September is a month to remember that kindness is key. We tend to forget those in our lives and realize too late that they were struggling or needed a friend. For those of you who are reading this, struggling or not, this post is to remind those that it's ok to reach out to others. Reach out for a friend to talk to or offer a helping hand. Reach out because more often than not, those that commit suicide could have been helped had someone reached out or if they weren't afraid to reach out to someone.
I don't talk about it much, but I've struggled with depression and anxiety for years, and when I was in school I attempted suicide, and even later into my adult years had attempted it again. Thankfully, I failed, and I had support around me that reminded me that I wasn't meant to leave this world yet. It's hard to stay positive when your own mind is telling you you're better off dead, but those are the times we need to push the hardest and find peace in whatever it is you love. To this day I still struggle, but since finding a career that allows me to focus on myself and my health, it has become a lot easier to fight the voice of negativity and stay positive in my lowest times.
What is it that makes you not want to be here? Something you went through or is it society telling you that you don't belong? Well, I'm here to say that nothing is worth dying for and I promise that no matter what, you can find some happiness. People seem to think that happiness is a gift and those that are happy were blessed with a happy life. I've learned that's not necessarily the case and that most of the happiest people work every day for it. Here's some tips that have helped me work out of the deepest of depression and anxiety.
1. Did you eat today? Have you eaten recently? How can we expect our bodies to handle the emotional ups and downs of life without the nourishment it needs to get through? If you're having trouble eating, start with smoothies or protein shakes. Sometimes it's easier to sip slowly rather than to try eating a meal. Once you've gotten through the easiest parts, as SOON as you feel emotionally ready, try eating little bits until you can work up to a full meal. Anything is better than nothing.
2. Have you gotten outside recently? We weren't meant to be trapped in "boxes" and sealed off in cement structures. We are meant to enjoy the beauty this world has to offer and nature is sometimes the best cure. When you're feeling anxious and closed in, RUN TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD! Don't fear it, it's the best medicine. Go to the nearest park, take a walk on the beach, find a friend and walk your entire neighborhood until you can breathe easy again.
3. Hydrate often. Just like eating, our body needs water even more. You can go a lot longer without food than you can water, and your body can fight off a lot more when you're well hydrated. Don't like drinking water? Try fruit infused water or even simply lemon water. The great thing about lemon water is it helps with digestion and makes plain old water seem a little more enticing. Personally, I hate plain water, I've never been able to drink as much as I should, but adding a little lemon juice or even fruit infused water can help me drink the amount that I should. "The most important effects of fluid deprivation were increased sleepiness and fatigue, lower levels of vigor and alertness, and increased confusion. But as soon as they gave the subjects some water, the deleterious effects on alertness, happiness, and confusion were immediately reversed." Meaning we should take water consumption even more seriously than just for physical importance.
4. Declutter your space, declutter your mind. What do I mean by this? Have you stopped to look around your home or car or places you frequently go to unwind and felt like it causes you more anxiety? The environment in which we live, be it home or otherwise, can have harmful or healing affects depending on how the space is kept. If you haven't been able to work on those spaces because of the anxiety, work on it one small project at a time instead of trying to tackle it all at once. When I was younger, my mother would tell me all the time that Rome wasn't built in a day, and if I tried to "build it" all in one day that I would overwhelm and exhaust myself. When we started projects or cleaning we always started with the most important and worked our way to the least important. So, start with the things you use regularly. This could mean organizing your office or school space, cleaning and decorating your bedroom (this is the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night so I highly recommend making the bedroom a safe and clutter free space), or even preparing the kitchen so that you can easily find your cooking items and also throwing out old food to make room for new. I notice myself becoming overwhelmed when I let these things go for too long and my mom always said it's always easier to do the little tasks along the way rather than let them go until they bury you. Otherwise, don't make a mountain out of a molehill. Instead of leaving the dishes go for days, do them once a day. Don't let your laundry sit until you have 20 loads to do and put away, find a couple days a week to do 1 or 2 loads. It may seem like adding a ton of work to the schedule but truly it will help you feel better in the long run.
5. When was the last time you got out and socialized? And you're not allowed to say "I hate people so I don't want to" because there has to be SOMEONE you like to hangout with. We are social beings and we truly need social interaction to survive and be happy. "Generally, loneliness is a negative condition resulting from a state of aloneness. People who desire more interpersonal relationships than they actually have can develop feelings of loneliness. How much social connectedness a person needs influences how much aloneness they can tolerate. However, it is not the number of social relationships that determines whether people feel lonely. Rather, it is the emotional and cognitive reactions the individual experiences in relation to these connections that plays a role in experiencing loneliness. For example, social interactions where an individual feels the following are associated with loneliness
Lack of social support
Feeling lonely is normal; for some, it can be very frightening and destructive. At minimum, it hurts. Loneliness also can become a pervasive and chronic condition with serious mental and physical conditions that include
Suicidal thoughts and behavior
Impaired immune and cardiovascular functioning"
So, how important do you think being social is now? Although we do need time to ourselves to unwind and find our way, it's still important to find some type of social interaction that will allow for healthy social and emotional development in society. Not to mention, some of the damaging affects of being lonely can drive someone over the edge. Another reason why Suicide Awareness month is so important.
If you've made it this far, I hope that some of what I've written and researched for this blog will at least help one person, if not more. I studied psychology for many years so I truly believe the mental health is just as important as physical. Stay healthy, stay active, stay social and you can stay happy. It's not easy and the road the happiness is long, but it's worth it. Below I've provided the National Suicide Hotline number for anyone who really needs to speak to someone, or don't hesitate to message me on social media or email me. OhHeyMissFaye@gmail.com I'm happy to provide any advice I can or even just listen if you just need to tell someone something that's bothering you. Talking is so therapeutic I wish more people felt comfortable being honest with themselves and with others. Reach out, even if it's hard, and don't be afraid to talk to someone you feel is in need and ask them if they need a friend. Sometimes it can save a life.
Thanks for reading and remember to smile.
xoxo Miss Faye
National Suicide Prevention Hotline