So we’re at another week of my mental health series – This Lil Mind of Mine. Today we meet Jocelyn (such a lovely name!)
She can usually be found, along with her blogger friend, at Oh Dear, Deer! Go check it out. It makes a great read!
Lets meet the woman herself!
Tell me a little about yourself (and your blog if applicable)! As much or as little as you want ☺
Hi! I’m Jocelyn. I blog over at Oh dear, DEER! with my friend and cousin Tracie. We share food (Tracie is currently in France for pastry school), crafts, travel, wellness and life. We started blogging the end of February so we are still new to blogging and trying to figure it all out, and (mostly) enjoying it along the way!
I currently work to pay the bills and have just started testing the waters of a natural nutrition diploma. I have lived in Nova Scotia, Canada for all my life (except one year at university in Guelph, Ontario) where we have two seasons; winter and pothole repair season. I had a really bad depression and anxiety episode last year (which I will talk about further in the next question) that I am still recovering from but am making my best efforts to move forward.
How does your anxiety/mental illness affect you?
For me this can be broken down into two categories; mind and body. I have had some form of anxiety and/or depression follow me since high school, but never dealt with such overwhelming body symptoms as I have over this past year and a half. My bad episode of depression and heightened anxiety was from January to about the end of April in 2015. I was barely functional and spent most of my time home watching TV shows. While the depression lifted in April 2015 the extra anxiety decided to stick around, and hasn’t made a move to leave yet.
Body: From this episode my muscles are consistently much tighter than they used to be. I had a lot of tingling and numbness in my arms, legs and face. Which of course I came up with the worst possible scenarios for in my head, don’t need the internet’s help there! It’s not as bad as it was but all day my shoulders are reaching for my ears if I don’t make the conscious effort to relax. I was taking yoga teacher training at the time and from the weekend in December to the one in January they could tell the difference. The instructors kept saying relax, relax more…and my body just wouldn’t relax no matter how much of an effort I made. My fight or flight mode is always on high alert! This has made me hyper aware of body sensations and now they freak me out.
Mind: Mentally I feel exhausted from holding myself together through most days. Even if my work day isn’t super busy it still feels like I’ve run a marathon internally. My thoughts get in the way a lot. Thinking I am not good enough, or what if this happens, or why did I say that etc. It keeps me from doing everything I want to do, but I am slowly picking up tools and trying to talk back to my thoughts. It comes in waves; I have weeks where I shut in on myself and don’t do anything, and other weeks where I feel okay to be out in the world.
Do your friends/family know? If so, have you involved them at all?
I think the majority of them do. After last year’s episode I was pretty open with it. It felt to me like if I didn’t talk about it it would consume me. It felt so much that way that for a while after last year’s episode I had a hard time interacting with new people who didn’t know about it. Therapists can be expensive, and if I am not able to make it to an anxiety peer group I rely on friends for having someone to talk to. A few friends who have dealt with similar issues were my rocks for getting through the worst times. It was tough explaining about it to some family and friends at first, but worth the effort in the end.
What positives do you think come with having a mental illness?
Going through difficult times helps open your eyes to what other people might be going through and why they may act a certain way. Sometimes we are able to read the signs of someone who may be dealing with mental illness, help them realize why they have been feeling so crappy and give them ideas of where to find helpful resources. I like being able to relate with others and help out if I can.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Excellence, not perfection. You don’t have to put so much effort into everything. So long as you are learning it doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, they don’t define you and what other people think of you doesn’t define you either. You can’t make everyone happy all the time, you will burn yourself out and drive yourself crazy if you try. Follow your dreams. The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. Don’t be stupid with money but don’t be so afraid of it you miss out on what you really want to do.
What advice would you give anyone else who feels they may suffer from anxiety?
Talk to someone. The worst of it is feeling alone and trying to explain what you are going through to someone who doesn’t understand. I would recommend checking out a peer group for anxiety and/or depression if there is one in your community (or online!). It really helped me to feel less alone just by listening to people talk about the same things I was experiencing everyday. And when I finally had the courage to share my story I felt heard, and that my feelings were validated. It can be tricky to explain to someone who has never dealt with anxiety before what you are going through, gather analogies and do the best you can.
Look for tools that work for you to deal with anxiety. It can be trial and error to find what you are most comfortable with. There’s lots of information on the internet or a therapist can help, if you have access to one. Tools can range from medication to breathing techniques to healthy eating and exercise and more.
Never be afraid to share and reach out. One of the positives about anxiety is that you have a common ground with more people than you would ever think.
On a side note – what are your hopes and dreams?
My dream is to one day open a retreat center here in Nova Scotia. There isn’t really any year-round, week plus stays for retreat centers east of Ontario. We have a few that are at camps or cottages in the summer but no real dedicated facilities. I feel like we all need a place to go and unwind in the busy world. Someday I hope to provide one! With healthy whole foods, meditation, yoga, spa facilities, workshops on mindfulness and more! That’s the big hope and dream, build a lifestyle where I look after myself and can help others do the same. Shorter term I hope to start and finish a natural nutrition diploma and re-take yoga teacher training (I had a break down half way through the first time I took it and wasn’t able to fully complete all the assignments/teaching practice).
What makes you happy?
Slow mornings where I am not rushed to get anywhere. Enjoying a cup of tea (while checking yesterday’s blog traffic). Reading a good book. Learning something new, in an unrushed environment. I recently took a photography workshop to learn how to use a camera I had for a while and really enjoyed it! Friday night Skype dates with my blogging partner. Sharing and connecting with people. And snuggles with my cat 🙂
I can relate to all of this. I hope you’ve found it useful! Do share your opinions and thoughts on this!
Again go visit her and her friends blog – it’s really great 🙂