Blue Monday. The most miserable day of the year, so the media and that will tell you any way. All started as a marketing ploy to separate people from their hard earned cash in a month where retail could potentially suffer losses due to the fact that, well, every one is skint after Christmas!
Thing is, these media ploys do have a habit of taking a hold and sucking you in and then you start to really believe in all the hype. Yes, stats show there is an element of truth to it; its been 3 weeks since Christmas (if Christmas is a happy, jolly time for you that is. I’ll say no more, apart from bah humbug!) it is another 2 weeks until pay day, the weather is cold and grey and it’s just basically a bit of a dud month, let’s be honest.
Maybe you are feeling blue, maybe for you it is just an utterly miserable day. For a start, it’s Monday! Maybe you can see a lot of sense in what the media and other people tell you. But I am going to say things from my point of view, from my situation. If you suffer from ill mental health any day of the year could be blue! There are 364 other days around this one, any of those could be a struggle. Not because some one has told you that it will be or that there are perfectly acceptable reasons for it, but because you simply have no control over it.
Everyone suffers in a different way regardless of what title their illness comes with. For me, as familiar readers to this blog will know, I suffer from Depression. It can be quite bad at times, but thankfully even my bad days are not as low as they were this time last year. I no longer have such intense dark thoughts about not wanting to be here any more, of thinking the world would be a much better place without me. However these thoughts can still flutter through my brain at times, more of a nuisance, like midgies in the summer. It is not me thinking of it though, like I say, I’m no longer in that place. I think it is more just my brain trying to play tricks on me and see how far it can push me. Maybe it is still my subconscious trying to process what happened and how I felt back then, as to be honest, I hit the ground running and have made sure I have been so busy that at times I have no idea how I feel or what I think. Comfortable, productive numbness I like to think of it as.
For me, over the last 4 weeks, about 80% of my days have been “blue”. I cant decide 100% if it is all my Depression but from the way I have been feeling I believe it is the main culprit. Apart from the odd good day, I have basically felt crap. I have so many exciting things going on in my life yet I have felt no excitement. For the most part I have felt sad. On some days I have felt so low I contemplated just sacking everything in and going back to that shell like form of myself. I knew how to protect myself in that form. I knew how to shut the voices out. But that is not me! You may see me struggle. I am a lot more open about it nowadays as I truly believe it is NOTHING to be ashamed of. I cant help who I am, how my mind works. I am chaos personified! However you will NEVER see me quit. That is not me. I have given myself a good talking to. I know I can’t just “get better”. How mint it would be if I could!! But I do know how I can cope better, how to manage my symptoms. I do know that I hate pity and the worst pity is self pity. Being in the dark place is what brought me to all the amazing things I have in my life at the moment, what has given me all the fabulous people and support I have.
So today, I am giving a massive middle finger to Depression, to Blue Monday, to self pity! I am going back to basics. I knocked out a 5km run this morning. I am not a failure. I am not letting any one down. I am not letting myself down. Those thoughts were Depression being an idiot! Trying to trick me. Quite clever is old Depression. I think he thought he had won. In fact I was starting to believe he had. I am coming back fighting though. I don’t lose! OK, 2018 has not started how I envisioned, how I hoped but that does not mean that my return won’t be EPIC! Just watch me!
Back to basics for me is a selection of different things. You will find that your points or list will be different, it is all about what works for you. Mine are as follows:
- Routine and organisation. When things are messy or up in the air my head becomes messy. So that means, diary management, visual plans like Mind Maps, plans and schedules, filling in my variety of journals – Happy, Happiness Planner, Runner’s Planner etc.
- Blog. I love to blog. It gets all the crap out my head onto the screen and everything seems a bit easier to manage. The sound of the keys typing is so therapeutic, even if what I end up writing makes no sense to anyone but me.
- EXERCISE – whatever exercise that might be. Now my Achilles seems to be better, I can make sure my January targets get hit, no matter what. I only set realistic targets, I don’t set myself up to fail, ever. I may have to push a bit harder, but hard work never killed anyone. I know the sense of satisfaction will be amazing!
- Finally, the one thing I struggle with. Honesty. I need to stop burying my head in the sand if I feel bad and just say. A bad day wont define me, nor will a bad week or a bad month.
For the rest of this month I am going to find daily positives. My silver linings that I pride myself on finding were starting to get lost in the fog. I have found my glasses again though, so things are literally clearer and I can start looking again. Blue Monday is just another Monday for me. In fact it’s going to be a good day. I can feel it. I am wearing bright yellow to bring some sunny vibes into the day, my nails are RED in homage to RED January, which I got a lovely message to say that so far we have raised over £322,000 collectively for Mind. WOW! My smile might not fully be reaching my eyes yet, but it is a lot closer than it was yesterday.
If you are blue today, I am sending positive vibes and virtual hugs. Life is stressy, stuff can get in the way, circumstances can push you to your absolute limit! One thing I do know is, you are fabulous. Your health does not define you, it is part of your journey. If you are feeling bad, I challenge you, write just 3 things that are positive in your life today. Tomorrow is a new day, a blank canvas.
Until next time.