bit! But I often find that by the evening I’m a bit jittery and bit panicky and scared of the big old nothing that I’m always scared of. I may be tired because of lack of sleep but I have nervous energy roaming around my body that I don’t know what to do with and the result is a crying, flappy handed, shaky mess.
This is a further exasperated by… now this feels a little bit difficult to share, but I also seem to have developed a bit of a verbal tick- yay.
When I’m feeling anxious I find myself saying “My name is Milly” over and over, which I have to say makes me feel completely mental, like straight jacket mental, but I can’t seem to help it. But this weekend I went on two very long coastal walks and on Monday walked all the way round the Welsh Heritage Museum (one of my favourite places, bit put out that I wasn’t allowed to wear my cloak but it was raining and my mum said it would ruin the velvet – killjoy) and I found that my ticks completely calmed down, I was even able to walk into a busy pub and watch a truly terrible rugby match without the hint of pointlessly affirming my own name, and whats more I enjoyed it! I enjoyed watching that rubbish game in a funny coastal pub full of farmers. That’s the amazing result of a whole lots of sweat and steps! Its like some weird form of special magic but then I guess even when it’s not fully working the human body really is quite magical.
So Saturday: long coastal walk, Sunday: long coastal walk, Monday: long historical village walk, Tuesday: 10 minutes of yoga, Tuesday evening: popping beta blockers and by the way, did you know that my name is Milly? I know that living in the middle of Cardiff I can’t really go on a long coastal walk every day (more’s the pity) but I do live right on a park which I could schlepped myself around. Not only did this weekend of lovely excercise calm down the more embarrassing symptoms of my mental health but it completely cleared my head, not of thoughts, just the fog that they were shrouded in; I finally decided where I’d like to go on my honeymoon – a decision I haven’t been able to make for over a year now, I also made a very important employment decision and I started, for the first time in all of this to feel truly content, and perhaps more astonishingly, hopeful.
Medication hasn’t done this for me, it’s made me groggy, forgetful, skinnier and sleepless – but I’m not a doctor and I’m sure (/I hope) that my chemical imbalances are being, well, balanced. Therapy has definitely helped me on this path – it was my therapist who told me to get out of my house and go walking, and to look outside of myself; to wonder where the other people are walking and what their story is, to think externally instead of internally. And Gawd love ’em my cats have offered their own unique form of faeces related exercise.
So go forth! Put your hand on that front door handle, take a deep breath and get going! And don’t forget to congratulate yourself for a job well done at the end of it.
I think I’m going to go on that jog now…