Healing life lessons you need to know

Life lessons are something we all learn and I feel I have learnt more in the past two years than I have in the last 29 years of my life. Postnatal depression has been horrible, but it has also opened my eyes to see the world through a whole new light. I have discovered mindfulness, have become a happier and calmer person (still a work in progress) and I have become a great mum. I thought I would list a few healing life lessons that I have discovered and that I think can be appreciated by anyone at any age.

  1. You need to feel pain before you are strong enough to grow to your full potential.
  2. At times you are left with the choice to walk away and you have to take it.
  3. Stop worrying about peoples opinions of you and as soon as you stop you will be free.
  4. Every experience will teach you important life lessons to help you grow.
  5. Look after yourself first and others second. If you forget to take care of yourself you will burn out an you are no good to anyone.
  6. Some people are just not good people, cut them out of your life, don’t try and change them.
  7. Try not to think about what you don’t have, but what you do have. Your life is far more fulfilled than you know.
  8. You are your own worst critic, you may have failed, but don’t let those negative thoughts in and stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
  9. You can survive the darkest of days. When you are at you lowest and feel like you can’t go on remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new start.
  10. Don’t live your life in the past. Remember and cherish memories but look forward to making new ones. You can’t go back so don’t spent too much time living in the past instead of enjoying the present.
  11. Judge people by their actions, not their words.
  12. Be adaptable. Life changes and sometimes plans have to change to work with it.
  13. Don’t avoid your feelings, address them, make sense of them and deal with them.
  14. Be present in the moment. Take a step back, breath in and feel it.
  15. Failure is important and something we need to go through so succeeding is more rewarding.
  16. Having your heart broken will show you the importance of true love in the future.
  17. Apologising is as important for you as the person you apologise to. To say sorry and mean it is healing.

Excepting my life and these lessons has helped me heal and become a more positive and happy person. I would love to hear some of your life lessons you have learnt?

 

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my 11 top tips for getting happy

My 11 top tips for getting happy

I am not a therapist and definitely not a doctor, but I have found ways of getting happy again. I’ve been in a rotten place and I’ve been diagnosed with postnatal depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. I’ve had experience on how to change my life for the positive and I’ve worked extremely hard the last six months to dig myself out of a dark place. I’ve put together some of my tips which have worked for me.

  1. Have a therapy – Therapy for people can mean different things, I recommend having a councillor to talk over your worries before they become problems so you can make sense of them. If you think a more direct therapy may help then look into Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. For me CBT has really changed my behaviour and made anxiety easier. Read my blog post here.
  2. Have a creative outlet – For many years I neglected giving myself the time and space to have a creative outlet. Painting, drawing, colouring in can all be amazing to take your brain away from thinking to just letting it be. For me now my creative outlet is writing and it also doubles up as a great therapy. If you aren’t artistic then try gardening, baking, cooking, dancing and I’m sure you’ll find something you love. If in doubt think back to when you were a child and what you enjoyed doing.
  3. Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness without a doubt works in my mind. It has helped me to switch off, relax and take notice of my own body. It’s great for anxiety and lovely way to unwind before going to sleep.
  4. Get good sleep habits – I try (and sometimes fail) to stay off my phone an hour before bed every night and either practice mindfulness (breathing) or read a simple book (nothing that requires too much thinking).
  5. Make a weekly happiness list – When I was going through a really tough time I found this really helped me to see even on the worse weeks I still had moments of happiness.
  6. Do something you love and be selfish – Once a week if you can, do something just for you. Have your favourite dessert and watch a good film, a bath with you favourite bathbomb or a coffee with a friend. Make sure it happens and make the time for yourself.
  7. Walk – Get outside the house and walk, it’s good for you. If you need to layer up with lots of layers or wear a rain coat it doesn’t matter just get out. You’ll always feel happier  and see things from a different perspective outside your four walls and the exercise is good for you.
  8. Right off a bad day – Some days nothing will go right, right it off and start a fresh the next day. Every bad day we learn something new to move forward with and put it in the past. Being happy isn’t possible 100% of the time, we just need to learn to deal with the negative in a positive way.
  9. Read – I love reading, but again neglected it for a years. I now always have a few books on the go. Like TV shows I read what I’m in the mood for at the time, so sometimes it’s self-help/motivation and others its romantic book. I love nothing more than getting lost in a book I love.
  10. Positive Affirmations – I love a good affirmation and have a few written around the house that I read and repeat. It’s amazing how just saying something out loud can have such a positive effect on your mind.
  11. Get the family involved – Recently I have been trying to get my daughter involved, we’ve been practising different yoga moves, breathing and affirmations. It makes my daughter happy, I enjoy the company and I know how much good it is doing her.

In my experience the more you do something the easier it gets to make it part of your routine. I hope these tips to getting happy help and I would love to hear some tips from yourself.

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I think I just beat depression

Every day I have woken up, depression has been there, hiding in the background, like a dementor draining all happy thoughts away. The other day I woke up, just like any other and got out the bed, had a shower, which was interrupted by a half asleep Miss J needing a wee. I dried off and settled down to do my make up with my children sat in my bed, cuddling and the TV on with cartoons. I stared at myself in the mirror and something had changed, had shifted and I didn’t recognise my own reflection. We pass through life often not noticing the small changes until it adds up and becomes a big change. As I stared at my reflection I realised the woman staring back at me was happy, I was happy, I had changed and depression had left me.

I had been so busy with life and our routines that I hadn’t even noticed that my depression had finally gone. I wasn’t just having the few odd good days anymore I was having most days which were good. I was able to wake up in the morning, deal with everyday stresses without crumbling under pressure. I am taking care of my children, going out with them, enjoying them and enjoying life. Life is no longer this foggy, dark, monotonous and painful existence, but actually a fun, happy and worthwhile existence.

My hard work had finally paid off and I had ridden the storm out. The positive thinking, mindfulness, reading and therapy had finally given me that light bulb moment. I was in charge of my own life and own happiness and I needed to make the changes to let happiness in. I had accepted myself and my flaws, let go of guilt and finally got my life back and it feels amazing.

I know that I will still have challenging days and that my depression could even come back, but I now have proof in my own life that things can change and turn around. You can reach rock bottom and climb back up to the top. You can make plans again, you can smile, you can still be you again. I had become me again, but better, I was more aware, kind, understanding and appreciative. I can see things from both sides and have great empathy for everyone going through their own personal battles.

What has depression taught me in these last two years? It has shown me that I am far stronger than I ever realised and deep down I am a kind person with a big heart. It has shown me that I am a fantastic mother, because even when I was at my worse I felt immense guilt about my children. Even in midst of it all I still fed, washed and cuddled my children even when I couldn’t take care of myself. I still protected them and shielded them the best I could. When I was struggling most I was still trying to be selfless to protect them.

This is just my battle and you shouldn’t draw comparisons if you are going through something similar. Everyone’s battle with mental illness is unique and has many variables. I was lucky as I always had a supportive husband next to me, I was able to pay to go privately to get the therapy I needed and I finally found an antidepressant that works for me. I am forever grateful to my husband who has stood by me, supported and loved me when I couldn’t love myself. His patience is admirable and his heart is pure and without him I couldn’t be the woman and mother I am today. I still have problems just like anyone else but I am in a place where I can work on them and become better, but for now depression can fuck right off.

 

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Learning to communicate emotions

I thought I would write a post on something I am trying to learn to do with my therapist to hopefully give me a better understanding and also help others. Something I think many of us struggle with daily is how to communicate emotions and trying to change the way we think and do things, especially when we are creatures of habit it can be quiet difficult to learn to do something in a different way. For me to learn I find the best way to do it is to write it down in my own words, so this is what I am going to try to do.

We are taught from a young age to hide our emotions and often our emotions are invalidated. Do you remember at times as a child when you would cry and were told by your parents or even a teacher you were over reacting to your emotion. I know I have even told my daughter at times this and have even said she’s acting like a baby or being silly, which could affect her negatively. This behaviour is not helpful to a child or adult as it is basically invalidating them and teaching them hide their emotions. We all know if you suppress emotions eventually they build up and then they blow out of proportion to the actually trigger. I have a tendency to shout and cry at the same time when my emotions boil over and it can happen pretty often. I think the stiff upper lip of us English people is still so prevalent today where emotions and feelings are still often dismissed, but as we become more aware me know that this isn’t helpful for our wellbeing and things are beginning to change and people are becoming more mindful.

What I am trying to learn to do is communicate my emotions better and notice them more. I am a highly emotional person thanks to my borderline personality disorder and I want to recognise and communicate my emotions better. I find it easy to write about how I feel and I think that’s why I’ve found blogging so therapeutic, but for me to talk face to face I struggle to explain and that is something I need to work on.

Out of habit I also seem to suppress emotions and not show how I really feel which impacts me mentally. I have felt hurt and betrayed and never spoken up over fear of being told my feelings are not validated. I need to learn to own my own feelings and emotions and find a healthy way to communicate them.

This concept all comes down to mindfulness, which is all about being conscious of the present moment, are thoughts and feelings and others around us. It improves mental wellbeing so we can enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. A quick exercise I have learnt is to concentrate on your breathing, this is such an easy concept and something you can do almost anywhere. To do this all you need to do is focus on your breathing, breathe in for five seconds and then breath out for seven seconds. It immediately makes you focus on just your breathing, something we do all the time without a conscious thought, it relaxes and re-centres you and you can do it throughout the day to bring moments of calm.

We can learn to understand our emotions and use them in a more positive way to become more conscious and happier people. Emotions are not bad and not something we should feel we need hide and not something with should try to make our children hide. Once you learn how to communicate your emotions in a healthier way I believe life will be more rewarding, relaxing and you will feel better and more in control of your life. You are the manager of your life and you are in charge.

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Gifts of kindness – Spreading holiday cheer

I have decided I want to start spreading some holiday cheer with some gifts of kindness. Recently I feel I have taken more from this world than I have given back. I have taken a lot from the NHS with the help I’ve needed with my postnatal depression and taken lots of time and energy from my friends by needing their support. Now I am in a better place I need to start to balance out the world again for my own mind and what better time it could be to spread some kindness. Obviously it’s good to do these things whenever we can and I try to be mindful and helpful whenever I can throughout the year, but I’ve got some catching up to do. I have 11 days until Christmas and 11 gifts of kindness to complete so I can enjoy my Christmas knowing I have tried to make a difference in this world, however small it is.

It’s so easy to get consumed by life and not notice the world around you and how hard and evil it is for some people. Everyday in this world people are starving, homeless, living in fear and desperate. I like to think that most people want to do well and help people, but there are also many people who feed of fear and pain and want to see people suffer. My acts of kindness will not make much of a difference, but I am trying and would love to see you join me. We have to keep trying to make this world a better place.

It’s my job as a parent to show my children how to be kind and help others in need. I will be making my children aware of why we are doing this task and getting them involved so they hopefully grow up knowing to help others.

Below are my ideas of kindness and if anyone would like to join me I will be adding pictures to Instagram and twitter and using hashtag #SpreadingHolidayCheer

14th December – Spreading some blog love by sharing some of my favourite blog posts through my Facebook and doing lots of commenting.

15th December – Donation of baby clothes, toys and toiletries to my local mothers hostile

16th December – Donation to the food bank which includes some treats

17th December – Donation of money into a charity box

18th December  – Leave a tip for the bin men

19th December – Buy the big issue and leave some money for a busker

20th December – Buy lunch for someone in need

21st December – Leave a bottle of wine on my neighbours doorstep

22nd December – Buy someone a lottery scratch card

23rd December – Bring cakes into work

24th December – Leave a tip for someone who usually isn’t tipped for their service.

 

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