I have climbed the peaks and troughs of mental health over the years. I have had depression and beaten it. I pride myself on the proactive strategies I take to keep mentally well. Two weeks ago I felt happy, energised and well. So, imagine my surprise when on Sunday and Monday last week I felt sad, weepy and mentally fragile.
Having written a book about my ‘green recovery’, which includes my tips on how I stay mentally well I felt even more aghast that it should creep up on me like that. It reminded me that no matter how prepared I feel, no matter how great I feel, there are times when poor mental health just sneaks up on me.
In hindsight, I had missed some of the signs. A nagging feeling that I needed to deal with some underlying emotions. The safety behaviours – pushing thoughts away and keeping busy with other things. A reluctance to open up and talk.
When I realised it needed to be addressed, I booked an appointment with my counsellor. This brought all the emotions to the surface, thus the bad day. Which was much needed. No longer was I pushing things away. It all came out.
I’m sharing this in case you are having an unexpected bad day. It happens to us all, even those of us who are prepared and who know the signs.
So how did I get out of it?
- I leaned on my husband (and should have done this much sooner!).
- I booked some appointments with my counsellor, to get me back on track.
- I took a sick day from work. I shut myself off from the rest of the world and focused on me. I did some gentle admin, I cooked, I read, I took a walk outside, I let the emotions all come out.
It’s a reminder that anyone can have a bad mental health day, even those who are seemingly happy and on top of things. The good news is that with a bit of sustained effort I can generally bounce back quickly these days.
If you’d like to read more about how I tackle both physical and mental health please take a look at my book The Cactus Surgeon: Using Nature to Fix A Faulty Brain.