|Just a picture I like: my grandparents' old homestead.|
Most people are surprised (aside from my family and oldest friends) that I have OCD and GAD. Well, that's because I am managing it as best as I can--I take my health very seriously. Think of it this way: if someone is a diabetic and she is managing that well, can anyone tell she has an illness? No, but she still has it. My OCD and GAD (yay comorbidity!) are just a much a part as me as my height: I'm stuck with being 5'4 and I'm stuck with a physiology with a tendency to be anxious.
|Another random image....sea life (albeit in a touch tank)...|
How am I managing my mental health? Well, I FIRMLY believe the mind and body are connected: mental and physical health cannot be separated. Therefore the following are very important to me:
1. EXERCISE! There is much research showing exercise helps alleviate anxiety physiologically! I try to exercise AT LEAST 6 days a week. It is a time commitment, but it is one I firmly believe in.
Yoga: Also calming, and to have a great practice I must focus on the moment. It is also encouraging to see your strength and flexibility improve session by session. PLUS it is a great balance to my more aggressive exercise (running and weight training).
Weight Training: Right now I am TOTALLY into BODYROCK.TV. The exercises are free (!!), fast, and effective. I feel so strong! I have also enjoyed Jackie Warner's Xtreme Time Saving Workout and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.
2. FRESH AIR: This is much easier to accomplish in the summer, but I try to make sure I get outside and do something active, such as snowshoeing a few times a week when the snow comes.
3. DIET: There is research evidence that diet can help many disorders, ranging from ADHD to schizophrenia. I find that limiting/almost reducing my sugar and refined product intake has a great effect on my mental clarity.
***I really think one reason our society has so much anxiety and depression today is due to lifestyle: humans are not made to sit on our derrieres all day inside, eating processed foods.
4. THERAPY: An effective therapist can really help you discover your own resources. That is why I wish to be a counsellor. Currently, I am not engaging in therapy (except for some pseudo-sessions that are a requirement of my courses) but I have found it very helpful in the past.
5. POSITIVITY: As a teenager suffering from bouts of OCD it was easy to get down. I have discovered the power in choosing to see the brighter side of life. It was not easy at first to shift my gears to this mindset, but now it is second nature. When you are positive, more things can roll off you: like water off a duck's back. However, I do not mean to diminish the validity of negative feelings--they are natural and can be healthy. But when they are overtaking your life? That's a problem.
6. TALKING TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS: Talking to my doctor made me realize medication was necessary for me at a certain point of my life. That being said, I do not advocate everyone getting "drugged up." No, in fact, I advocate staying off meds if possible (especially concerning children!). I will not disclose the medication I am on, but if you are really interested, send me an email.
7. ANIMALS & NIECES & FRIENDS & FAMILY: Give me some time with Mr. Alfie-Cat and I am in bliss. B. and L. will always make me feel HAPPY! Spending time with/talking to family and friends is also important. Mr. Fiancé is very good to talk to and is a real support for me!
8. MAKE SOMETHING! Cooking, crafting, painting, sewing....they are all outlets for energy and creative expression.
If this post was TMI for you, well, I hope you stopped reading. :) If you find it in anyway helpful or informative, I am happy for that. PLEASE bear in mind, this is only my experience and I am not a medical professional, and still a student learning to be a counsellor.