Thursday, 31 January 2013

things that keep me happy.

Here are things I turn to when I'm feeling down - often these things don't just 'cheer me up', but they make things easier for me.

1. My family
My wonderful family are the best bunch of people I know. I have a mum, dad and older sister who I am very close to. I guess I'm fortunate to have a group of people who I can turn to, who will support me through whatever. I am extremely greatful to have them all in my life. And of course my kitty! Who I love dearly and cuddle when I'm down.

2. Walking
I never feel like it at the time, but going on a walk (especially in the sunshine - a lack of vitamin D can often cause me to get moody) really helps calm me down and center my thoughts. It's a shame when I'm depressed that I just want to curl up in bed all day!

3. Music
Music is a very important part of my life - I listen to it nearly all the time when I'm awake, bar lectures/social situations as that would just be rude! I'm partial to a lot of stuff, depending on my mood - I always turn to my beloved Florence & The Machine though.

4. Hot drinks and wrapping up
This is probably my failsafe technique of making myself feel slightly better - curl up with a good book, under my duvet with a cup of peppermint tea. Peppermint tea really reduces stress, which calms me down. Ideally I'd like my cat with me but alas, she lives with my parents!

5. Conversation
Again, due to social anxiety this is something I struggle with sometimes, but usually if I am in university on a depressed day, I often can put it to the back of my mind if I'm chatting with coursemates about my work.

6. Lighting candles
I don't know why, but candles soothe me a great deal - I have quite a few in my room. My favourite scents are vanilla and lavender.

Ok, if you like cute fluffy animals, that is the website for you. It kills me every time, I love it! It'll forever put a smile on my face (and make me want several baby animals)

8. Monday mornings
Odd, right? This is usually when I see my counsellor, he makes me happy.

9. Cooking
I find cooking very therapeutic, be it baking or making a full meal - I think it's focusing my mind on something else which helps.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

my early experiences with little d.

You have to start somewhere, right?

Many cases of depression are genetic, but this was not the case for me. As far as I know, my family have been a healthy and happy bunch, not affected by mental illness.

In my case, I had a number of stressors which all set up shop inside my mind. Most of these came around in 2011, which was a pretty rough year for me. I lost two very dear family members within 5 months of each other, and having not lost a family member before, I did not know how to cope. I still don't, if I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure how to grieve. It's not like these two events made me go from happy to sad in an instant, far from it - I just happened to be going through my A Levels at the time and was already very distressed. Unfortunately, my little brain couldn't cope with all the bad news and I started to slip.

After the passing of two wonderful people came that time in my life where I left home - my little sanctuary. I had always been a mature child and it wasn't the physicality of moving away that was difficult, it was being away from my family and their 24/7 support which hurt the most. But, since then I have grown to thrive on my own company and independence, only faltering every so often.

So, after feeling continuously down/sad/moody for around a month*, I tottered off to the local doctors. Luckily, I was told to go to the counselling service available at my university before being told anything else, which I am greatful for. Too many doctors throw pills at every depressive, and they aren't for everyone. After much digging of heels, I went to a drop-in appointment, with a lovely woman who nodded and smiled and taught me to breath properly. I'll admit that lately that has helped in anxious situations, but at the time I felt a little let down.

Luckily at the end of 2011, I got referred to the counsellor I still see today.

*N.B: If you are feeling down, or depressed for longer than two weeks, please go and see your doctor.

an introduction to 'my little d' & me.

I should warn you, reader, that I am terrible at starting things. I cannot start a conversation without inane small talk, cannot begin writing a new page of notes without my handwriting being wonky, and I cannot just start typing a blog post - see? I need to have a little chit-chat.

I guess I should introduce myself - hello, I'm Gabrielle, but I'd prefer it if you called me Gabby. I'm twenty years old and a second year geography student in Liverpool. I have a cat at home who I love dearly, and enjoy drinking tea, reading, listening to music and learning. I also have depression, and have done for 2 long years. I have gone through two other blogs in the past, both fashion/lifestyle ones, but I think I prefer simply to read those, rather than write my own posts. After all, my idea of 'fashion' is an all-black outfit, and my idea of 'lifestyle' is avoiding the world, curled up with a good book.

The idea of this blog is to share my thoughts and experiences with depression (which I call my little d) - how depression affects my day-to-day life, how I am fighting it/managing it, etc etc. I will also be researching into certain treatments for depression, some of which I have had, and will 'review' them, I think. This blog is still taking it's baby steps, so bear with me.

Like many depressives, I sometimes feel like hiding from the world for days, weeks maybe, so please excuse  any sporadic postings, but I'll try and keep at it. This blog will probably be my secondary therapy!

Anyway, that's enough of a rambling introduction - this little corner of the internet will undoubtedly be quiet for a good few weeks or months, but I don't mind. Hopefully it's all lovely and warm for when other readers arrive.