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I Sprained My Mental Health! How Do I Get It Back?

Working in work, health and safety has allowed me to develop a wide range of knowledge and experience around wellbeing and health topics


“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Depression is described as:

A mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

That was exactly me when I was lost amid my descent into depression, life and living and feeling connected was but a faraway light out of my reach. I wouldn't say that I had completely and utterly broken my mental health, but I had totally put it through enough to give it a pretty solid ding in the fender.

I have been working since then on being more mindful and present in the tasks that I undertake in my daily life since I first felt that dark cloud over my head. This article is me thinking that maybe some people would benefit from me taking the time to document what has helped me to be more centred and reconnect with my life after going through a prolonged and deeply affecting emotional trauma.

In 2018, my life changed. A change that was not for the better.

I had just returned from an amazing holiday from the South Pacific and was settling back into the cool breeze in Tasmania when I got a virus that knocked me off my feet. It was a terrible virus, one of those bugs that takes everything you have.

I got back on my feet so to speak and started my return to work, only to find that I had absolutely no strength or stamina left. I wasn't even able to walk from the nearest bus mall to the office without stopping twice on a particular day.

It turned out that on that day I was having what amounted to a heart attack. The virus that had taken me for everything I was worth and now had just a bit more it wanted to take from me. The virus had inflamed my heart and the surrounding tissues and highlighted an underlying fault I didn't know existed and that would have eventually ended my life in one widow-making heart attack. .

Long story short, trying to recover from the damage done to my heart attack has been a long and arduous journey, but every day I get a little bit better and so can everyone else with help from a medical practitioner.

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One of the most frustrating outcomes has been the side effects of the medication that I now take to allow my heart to heal from the trauma. The side effects have varied from muscle cramps, nose bleeds and lack of energy, to mind-crushing depression and anxiety.

I have found the depression to be the hardest foe to slay, more so than the physical limitations.


An exercise in removing stress from your mind

You first need to bring yourself into this moment and be present in it. It can be hard as you will find that your brain is wired to start trying to see multiple steps ahead and steer your thoughts in a different direction, it can help to make sure that you are sitting (or standing if you're on the go) and maintaining proper posture. This helps to open your body (so you're not hunched over) and should ease pressure points so that you're not distracted by the ouchies.

  • Now just breathe and take some time to ask yourself what is going on in my life at the moment, not your entire life, just this moment in time.
  • Be mindful in this moment of whatever happens in your mind, take note, and identify any thoughts that pop into your head and then leave them behind, now just imagine that you're moving away from them. Some people find visualising them being closed behind doors, as they are just distractions or even picturing themselves filing them away in draws. I like to think of them as things written in sand and have a wave come up onto the shore and wash it away.
  • Now just remember to keep your breathing steady whilst you are visualising this process.
  • You'll become more aware of your surroundings during this exercise, do much the same as the above, and just acknowledge these sensations and move past them. Few things to note with this kind of exercise and in life, in general, is that:
  • painful events, memories and sensations can happen when you least expect it when this happens, just be mindful and in this moment and don’t let your brain get caught up in the tidal wave that it is trying to create.
  • Identify and give names to those things that your mind brings to the surface. for example, if you are working through your breathing and you are sensing anger or frustration, call a spade a spade and label those emotions and close them behind that door. You will find that this will help to slow the amount and intensity of these thoughts. if done enough
  • You will begin to identify yourself as an objective observer or witness rather than a person who is disturbed by these thoughts and feelings. This requires practice but can then be used whenever you are stressed.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Paddy Michelson


Paddy Michelson (author) from Australia on August 15, 2018:

It certainly isn't easy, but we have to persist regardless, one foot in front of the other.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on August 14, 2018:

Paddy -- you made fixing your sprained mental health look easy, but I know that anything's worth having is worth putting in some work.

Nice writing. Nice.

Stay in touch with me.

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