3 Recommended Resources: Anxiety & Depression

I just want to share a few of the resources that I’ve found useful in my journey. There is a wealth of books and information available and it can be pretty overwhelming, maybe this will be helpful to someone trying to narrow down their options.

I was recommended Martin E. P. Seligman‘s work by one of my university tutors. I read two of his books, and would like to recommend both;

1. I would start with ‘Learned Optimism’, which outlines the benefits of optimism and the drawbacks of pessimism, before explaining how you can gradually overturn your pessimistic thinking. The technique described is an effective remedy for pervasive, persistent depressive thinking. https://www.amazon.com/Learned-Optimism-Martin-P-Seligman/dp/1442341130

2. ‘What You Can Change… and What You Can’t (learning to accept who you are)’ explains that not all parts of the self are changeable (due to heritability and other reasons), but outlines the most effective ways of altering the parts that are. The heritability point was interesting to me – I convinced my parents to take the pessimism test in Learned Optimism and we all scored ‘very pessimistic’. My dad was more pessimistic on the permanence scale and my mum was more pessimistic on the pervasiveness scale. Me? I was more pessimistic than both of them as I scored low on both scales! My little brother’s score was only 1 point out from mine.

3. I’d also highly recommend this free mindfulness course run by Monash University. It next opens in February 2017. It’s a really enjoyable and enlightening experience and I often go back to parts of the course – I’d recommend engaging and commenting on the activities as interacting with others really adds to it. One of the major recommendations Seligman makes for the treatment of anxiety is meditation, and this course shows you how you can incorporate mindfulness into not just deliberate meditation practices but into your everyday life. You can sign up for free here – https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/mindfulness-wellbeing-performance

I hope that you’ll find them helpful 🙂

Strength to Strength

It’s been a while since I updated. I’m happy to report that my studies are continuing to go well, I’ve passed all of my assignments with flying colours so far and I’m several weeks ahead of where I need to be, according to the study planner. I’ve moved into a new department at work where I am doing well, and I still visit my counsellor just to talk about what’s happened, where I’m at, and to deal with any low level issues that come up. It’s basically preventative, now. Maintenance. The recklessness has calmed and given way to calmer, considered action.

I’m not depressed, and my level of anxiety is no longer disordered. My mental health is better than it’s been in years, perhaps even better than it’s ever been. My self-awareness has grown immeasurably, and my capacity for self-compassion grows day by day. I started this journey broken and feeling like I couldn’t do anything. I’m moving forward now feeling like I can do anything I put my mind to. Like a light has been turned on, or a door has been opened.

And the job that I really wanted to do finally opened for recruitment again two months ago. It’s really competitive, a lot of people didn’t even pass the application form to get an interview, but I’ve gone and passed all of the assessments. It feels like a new beginning. Feels like I’ve woken from a nightmare, and I’m walking into the sun.

I feel like things are going to be okay. I’m not worried. I’m… excited. Hopeful. I still have some issues – everyone does. But I have learned to accept myself as I am, and to be patient while I work through my difficulties. I’m confident that I have what it takes to deal with whatever comes up – and that is the biggest aim of therapy. Not just to become functional in the short term, but to develop skills that will prevent relapse in the longer term.

I hope that if you’re not here, you’ll get here. Soon. Til then, be kind to yourself and trust that better days are coming x