The Black Dog is Yapping at My Heels

The Black Dog is Yapping at My Heels

Anyone who has had Depression knows what the Black Dog is. Another bout of Depression has snuck up on me. At this point I am not suicidal but I struggle to find any good in my day. I feel teary on some days out of the blue, getting out of bed is a struggle.

When I realised what was happening I decided in that moment to do something about it. I had an online assessment done and have signed up for a Wellbeing course run by professionals. I know of online counselling available so if I feel the need to talk to someone I know where to go.

My husband’s reaction wasn’t as supportive as I had hoped, He seemed to make it all about him when we had the conversation about how I have been feeling lately. I understand and appreciate he is right in this situation with me and I know it has taken its toll on him. But when your partner comes to you and tells you they are struggling with depression again, you don’t get angry.

We are at present in a very precarious financial position with regards to his business. Every day is about wondering if we are going to meet our bills and pay the huge debt, amassed as a result of his business, not to mention the other 8 debts we currently are trying to pay off, not to mention our day-to-day living expenses.

We are not in a position to consolidate our debts and reduce the repayments, because of his self-employed status. And moving to a smaller and cheaper rental is not possible as we have no savings with which to move. Stuck between a rock and a hard place comes to mind right now.

I accept my part in our circumstances, I know what I could have done differently but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Bankruptcy is the next step if we can’t get out of this funk.

Having taken over the reins of our personal bills and rent I am hoping we will improve our situation. It will take one step at a time.

As is the case with Depression.

If you are new to mental health issues, it is difficult to recognise the signs but once you have been there, you know when you are not right.

If you have a lot of days where you feel down and sad, where you struggle to even get out of bed, you find no joy in anything in life, you go about life like you are in a fog. You need to reach out. Talk to a friend or family. Seek out your Doctor, they can refer you on for counselling. There are so many Helplines that specialise in counselling people with mental health issues. With the internet we have access to so many websites that can offer help.

We are all worthwhile, we all deserve to live. Sometimes even the strongest of us can’t cope with life and all its ups and downs. It is okay to admit when you need help. Just reach out.

If you are being bullied at school or work, talk to your parents and teachers, bosses and co workers. You are not alone. Having been a part of a number of support groups I know for a fact we are not alone. So many suffer in silence and it shouldn’t be this way. Don’t feel shame or guilt. It is perfectly natural to have moments where you find you can’t cope. We all have them.

Mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of, just because society at large still believes in the stereotypical images of a mentally ill person. We are not all straight jacket material and we don’t all go round screaming and dribbling, babbling incoherently. So many of us are high functioning. We go to work, raise families, attend school, serve you at the store, walk by you in the street, sit next to you on the train or bus.

The media and movie industries have created an image of a person with mental health issues as someone who is dangerous to the community and that is certainly not the case in about 99% of cases.

Hold your head high and tell someone what you are feeling. Ask for help, but most of all be willing to accept that help. You will be so grateful you did.

 

 

 

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Taking Life by the Horns Part 4

In summary, we need to listen to what we think about ourselves and what we believe about ourselves. Question whether this is valid or true and replace the negative thoughts and beliefs with more positive ones. Give yourself a break if you make a mistake, and realise it is human to make mistakes, that is how we are supposed to learn about life and how not to make the same mistake again.

If we put the blame on others, etc we will never accept responsibility for how we create the course of our lives. It’s not about blame it is about being aware of how we are perceived by others and the impressions we give off and contribute to the course our life takes.

Think about things a little more. If you are someone for whom things tend to go wrong no matter what you do, think about what you are about to do or commit yourself to. Taking out some form of credit, for instance, do you need that full amount that you are being offered or can you do with a smaller amount, it makes a big difference in the repayments and interest you pay.

If you tend to end up in abusive relationships or your relationships all seem to be the same. Then think about why this happens, question whether you have an unconscious belief that this is what you feel you deserve. How someone treats you is solely up to them, and often how they are with you can be a reflection of what they think and believe about themselves. Others will do what they do, you have to decide whether they are treating you with respect or not and then whether you want to be treated that way or not.

Parents make mistakes, as do teachers and other significant people who cross your path, accept this about them and realise you deserve better. It really is all about what we are willing to let into our lives and put up with.

Realising your part in everything that happens to you is half way to getting a better life. You can only change you and how you think, what you believe and how others treat you.

It is up to you not to put yourself in a position where everything falls apart. If you are going to take on a loan or mortgage, really think about the possible outcomes and consequences of what you are doing. The same works for relationships and life in general.

And if you want to be happy, then be happy, that is a conscious choice. Happiness can’t be found in things or jobs or relationships or the perfect house. It is found within you.

Make a decision to look for the positive and good in everything. Because there is always something good in everything. Mistakes are made and difficulties come about, to teach us something, or to make way for something so much better. Life is full of ups and downs, how you react and what you do is what matters most. Have an escape plan or a contingency plan for every situation you find yourself in. Play the What If game. Answer that question. What if I lose my job, what will I do? Answer those questions and then if something happens or goes wrong, you will know what to do.

Think smarter, take time when making decisions and realise what you have got going for you and what is great about your life. And be kind and gentle to yourself.

Taking Life by the Horns Part 2

Taking Life by the Horns Part 2

When I first started my blog post yesterday I didn’t realise it would become a series. So I apologise for the length. Maybe because this particular subject involves change over time and examining our thinking, beliefs and decision-making processes, that’s why this subject has taken on a life of its own.

In order to change our lives for the better, we really need to take a good, long, hard look at ourselves and work out how and in what ways, we contribute to how our lives evolve. I am not saying we are to blame for everything that has gone wrong with our lives, or the way we were treated as children or as adults. When someone treats you badly and they have no reason to, then the blame is squarely on the other person’s shoulders. It is how we react and if we continue to allow people to treat us that way, as well as letting it affect us over a long period.

How we are raised as children and how our parents, siblings and extended family acted around us, teaches us about the world. If our parents had only our best interests at heart and taught us the life lessons we needed to learn in a safe and loving environment, we tend to grow up as healthy adults and tend not to make bad decisions or take things too personally when things go wrong or people are unkind to us.

Every time someone treated you badly or called you names, put you down, criticized you, bullied you, disrespected you, it wrote on the slate of who you are (to quote my favourite Psychologist Dr Phil), and the younger you are the more damage it can do.

If we were raised to believe we were worthless, and were made to feel worthless often enough we began to believe it, to the point it became so ingrained in our psyche that we would automatically think it not realising we had actually had that thought.

I believe the first part of changing your life for the better is to change your thinking, and in order to do that, we have to catch ourselves out when we have these demeaning thoughts and question why we automatically think that way. What caused us to believe this about ourselves. Where did it come from. Was it your parent who told you, you were annoying or stupid or useless, every time you did something wrong in their eyes? Was it a school teacher or a sibling, that made you feel so stupid? Or were you bullied in school or even in a job by a co-worker or boss? It could be any number of situations that contributed to our beliefs about ourselves.

I found writing the thought on a piece  of paper and question whether that thought was valid, in my case, feelings of worthlessness, helped.  Think about moments when I felt this way, what event triggered this thought. I would question the thought’s validity. Is this true?  I would write down all the things about me that proved I wasn’t worthless, all the things I was good at, all my achievements. Think of instances when I was made to feel worthless and who was involved. Whatever came to mind I would write it down, no matter how strange or trivial it might seem at the time. And then once I understood why I had that thought in the first place and what the triggers were that caused this thought I would work out something that I could replace that thought with. Affirmations are a great way of changing your thought processes, Louise Hay is a great person to start with. She has a book that is all about this very subject. You Can Heal Your Life. And she also provides a lot of affirmations to help you change your thinking.  Dr Wayne W Dyer, is another person who used affirmations.

Changing how we think is a process, it can’t be changed overnight. But you have to want to change in the first place. You have to do the work, You have to catch yourself thinking these thoughts. And you need to question them.

It is the same with beliefs. Write down a list of beliefs you may have about yourself and others and life in general and question whether each belief is valid, or if it works for you. And if it doesn’t then brain storm about what you think would suit you better or is more positive.

One thing I want everyone to remember. Don’t apply absolutes to what you think and feel and believe. Don’t say to yourself, “That was a bad thought and I shouldn’t be thinking that way.” Because this is where we all go wrong. We tend to believe those thoughts that allow us to believe we are not a good person, or decisions that end up going pear-shaped are more a case of things not working for us and we all should consider something different. And come up with suitable replacements.

All too often, and we are all guilty of this at one time or another, think of people as being negative, or bad or toxic. And the same with thoughts and beliefs, and decisions. The spiritual/new age community can be terrible for it. As children maybe our parents scolded us for being angry or sad, and dismissed the feelings we were having, making us believe these emotions were not acceptable.

Our emotions are normal and a natural part of being human, we wouldn’t have them if we weren’t meant to. It is how we deal with them and process them and then let them go that is the important part. Don’t feel bad because you are angry about something, there is a reason why you feel that way. Acknowledge your anger and the reason behind it. And then let it go. Often we have emotions associated with certain thoughts and beliefs and they came feelings of guilty, anxiety etc. Take note of these emotions and consider why you feel this way.

It’s all about paying attention to this wonderful mind of ours.

Looks like there will be more parts to this Blog. Stay tuned for Part 3.

 

 

 

 

Taking Life by the Horns Part 1

Taking Life by the Horns Part 1

We so often wish we had better lives, that things would work out better for us. Why do we have so many things going wrong in our lives and it never seems to change. We work hard and diligently but it’s always the same day in, day out.

Part of making a change in our lives is to realise our part in how it turns out. We can blame a myriad of things. My parents are to blame for how I turned out, I was abused, I am justified in my actions because everyone else does the same, or no one cares. Too much competition. People taking advantage of my kindness and need to help others. You name it. We come up with so many excuses for what is wrong with our lives.

But has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe, we brought this all on ourselves. And I can hear you all objecting as I type, hey, I was one of those who said I didn’t ask for this, it’s not my fault. And it isn’t all our fault. Circumstances lead to a particular outcome and outside influences do affect what happens. But we make choices and decisions every day that affect what happens in our lives. And our thoughts and self beliefs have a profound affect on what we choose or decide to do.

I will try to put a different perspective on this, in the hope I can get my point across.

How many times have you hear this saying? What you put out to the universe comes back to you” Or variants of this same sentiment.

It’s true.

If you believe you are going to fail, you will and all your actions and decisions will gear you towards that outcome. And often we don’t even realise we have these beliefs about ourselves.

For years I believed I was worthless and had the thought that as long as I was useful and worked hard, and kept my head down and not made trouble I had value. But once my health and age slowed me down and I wasn’t able to do what I used to, I thought it was my time to die  because I had outlived my usefulness. What I didn’t realise was our usefulness, for want of a better word, changes throughout life. And life has a funny way of showing you how wrong you can be and letting you know when something isn’t working for you.

How many of you have debt and not matter what you seem to do, it just never seems to get sorted or paid off? Have you been known to take out more debt to pay for car repairs, or to make payments on the debts you already have? Do you just make the minimum payments and do you have redraw facilities on loans and mortgages? And how many of you use this redraw facility when things go pear-shaped and you can’t pay your rent or bills. Please understand that taking out more debt to pay for life’s expenses and to cover other debts is senseless, you just dig yourself in deeper, and this adds more stress to your already stressful financial situation.

How many of you have said, “I’ll just earn more money or take a second job”. But you soon find you are no better off than you were before.

Have any of you thought about looking at why you got into debt in the first place?

Why did you need to have that $20,000 car when you could have easily done just as well with a $10,000 car? Did you really need to go on that overseas holiday you needed to borrow $5,000 for? Or did you really need to buy that new dress for that party or did you already have some really great dresses sitting in your wardrobe that would have done just fine. And it’s not just the women. Did you really need to get that top of range Drill when you only ever go into your man shed once in a while and that new drill is just sitting in it’s box collecting dust because you only manage to use it a couple of times a year.

Do you see where I am going here?

I remember years ago I had to have this $150 pair of Italian handmade leather shoes. Spent weeks paying them off via a layaway plan. I could have paid two weeks rent with that money. And you know what, I never wore them, because as I realised they weren’t that comfortable, so they sat in my closet for about 10 years until I gave them away to charity.

We make a choice to spend money we don’t have in order to feel like we are part of something. We get ourselves into situations that we really don’t consider fully before we make a decision. And that is why we find ourselves in situations like being in so much debt we don’t know how to get out.

It is the same with life’s little ups and downs.

We need to begin to look at how we think and what we believe about ourselves and consider the consequences more fully before we makes choices.

In my next blog I will look more closely at why we think as we do and make the choices and decisions we do. Why we make mistakes and can’t seem to understand why things happen as they do. So till next time.