Depression Toolkit

Fall, my favorite season. 🍂🍃

But it also marks the beginning of seasonal depression for some people.

As the days get shorter, and darker, depression can start to invade our minds.

I am not naive to this phenomenon.
I too have suffered from seasonal depression, although not often. My depressive episodes have mostly been triggered by something specific. For example, the loss of someone (whether it be a friend, boyfriend or the death of someone), if my personal identity is challenged, or if someone tries to ‘change’ me , or makes me feel like I am not worthy or enough.

The most important thing for you to do, step one, is to know your triggers.

This way you can prepare yourself and have your ’emergency kit’ ready.

Your emergency kit is encased with things, or ideas that can help you cope through the low times. It can also include a plan.

A kit can include:

▪ Social Support.
(from friends or family or significant other or a support group).
▪ Spa day, or do it yourself (Massage, Facials, manicures).
▪ Art & Crafts (painting, DIY).
▪ Coloring Book
▪ Self-help book or favorite book
▪ Journal (for thoughts and feelings and logging mood)
▪ Support Animal
▪ Sleeping Aid
▪ Psychologist
▪ Psychiatrist
▪ Family doctor
▪ Medication
▪ A plan: for example, “on days where I feel unmotivated, I will still get up, shower, comb my hair, and go to the gym – even if all I can do is 15mins. I plan to eat healthy, nutritious meals – and this may mean only one healthy good meal a day or fruit throughout the day. I will tell my friends and family of my low mood and lean on them for support – I will talk about it…..” etc.

What would you add to your toolkit?

Please a comment.

-Rachel Page

My Story – a little bit Bipolar

MY STORY

Health care professional can suffer from mental illnesses too, and I stand proud to announce that I am one of them.

Don’t ever be afraid to share your story!

Where do I even begin?

In my teens, I was treated as an outcast; I was bullied and made to feel small and unimportant. The kids judged me before they even took the time to get to know me.  They said and did hurtful things that still sting to this day. Shouting crude comments, teasing, taunting, harassing, pointing, whispering, eye-rolling, laughing, criticizing, or they left me in silence with no one to turn to, no one to talk to. I was easily rejected because people didn’t want to associate with me. When I did make friends, they weren’t the type of friends that you wanted. They were the type to subject you to the world of drugs and alcohol.

Life became risky, and I became rebellious. I gave little avail to how I was hindering my life and future.
I didn’t care because for once, I was finally feeling something besides hopelessness, fear, and sadness.

FORTUNETALY, a light bulb went off in my brain towards the ending of high school and I made it a goal to at least obtain my High School Diploma.

It was those younger days, when I felt what actual depression felt like. It was sometimes an internal battle of wanting to stay alive and wanting to end all the suffering.

Once high school was over, I entered into a state of equilibrium and it has only been disrupted if triggered by specific incidents, such as a breakup, death, failed friendship, major life change, etc. This state of equilibrium only lasted for a few years, and then as I entered my young adult life, I suffered from constant low-grade depression, with the occasional relapse into Major Depression.

In nursing school, I suffered from debilitating panic attacks. There was nothing worse than feeling like the world was closing in on you; my hands would begin to tremble; my heart would begin to race. My heart would beat so strongly that I was certain that it was going to explode or just stop from extreme exhaustion. My breathing would quicken and my hands would begin to tingle. I would feel like I was breathing but yet no air was getting into my lungs. the lump in my throat made it difficult to swallow. I was more afraid of having another panic attack then of death itself.

Once nursing school finished, so did the panic attacks…. Go figure! Actually, I think they ended up transitioning into generalized anxiety and eventually I was diagnosed with this disorder. At the height of my anxiety driven moments, I remember feeling constantly on-edge, irritable, and constantly worrying about every thought that came into my head. I would make big deals out of minuet things, things the average person would shrug their shoulders too and forget about in the next second.  Everything seemed like a BIG DEAL. And god forbid something ever had to change in my daily routine. It felt like it was the end of the world in most cases. I was fixated on an unfixable schedule. My anxiety ended up getting so bad that it prevented me from attending social gatherings, or even hanging out with friends for that matter. The very thought of having to go to a social event made me want to vomit.

My moods kept cycling between anxiety and depression, but eventually I had enough and decided to reach out for help. I had hit my absolute lowest point in depression and knew I needed help. Lying on the couch, not eating or showering for weeks was a sure sign I was giving up. I needed help!

I pulled myself into my doctor’s office, she knew right away what the problem was when I opened my mouth to speak and all that would come out was a flood of tears.

I was immediately started on an antidepressant, referred to psychiatry, and put on a medical leave of absence for work (which lasted a month and a half).

Something very interesting happened when I was put on the antidepressant, I became activated.

My mood drastically improved. I had an abundance of energy, but my anxiety had returned with vengeance. This was the start of my journey with Bipolar Type 2.

It all started to finally make sense.

My overdriven capacity for change, flood of ideas and tasks, over indulged and hyper focus on new projects, irritability, impulsivity, and the late nights and early mornings. I would get lost in my own thinking. When I had an idea, it had to be done NOW. The lack of impulse control led to purchasing cosmetic procedures and spa treatments, a whole whack of pink stuff, my dog, my vehicle, way too many dresses and books, and a bedroom makeover. I am sure there are more examples, but I think you get the point.

I was started on anti-psychotics, which only made me feel like a zombie.

I do admit, the medications did help to stabilize my mood. I stayed in a neutral state, but I was determined to do it on my own, without chemical medications.

Now please note, I am not discouraging medications by any means. There are many people that require to be on medication for a lifetime and that is perfectly okay. You have to do what is right for YOUR BODY and BRAIN. Before deciding to go off your medication, please consult your doctor first. And NEVER go off of them without tapering the dosage down. Stopping psych-medications abruptly can (and almost always does) result in NASTY side effect, commonly known as withdrawal effects. [Trust me, I learnt the hard way, don’t make the same mistake I did]

My decision to stop taking chemical medication led me to embark on a holistic journey to overcome my own mental health challenges a natural way.

I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME TIPS I HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY THAT I HAVE USED TO MANAGE MY ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

  • Educate yourself (about your disorder)
  • Eat a healthy, Well Balanced Diet
  • Get active, get fit
  • Get enough sleep
  • Natural Remedies
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Pick up a hobby
  • Lean on your Support Network
  • Establish a Daily routine
  • Indulge in Self-Help Books
  • Clear your mind with Journaling
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy, self-guided
  • Consider a Coach or Counselor
  • When in a crisis, seek professional help (ie. doctor or psychiatrist).
  • And so much more.

Having gone through what I went through with my mental health and having to navigate the health care system by myself, was exhausting, if not frustrating, to say the least. It was a lot of trial and error to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I am not going to say it will be easy for you either, but with the help of a coach (like myself), they can direct you and go through the process with you.

You are not alone.

I can now say, without a doubt, that I am feeling my absolute best. I feel healthy, both mind and body. I feel mentally strong, and empowered by my own self-determination.  I feel calm, content, and happy. I feel like I can accomplish any obstacle that comes my way. I have learned to become more aware of myself so I can recognize when “warning” signs or triggers are present. I am able to prevent a relapse from taking hold. I have discovered more about myself and what my body and mind need to stay in a state of equilibrium. I have learned to love myself whole heartedly.

And I learned all this through self-discovery.

I smile again.

And so can you!

~ Rachel Page

My Mental Wellness 101

Exercise for mental wellness and stability is a no brainer. Exercise makes you feel great, body and mind. Your brain releases the chemicals known as endorphins and serotonin when you exercise, the ‘feel good’ chemicals.

In today’s society, people eat ‘garbage’. Unhealthy fats, sugar, and processed foods is what is contributing to a lot of the diseases you see these days.

A well balanced nutritional diet helps to ensure that your body and brain get the essential nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. Majority, if not all, of your meals should be prepared using whole foods. Focus on the outside of the super market, the fresh fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index. Stay away from processed frozen foods or buy organic. NO white starch, or simple sugars. Think whole wheat or grain.

Still, despite are attempts to maintain a balanced diet, it is sometimes difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need. This is why I take a multivitamin. I also recently integrated a vitamin B complex, fish oil, GABA and L-theanine into my daily regimen to help enhance my mood, focus and promote calmness. These natural drugs have so many additional benefits, but I dont have enough room to mention them all here.

Meditation and mindfulness…. it really is an art. Two techniques I am still learning, but have already proved to create mental calmness and focus in my life.
Cuddles with my furbabies are always a daily ritual for me. Their affection is an instant pick-me-up…
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Follow my Social Media sites for more material related to mental health:

Blog: divineminds.ca
FB Page: /divineminds1
IG: mind_over_mood
Pinterest: /divineminds1

Ways to Get Through Failure

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been defeated. It just means that particle course of action wasn’t meant to happen for you. When something doesn’t go the way that you want, learn from it. Reflect. Reflecting on it allows you to grow in strength. It simply gives you the means to either try again, taking a different approach, or it shows you what you don’t, in fact, want. It means that there is another, and a better, opportunity out there waiting to be discovered by you. .
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Follow my Social Media sites for more material related to mental health:

Blog: divineminds.ca

FB Page: /divineminds1
IG: mind_over_mood

Pinterest: /divineminds1

Simplify Your Life

Your life will be less stressful if you live a simple life. Living simple means creating a life that is organized and follows a routine. You creates your own values and beliefs or adopt them from past generations. It empathizes continuity, but remains flexible in times of change. Life is forever change, it is when you don’t allow change to evolve naturally, you feel the constraints and pressures of life. Roll with it, embrace it. A simple life is a happy life.

When thoughts turn into actions

Dreams turn into reality…

My thoughts have turned into actions. I’ve taken the next step into my career journey and enrolled in becoming a Certified Wellness Coach.

The Plan: is to integrate my nursing with coaching, and start up my own business to offer services for mental wellness (with a focus on depression and anxiety). I will work with my clients to empower them to discover ways to effectively cope using positive (and proper) adaptive techniques.

I will continue to act as an advocate and help facilitate the allocation of supportive resources, making access to support easier and readily available to everyone. One of my goals is to create an App that allows peer to peer support in the form of one on one or group support.

I will also provide services on preventative health (focusing on living a healthier lifestyle to prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, or diabetes) which will take a holistic approach and look at multiple areas of a person’s life.

If you don’t know already, I am very passionate about mental health. After suffering a relapse with Major Depression that required me to take a month and a half off of work, I found out first hand just our shitty access to support services are. It was so frustrating to know that I needed help but that help either came at a ridiculous cost or I had to wait months to be seen by what seemed like the only psychiatrist in all of Ontario, or group supports that I’ve been waiting on now for 6 months… although, I do not require the group support anymore. (I am very grateful of my family doctor throughout this entire process as she was always there when I needed her, even with minimal notice).

I ended up starting my own blog and website to share my story, and provide education and tips about depression and anxiety. I wanted people to know that they are not alone. But more importantly, I wanted to locate resources for people, so I went on a scavenger hunt to find resources that were available to people all over the world. My list continues to grow.

I have just over 1k of followers on my blog, 7.5k follows on instagram(which grows about 100 new followers a day now), 10k on Facebook, and 50k views per month on Pinterest.

It is increbible to know how many people I have been able to reach and potentially help in short period of time (only about 5 months).

I can’t thank each and everyone of you for making this possible. Together we are helping each other.

It has been such an incredible journey so far. ♡