After a bruising few months and some major life upheavals, I had sunk pretty low. My self-confidence was shot to ribbons, and getting out was becoming difficult – almost impossible if I was going into situations where I didn’t know who was going to be there or where I felt I had to be my best. I even suffered a couple of anxiety attacks. Life was becoming quite tough, and my sparkle had been hidden by a black fog. I was constantly tired, easily fatigued by crowds or busy, noisy places and felt disconnected from life.
I’ve been here before. I’ve suffered with depression a couple of times in my life – after the birth of my younger daughter, and then in the year or so after my Dad’s death. Both times I sought medical help, and ended up on SSRI anti depressants. I don’t want to get into a debate here about drug therapy for depression – but all I know is that whilst no doubt at these times I needed the chemical support, drug treatment has some side effects which I find very difficult to live with and was keen to avoid on this occasion. I’ve also had a battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the last 8 or so years, and I could recognise these symptoms returning, which scared me… not helping my anxiety levels!
There is no doubt that this was a reactive episode – a reaction I could directly attribute to some major life events in both my personal and professional life – and I am in NO WAY suggesting that everyone suffering from true clinical depression can change their way of thinking to get better. I’ve been in that horrible place and no amount of changing my mindset or positive thinking would have helped – believe me, I tried.
But this time I knew the way I was feeling was a reaction to everything that had happened to me over the past few months. I also know that when the fatigue symptoms start to hit, I get anxious, which doesn’t help my mental state. I took a long, hard, cold look at what was going on in my life. I reflected on what had happened to bring me to this point, and how I felt about this, worked through accepting and forgiving; and then I looked at the quote that opens this blog post. I had three choices.
I will win. I don’t do losing.
It’s tough – I won’t deny it. My energy levels aren’t where they should be and fatigue is my constant companion. Every now and then my self confidence takes a nose dive and panic rears it’s ugly head – but I’m getting better at recognising what’s happening, breathing through it and taking some time out to be thankful for the many wonderful things in my life. To remind myself that so many of my fears are only stories I’m telling myself – they aren’t fact. To spin other stories around the facts, to remind myself that my anxieties are being created by my thoughts about one way the situation may play out – that there are many other possible outcomes. I’m focussing on doing everything I can to minimise the fatigue symptoms, and in helping myself to minimise the negative thoughts by positive affirmations.
I will win. I don’t do losing.