Today is World Mental Health Day, and to mark that, I’m giving over the floor to Hayley from The Mindful Mummy Mission Blog to talk about her experience of depression, and how she found that mindfulness helps with depression xoxo
In 2009 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was a relief. I could finally get some help. At the time the Psychiatrist said, that like many people he’d seen, I’d probably experienced multiple depressive episodes since my teenage years but had not sought support until things had gotten really bad. So then, just into my 30s, I finally found ways of dealing with my persistent low mood when it hit.
And so I started my road to recovery – a mixture of medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and also a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy course.
At the moment I am medication free. Anti-depressants are a lifeline when someone is at their lowest ebb but the side-effects can be debilitating. Instead it is the Mindfulness and CBT which I draw on day-to-day to help my mental wellbeing.
Here’s how mindfulness has helped me:
Mindfulness helps me ruminate less
I am more aware of what is ticking over in my mind and can make wise choices when I realise that I am over-thinking something.
Mindfulness lessens the power catastrophic thoughts have over me
It is much easier to notice when my ‘story-telling’ mind is taking over. Often, just by acknowledging the tricks the mind is playing, the hold these type of thoughts have can be weakened. I can remind myself that thoughts are just that, thoughts. They are not facts.
Mindfulness helps me to find joy in the everyday
It is easier to feel more content when appreciating the little things in life and not striving for better all the time. I notice the small victories day-to-day much more. The simple pleasures too. Developing moment-to-moment awareness by practising mindful meditation has had a major impact on my mood.
Mindfulness helps me to be more aware of my mood
This means I am generally able to take the relevant self-care steps needed to halt the deterioration into a depressive episode.
Mindfulness helps me to embrace the full range of emotions we all feel
I am no longer constantly checking if what I am feeling is depression or not. Instead I see things as less clear cut and simply label the emotion that is consuming me at that moment, knowing that it may well pass as quickly as it came. I am more aware of the complexity of the human make –up and know that just because I am feeling sad, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I am heading in a downward spiral. This is very reassuring to me.
It seems that my experience with mindfulness isn’t out of the ordinary. Ruby Wax speaks humorously and frankly about similar experiences. Tracey Crouch, Junior government minister says similar. Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute of Cliical Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had 3 or more bouts of depression in the past. The NHS website reports, though tentatively, that ‘mindfulness is as good as drugs for preventing a depression relapse.’
As I say to people when I’m delivering my courses mindfulness is NOT like waving a magic wand. It takes practice, commitment and perseverance and even then it may not always have the desired effect. However, for me, and for many other people like me, mindfulness HAS had a marked positive impact on our lives.
If you would like to know more than please:
follow my blog: www.missionmindfulnessblog.com
visit my website: www.missionmindfulness.co.uk
follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/mummy_mindful
follow me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/mission_mindfulness_blog
find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/missionmindfulnessblog
Interested to find out more about how mindfulness can help you? Read this beginner’s guide to mindfulness for mums.
Author bio: Hayley is a mum, wife, teacher, HuffPost blogger, mindfulness trainer and lover of all things mindfulness related. She blogs and runs courses on how mindfulness can help people enjoy 21st century life as well as teaching in a secondary school on the outskirts of London.