Having written and read endlessly about depression and anxiety it seems to me that depending on where we are on the spectrum of this disease, we all follow pretty much the same routines. However what I’ve noticed is that the higher we are on said spectrum the less we are able to do, thereby the situation consequently becomes worse in that repetitively circular cycle. So what is this routine that we are all doing?
We all know that exercise raising the heart rate, yoga/Pilates or a breathing controlled form of exercise, CBT or other forms of therapy, healthy diet etc etc all make the sort of difference that medication alone cannot achieve. No shit Sherlock. But do we do this on a regular daily basis or do we wait until we’re at the stage whereby we’re hiding in the cupboard under the stairs with only a duvet, multi-pack of crisps and the spiders to keep us company? Do we wait until we are in this commonly-known place as rock bottom, before we head off to the doctors and/or contemplate whether sitting in our pyjamas and not having left the house for a month perhaps hasn’t been altogether conducive to a healthy mind and body? After all, aren’t physical and mental health intimately connected? Isn’t there a correlation between the two?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am barely on the spectrum; I, like billions of others have my moments of utter despair and given half a chance, I’d be climbing into that cupboard. So my question is this:
Do we all, most of the time, have some semblance of a routine? A routine that includes all of the above which give or take a few blips, that being simply life, keeps us roughly on the straight and narrow. Surely however it would be abnormal not to have moments of sadness, lethargy and downwardly spiralling thoughts, wouldn’t it?
What I think I’m also rather ineloquently trying to say is that for me, if I keep on top of my mental and physical health then I am at least somewhat better prepared for when troubles arise (which is again, simply a part of life) and I feel more able to not only cope with them, but to resolve them and not only to minimise the detrimental mental effects of said troubles but in a far shorter time.
I personally compare my efforts to a vacuum cleaner. As in, if I don’t empty the dust and debris each and every time that my hoover (mental stability) is required to deal with biscuit crumbs and dirt (the rubbish that life consistently throws at us), then it becomes clogged up and is more difficult to reach into the depths of the machine (brain) to remove all the muck, dust and dog hairs (negative thoughts) and of course thereby takes considerably more effort and of course longer to clean out. So for me, a little bit of work every day works a treat. I’m not perfect and I’m certainly no saint, but as a friend once said to me,
“Lots of nothing adds up to nothing, but a little bit and a little bit adds up to a lot.”
What do you do? Do you empty your vacuum cleaner regularly? Do you have a routine? What works for you?