I just started my blog recently and I have not been writing or blogging for awhile now. I made a whole commitment to blogging and writing. So of course to me I felt like I was already failing. I did not feel too good about not writing. However, for my own sake, I also had to. This entire year, I have been doing a lot of “me” work. The whole month of November, though, was a month digging deeper into self-discovery and a journey of self-care.
For quite some time now, probably years, I have felt overwhelmingly… emotional. I have beaten myself up for being way too emotional about certain things. And because I couldn’t control my emotions, I was weak or being unreasonable. I didn’t feel good about the things I felt. And that began to affect how I saw myself. I didn’t realize how much negative self-talk was going on in my head until I started to step back and out of my own box and really think about it.
"I didn’t realize how much negative self-talk was going on in my head until I started to step back and out of my own box and really think about it."
There were times when I thought I was going through depression. I argued with myself that I was overthinking it and probably exaggerating my feelings. I was hard on myself, telling myself that I just wanted something to blame for how I was feeling and what I was really doing was making excuses instead of owning up to my feelings and thoughts.
Shame on me.
My feelings overtook all of me, mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Some days it took all of my strength to get out of bed and shower. To tackle those emotions seemed almost impossible and to logically process them was out the window. I started to question myself and my emotions. Was what I was feeling valid or legitimate? Was I just overreacting? If I was just overreacting, why can’t I just shake this off and stop crying?
I did what I could or thought I could. I tried to analyze my feelings to distract myself from feeling and try being logical. It was also a way to check myself. It would help sometimes but not enough. Then, I figured I could start making some changes in my lifestyle to help. Getting out of bed was already a large feat as it was, so I knew it couldn’t be something physically active like exercise which I knew would be very beneficial to my mental health. That was not realistic for me though. So, I started with food. I drank more water. I cut out excessive or added sugars. I drank more tea and less coffee. I researched what foods helped boost moods and took my vitamins more regularly. I made changes that I could incorporate fairly easily to my daily routine.
That helped with my stress and anxiety a lot but the overwhelm of emotions were still there. In fact, I could feel how irritable and impatient I was getting. Anger came easily and so did waves of sadness. It was so frustrating because all I wanted was to get better. I didn’t want to feel like this anymore.
I needed to do more. I needed to do something else or do something different. That’s when I considered self-care and different ways other women took care of themselves. There’s always something to learn from everyone so I signed up for The Huddle. It was a month-long challenge group with other female business entrepreneurs focused on self-care and connecting with our hearts. From the group, I learned different ways I could connect deeply with myself and get real with myself openly. I think this is where I started to learn to be gentler and kinder to myself.
"I think this is where I started to learn to be gentler and kinder to myself."
You are your biggest critic, right?
I started paying attention to what made me feel good. And I’m talking about even the little things like how drinking tea every time I was stressed was comforting or how going to a coffee shop first thing in the morning really helps me get out of bed. Things like that. I started journaling and writing things down. And although all these things were helping here and there, my emotional turmoil seemed to persist.
I thought I was going crazy. Seriously.
Perhaps the one thing I did that has made the biggest difference was to finally muster up the courage to seek professional help. I booked an appointment explaining what was going on with my Primary Care Provider. After my appointment, I was referred to see a therapist and I was diagnosed with PMDD. Just having an explanation for what I have been going through made me feel like I was not crazy and I was not alone. The bouts of depression that I thought I was going through were real and they happened. It wasn’t just something I conjured up.
After about a week or two of treatment, I described to my therapist how it felt like a weight just instantly lifted off me. It was the best I have felt in such a long time. I remember going into work having such a good day and doing such good, productive and meaningful work.
It has only been a little over a month since seeking treatment. I am still careful of what I am eating and drinking. I still try to make time to check-in with myself and is continuing to explore what self-care is to me. I still have my ups and downs but they no longer feel like they can overtake my entire world. It’s a work in progress for sure. The more I can take care of myself, the more I can be fully present for others.
"The more I can take care of myself, the more I can be fully present for others."
It's important that I am able to do so especially when I am so grateful for everyone who has been supportive of my journey this year. 2017 has been full of major changes and personal growth. Because I am growing, my mental health took center stage this year. It was my biggest hurdle, something I needed to work through and focus on.
I feel so lucky to be surrounded by individuals who have been so patient, understanding and loving through the entire process. No words can describe how much appreciation I feel. To those who struggle with PMDD, stress & anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, I have developed such a deeper sense of respect for you and the amount of strength you possess.