I fight anxiety and depression every day
Julie shares how she copes with a long-term lung condition and depression.
I’ve had asthma since I was a child. When I had pneumonia 12 years ago, my asthma got worse and I developed other long-term illnesses which made it had to keep active. And I’ve now developed a condition in my legs which means it’s even harder to keep up.
I’ve always suffered from anxiety and depression - especially anxiety. Recently, I’ve felt my low mood starting to take hold of me. I’ve just started taking antidepressants as well as having therapy.
And while my health is stable, I’m using what I’ve learnt in therapy to fight anxiety and depression. I’ve been doing this every day.
Finding the new me
Because of my health, I’ve had to make large life changes.
My journey through therapy has helped me realise I was mourning a loss of myself. I’ve had other losses in the past 2 years too. I’ve lost local communities and networks because I’ve had to move into new areas 3 times.
I’ve lost family members, and I lost a stable work environment when I was made redundant.
Connecting with the outside world
I’ve always been a social person. I do love a good natter. My health has meant I’m more socially isolated. I found that very difficult, especially as I’d moved away from family, friends and connections. I could only natter so much with my cats and partner! So the last 2 years have been a period of adjustment and transition.
I’ve worked hard to find new ways of living and trying to find the new me. I come up with ways to re-join the outside world, be more active, and find people to natter with.
Things that help me feel better
Everyone is different – so what worked for me may not work for everyone. But I hope that sharing my story and my advice can help others.
I make an effort to connect with close family more often by phone calls or texts. I chat with my friend daily via text and Alexa (the virtual assistant) about the everyday things (how did you sleep? what are you doing? how was your day?)
I also use social media to connect with forums and networks. I found a local chronic illness support group online. We meet up annually in person.
I volunteer at a local museum. I also visit old work colleagues for catch-up coffees and cake.
I make time to do the exercises and stretches my physiotherapist taught me. I also go for short walks. I love taking part in a nature task while I’m walking – like the Big Garden Birdwatch or the Great British Bee Count.
I listen to the radio - talk radio is good if you want to listen to a good moan or what's happening.
Now this is a hard one! I’ve overeaten due to depression and I battle with this. 2 years ago I gave up alcohol - a big positive. Giving up the chocolate will be next!
When I can, I read. I always read as a child: every Tuesday I went to the mobile library (remember those?) and every Saturday I was in the main library. I really enjoy reading and it keeps the old brain cells going.
I have ups and downs from my anxiety and depression. But I carry on fighting. Maybe one day they will go.
In the meantime they are part of me, and maybe I’m coming to accept that. Humans are complex, and maybe accepting that is not an aspect to shy away from.
Do you have anxiety or depression? Or know someone who does? Read our online information.