A New Years Resolution for those experiencing anxiety and depression.
We all know the experience. Tomorrow is a new year and we promise ourselves that from 1st January, we will change certain things about ourselves. Diet, exercise, change of job, moving on from a toxic relationship, connecting more with friends, working less and investing more in family.
More than ever this year, we are pinning our hopes on 2021 to bring new hope from a year where hope seems to have faded away: month after month of being in lockdown, or tiers, and experiencing being either essential or non-essential. I am sure many of us have New Years resolutions ready in order to bring some sort of positive change to patterns of life that have likely suffered in the last 12 months.
For those who don't suffer with anxiety or depression, changing habits is hard enough, and often by the 6th January our resolutions are forgotten and we quickly settle back into ingrained ways of living!!
But for those that suffer with anxiety and depression, things are much harder. Trying to engage in healthy patterns, whilst defence and control mechanisms are running rampant, is like running a race with your legs tied together, or driving a car whilst blindfolded.
It's not to say that committing to new ways of living is not a positive thing to grasp, but if there are changes of habit that do not engage with our internal deep-set cycles, it is near impossible to maintain.
But there are some new years resolutions that will help to begin the journey of understanding, bring a measure of healing and a strengthen of relationship that, although will take time to see the impact, will bring about permanent change.
If you have recognised the the symptoms of anxiety or depression for a while, then do not continue to ignore them. Maybe take your first step in acknowledging that these feelings and experiences exist, and talk to someone about them.
If you take that step, talk to your doctor, try to locate a counsellor and share with close, trusted people.
Bravely ask your husband or wife to share their experience of the impact this has on them, and the marriage. Allow them to be honest, and hear their emotion (it is not an attack). Tell them you have heard them and that you want to work hard on changing things.
Include a wider circle of support to help you on your journey.
Be gentle and kind with yourself. Its going to be a bumpy journey, but a worthwhile one.
Although, as with all New Years resolutions, we would like to see a quick result for a changed life, the positive changes from this journey will take time, as the emotions behind the patterns are understood, and patterns of control and coping are dismantled to make a way for new ways of living to emerge.
But this will be a News years resolution worth making, one that will promise positive change in and around you; it is a step towards freedom from what you are encountering to take control back so future years don't have to be the same.
This has been my experience. It has taken time, it has required a lot from me, but life has been truly different and can be for you too.
For those who have already made the choices above, then well done and keep going! Recommit this year to continue the journey. And for those who haven't, then make the brave choices this year. Choose hope. Choose life. It is worth it.