Part 1 was about recognising that my "stress" was not just daily stress and resultant of 2012 chaos but my old companion Anxiety has snuck up and was really stuffing me around, messing with my emotions and ability to think rationally and basically derive enjoyment from life.
Part 2 was about writing a Recovery Plan for myself, which turned out to be ironically challenging as I am a mental health worker that works with others on their recovery plans. So I started small and concentrated on breathing ( sounds ridiculously simple but slowing down your breathing really aids in controlling anxious feelings), I started practicing Mindfulness which seems to be the dress of the day in most therapy based treatments - but it is simple and truly very easy to incorporate into your life and yields so much more pleasure from even the most mundane task.
I also had to take stock of what was going on in my life , note the things I could tweak or alter that would allow me to be able to assess the degree in which my anxiety had taken over and where I was simply not taking care of me.
I noted many such things, most of which I was not blind too but certainly when I wrote them out, together it was clear that I could do much, much, much more to improve my situation.
Such as, whilst I wasn't a "wake up and light up smoker", I would self medicate with lighting up so I was lighting up a lot.
My workplace was in a state upheaval - people leaving, people arriving, no real leadership, no real support for workers in roles that require strong leadership and support. I was taking on things outside my role requirements and getting nothing in return. My wonderful colleagues were great, but they too shared the dilemma of a workplace in disarray.
I was also having a wee bit too much wine before bed ,night caps you know - not ironing myself out but hiding from the phone, kids and settling down to watch a funny DVD. This of course would happen after 9.30pm. Not a good time to be chilling out with a glass or two or three - alcohol disturbs sleep. And I was sleeping real BAD.
I hadn't exercised in ages. Not because I didn't want to but because I was way toooo knackered, I craved it but just didn't have the energy to get out of the house. Things felt cluttered around here, routines were showing signs of breaking down and the idea of cooking just made me want to cry.
Well Recovery part 3 is well underway. I butted out cigarettes and used World No Tobacco Day as the perfect marker to give up. I have been cigarette free since.
I also looked hard at my career path, beyond the current conditions that I was faced with - I realised that another factor in feeling disgruntled was that my "five year" plan was ending. I needed to update and consider new options. I knew I didn't want to burn out and face further distress with my own mental health, I loved my job so it was important to end up hating it, so I have moved on. I am about to take a up a small short contract that will provide breathing space but allow me to exercise some "muscles" that need to be used again.
I did visit my GP and pick up a low dose of Valium - I don't use it often, but certainly there are times when it provides relief and allows me to continue on. I am not opposed to medication at all, but rather see it as part of a plan rather than the solution.
I have spent the past two weeks lolling around between jobs, going for walks, making things and have even found myself being able to read a little (anxiety plays havoc in one's ability to focus on a book I find). Looking after my brood, doing pick ups / drop offs and cooking good meals.
A few weeks back I spent 5 days on a detox ( liver cleanse) style diet. Gotta say I felt sooo good. This past week saw me catch a lurgy and you know how to treat that don't you? Yup,a day in bed with marshmallows, red velvet cupcakes and Pride and Prejudice (Matthew MacFaddyn style) on a loop and a loving husband bringing thai food in a 6.30pm....although I am still a little poorly today, I will start a detox. I can't wait! So my recovery is moving forward and I feel significantly improved and hopeful about what lies ahead in the immediate future.
I find it fascinating the fragility of our health, both mental and physical can be turned one way or another by care or neglect of it and sometimes it is beyond our control. Our attention to our health is imperative and powerful, how we care for ourselves- and often the fate of our health it is in our very own hands.