Helping yourself to help yourself…

Your relationship with yourself will last a lifetime…

I am not sure how to start this…

Since I gave my talk, published my presentation, held an ‘ask me anything‘ and just generally; I have received so much positive feedback from so many different sources that I have been humbled in a way I never thought possible (especially after the very humbling experience that started all this!).

The one piece of feedback that I have taken to heart however is one of people seeking to know how I cope with living with depression and what I do to look after myself.

SIDE NOTE:

Meme1

Anyone else have this? I’m fairly certain it’s commonplace now… Doesn’t matter how much positive feedback we receive; that one comment of how you could improve weighs on your mind so much more…

So today I thought I’d let you in on how I look after myself, what I do to maintain a balance in myself and how I care for me.

Get to know yourself and accept who you are

This may seem a strange place to start but it is the most fundamental of things that helps support everything else I’ll talk about later. This is very introspective and many people struggle to really get to know themselves and what matters to them. Our lives are busy, so it’s easy to forget about yourself.

In my case, I was left with an identity void. For 11 years I was part of a couple and then I was not. I continued to try and live the life of what it was like with a partner. This made that void worse as I was trying to replace something that could never be replaced.

Once I realised this (and it took a good few months if not half a year) I started focusing on me and what I liked;

  1. I like learning – so I started trying new things; this included painting, drawing, decorating, language, music and pretty much anything I could try… – I felt like I was growing as an individual again, and growing in a way that I wanted
  2. I like entertaining – so I doubled down on my Twitch streaming and started updating this website and developing games again. I started writing articles and designing games and stories again… – I was doing something for others and bringing them happiness and that lead me onto my last point
  3. I like helping people – so I started fundraising again, publicising the stream, doing volunteering and then starting heavy fundraising with my first 24 hour stream… – I gave something back to the world, trying to create a net positive impact from my being here

What matters to you could be anything at all and you should not feel embarrassed or ashamed about it in any way. Be who you are, accept it, embrace it!

Understand that it is okay to not be okay

This was an incredibly hard one for me to begin with as I was trying to remember a time before the pain and before the numb feelings had consumed everything about me. I began to not be okay with ‘not being okay’ which lead me to a vicious circle of feeling worse.

What I needed to do, and do now whenever I start to feel those negative feelings, is to simply accept it. I may be feeling down now, but there is always tomorrow when things could improve on where they are now.

Then, once I have accepted where I am at, I follow what I feel…

Sometimes this is comfort food, sometimes this is lying on a sofa and watching TV, sometimes it’s going for a walk, other times it’s going to sleep…

The key thing is that I am listening to what I’m feeling in that moment and that I try to do what feels most appropriate.

Clearly this can lead to some self destructive behaviours without moderation, but as with all things, if you need help managing and coping then you should seek help.

Understand your love languages

One of the things I did with my ex-wife Deborah was understand how we both wanted to receive and give love to one another. Love Languages was one of the best things we did as a couple and I honestly would recommend it to everyone to understand about themselves and their significant other(s).

Love Languages

This is me!…

I value spending quality time with people above all else and hearing those people say positive things about me.

I do not like receiving gifts at all….

What’s important here for me personally, was seeing that I really value people ‘putting time and positive feelings’ into me. Physical intimacy…Sex…is great. You won’t hear me say otherwise. However for me, sharing a positive experience, doing something together and someone investing their time and effort into me means more than any wild and passionate night… (many not any… 😉).

So I changed how I interacted with people…and this was really tough.

I emphasised and tried to focus my time on people who actually wanted to do things together and who showed positive responses to who I am and what I am doing.

I stopped putting myself out and started letting others come in.

This made me so much happier in my life and in myself.

Obviously I can only talk about me and my experiences. You can do the test and see what your love languages are and then focus your efforts on how to receive them in some meaningful way.

Try everything twice

My final point of how I handle living with depression is a fairly straight forward one, but one people often only go halves on…

Try everything TWICE

Not once…

TWICE

The reason I believe in this so adamantly is that the first time you do anything, there will be some level of uncertainty in your thoughts and some level of anticipation or anxiety in your body that could impact on how your first experience feels.

The second time you do something however, you know what’s coming and the above thoughts shouldn’t be as prevalent so you can have a true and honest experience.

The same is true with depression. You don’t know how its impact on your first experience, so try it again regardless of how you might have felt before and during the first experience.

Wrapping up

With all this said; mental health remains a deeply personal experience and a journey you must walk yourself. What works for me might not work for others. I can at least share what has worked for me in the hope that it could help those who read this.

You’ll notice there is some new branding that I’ve put up in various places…

miz7Logo_Black_BreakingtheStigma

I wanted to include the vision I have for miz7 within the core of the logo. I’ve added this as a new category at miz7shop for those interested in supporting the cause. I will certainly be wearing these with pride.

I have a few more talks and interviews booked in over the coming weeks and have some other projects and joint ventures kicking off shortly to spread the word further. If you are interested in having me talk or work with you please do not hesitate to contact me.

You can follow along on TwitchFacebookTwitterInstagram and Discord.

Thank you

 

Andrew Salkeld

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