Mental Health & my lockdown journey...

A little off wedding topic but I have been wanting to write a blog on mental health for a while now since the unfortunate event of covid-19 and lockdown occurred, but I never found the right words or knew where and how to start. It isn’t as simple as writing my usual wedding related blogs because it’s such a sensitive topic to me and to others. However, I found that the best place to start was with myself and to write from the heart on my experience with my mental health, the steps I took to get myself out of a dark place internally and how I have dealt with lockdown restrictions which may or may not help others, however my intentions are pure in doing so.

As someone who suffers with Ptsd (post-traumatic stress disorder) from a young age, this topic was something I wanted to write about to either help others who feel or are alone, or to raise awareness to those who fail to understand it, bringing me to write that it makes me truly happy that in the past few years the education given on mental health has vastly improved and the awareness has reached out and touched many.

"It is okay to not be okay…"

It is fair for me to say that I very much rely on keeping busy and keeping to my strict routine to day to day life, this gives me a sense of stability, a sense that I have accomplished something that moves me closer towards my goals. Although I do enjoy solidarity and my own company to recharge my batteries and refocus my energies, I very much rely on my routine and always have ever since my childhood.

So, what happens when the world stands still, and you find yourself at a pause? What happens to those that suffer with mental health or those who have been triggered with mental health through strict lockdown regulations and solidarity?

To be completely honest, in my experience I couldn’t really quite get my head around the fact that I was living through such an uncertain time and yes, my thoughts took over me and my anxiety kicked in which lead to more overthinking and it was a complete trigger to my mental health and wellbeing.

The more I worked my brain the less love I gave to myself and I found myself with no motivation, less hope and a feeling of helplessness.

Being such an energetic person in general with so many goals, so much to do and to have a young daughter to keep up with to life being at a standstill all of a sudden took its toll. I know that all of me goes into being the best Mother I can possibly be, but how can I continue to give the best version of me to my daughter, my partner and my business when I’m not performing internally to my full potential?

Now, many people over the years have told me to open up more or the famous ‘Just get over it’ (which may I add is cruel and easier said than done) this statement has never helped me or anyone in history, if anything it made me feel worse because my feelings were invalid to some and society has no place for negative thinking, right??

Thankfully that is slowly changing, and people are able to express themselves in regard to mental health awareness without it being taboo and without being judged.

So, I am here to say that it is okay to not be okay! It is okay to acknowledge that somewhere down the line something is just not right… it is also okay to take your time with all these feelings and not to pressure yourself into feeling yourself again. Just do the best you can to not stay there too long, the world needs you, you need you!

During times where I have struggled internally, it has always helped me to acknowledge the fact that I have always overcome it, one way or another thankfully, I have always pulled myself from a negative bubble. I keep this theory and apply it to the next time I feel down and then I reassure myself "You've been here before, you got through it then, you will get through it again" and it somehow calms me to believe that if I have overcome it time and time again, I can do it just one more time.

Below are some of the things that have helped me with my experiences:

1. My BEAUTIFUL daughter

Where do I start? I was a very young mummy from the age of 19, I raised my daughter on my own, I have loved every minute of it, she has been there with me on my best days and my worst days and always loved me as I do her. Knowing that I have little eyes on me can sometimes lead to pressure to be and give the very best of me, but saying this, it has always been a great help that through my daughters’ eyes, I am and always will be her hero, someone who can do anything and oh my, how I wish I had her vision.

Her confidence, sass and that fire inside her for life reminds me daily that I’ve done a good job so far and if she’s happy then I’ve succeeded in one area in my life.

Although I understand where my ptsd stems from and although it may always creep on me, I learnt that it’s how I react to circumstances in life when it throws me lemons. This is exactly what I want my daughter to learn through me, that no matter what life throws at her, her reaction to life’s downs will determine the outcome of those negative bubbles. Just knowing that I have a little lady friend for life gives me a feeling of empowerment and responsibility.

2. My partner

Now I do work in the lavish wedding industry and yes I have been single for majority of those years, no I’m not married, I’m not J-lo the wedding planner and after years of failed attempts and giving up, I have only recently begun a relationship with a man very close to my heart whom I’ve known since primary school. With this comes nostalgia, someone who knows majority of my personality already, someone I can trust and talk to and who listens to understand me with no judgement (while it’s important to state that happiness should come from within and relying on others for your happiness can be risky) no relationship is or ever will be perfect but if you have someone close to your heart who you have chosen to spend life with, there is no harm in indulging in all the ramifications that come with it. If you’re going to love, then do it right.

3. My businesses

My other babies if you like… there’s nothing better to me than doing something you love and surrounding yourself with love, happiness and joy… even in times of hardship it always brings me to a good place and then completely shifts my mood. Lover of all things wedding as seen on my main website page, indeed I am! I was your happy go lucky type of girl and still am inside, I love a happy beginning and even more so to be a part of something so special to keep me busy. I’m also a lover of all thing’s wellness, by wellness I not only mean physical health but most importantly mental health. Paying close attention to your surroundings, what you eat, how much you exercise and how you speak of yourself can play a big part in your mental health which is why I am also now an Arbonne consultant in a new and exciting network marketing business that I recently embarked upon. I did say I like to keep busy!

Mental and physical health have become such a big part of my world that I needed to make it a lifestyle and with that came Arbonne.

4. My Worth

Lastly, most certainly not least, if anything most importantly is knowing my worth. My worth as a woman, as a mother, as a business woman and as a human. Knowing, loving and admiring every inch of myself and my past. Understanding my insecurities, what makes me tick, my obstacles and that I am exactly what I need, that I deserve everything good in this world and can achieve everything I want through my thought process and actions to back them.

Understanding that everything my past has given me, both the good and bad has taught me to be wise, to love harder, to want more, to forgive myself and others, to find peace, to see the good in even the most unpleasant souls because they need the most love, to understand the actions of others and their reasons and to do my very best to protect my peace.

And finally, to have hope always, hope is everything and anything can change in the blink of an eye. No one is you and that is your super power and there is no greater love than the love you can give yourself.

Managing Lockdown solidarity...

During lockdown I found myself with a little TOO much time on my hands, I think many can relate, so after weeks of having this grey cloud over my head and feeling myself going through a dark tunnel, I desperately thought of ways to pass time to be productive in the most rewarding ways… to do more of the things that I wouldn’t necessarily do frequently on a normal day, things I advise anyone who has been or is going through depression, anxiety or any mental health related issues to take the time to do so, not for anyone but yourself, because you matter:

1. Write a journal

It may sound silly to some but writing down your jumbled-up thoughts can make a huge difference, by putting everything into words you’re actually organising your thoughts and putting things down into perspective. Take the time to write down all the things that don’t make you feel so great and then compare it to the things that do. It really does make a difference!! If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal is a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and understand your emotions, redirect your thoughts and refocus your energy.

2. Meditation

Now honestly I was told this years ago but I couldn’t picture myself even beginning to understand where to start but this is the thing, you just start, you don’t need to be the Dalai Lama to meditate however find a quiet space (or even before bedtime) close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing and with every thought that crosses your mind you allow to come and go as they please without focusing on them, listen to your body and find some form of peace, in time you get better at it. I done this with my partner before bed with relaxing meditation of binaural sounds. Just 10 minutes of your day to just be still can make a difference and bring you clarity!

3. Gratitude’s

I can’t express this enough but even the smallest things we take for granted are worth the praise. Every morning I write down 10 things I am grateful for, each day something different. You will be surprised at how much you come up with after writing the first 3, not only was I sending out positive energy and starting the day right but as I was listing my gratitude’s, I was reminding myself of all those things I never really stopped to be grateful for and it instantly reminded me of how lucky I am to be alive let alone have food on my table and the clothes on my back. Studies have found a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which were grateful for, these benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness.

4. Visualisation

Now when I say visualisation I mean to visualise where you want to be, what do you want from your life and your ideal lifestyle? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your goals? Do this daily, the mood this puts you in after is beyond me. Forget where you are now because we have all started small or with nothing, your job is to imagine the life you want, install those good feelings inside of you to come out and slowly create more hope. Even when things seem hopeless… there is always hope. Visualising even 5 minutes a day can make you feel good and empower you to take action on your dreams. If you can dream it, you can live it.

5. Motivational videos

I made it my soul purpose to surround myself with all things that keep me motivated and every day I watched something that kept the fire in me from extinguishing, especially in times of not being able to do much. This can be anything from motivational speakers on YouTube videos such as: (some of my favourites)

· Abraham hicks on the law of attraction

· Bob proctor

· Think and grow rich (being rich is not always to do with finances)

These were catalyst to shifting my mood and believing in myself all over again.

6. Hobbies

I found a renewed profound love for art, I’m not the greatest nor do I compare myself to a professional but the feeling painting with water colours gives me was one of no comparison, this as much as reading. I once heard a quote that said "reading and art can take you places without moving your feet" and this is true. It is also true to say that this comes with anything that you enjoy doing. So, dig deep, what do you enjoy doing? Do it. Take some time for yourself in whichever way you see fit and enjoy a few hours of living in it, whether its crafts, or listening to music, or dancing or even creative writing… do it. Do the things that set your soul on fire.

7. Long walks

Something else that helped me and still soothes me is walking, walking to new places or even through the park. Mother nature has a unique way of bringing you tranquility. Walking was also a good way to keep active and sometimes where my light bulb moments came from.

8. Quality time with loved ones

Okay so were all pretty much restricted with this one, but for me, I lived with my loved ones and I took advantage of spending my days watching feel good movies or catering to my Disney fever in the company of my daughter, to be childlike again, to cook more, to paint more, to read more, or to just sleep more or face-time friends more. Regardless, any type of contact was good contact, and I made sure that my contact were with those who made me feel good. Not just through lockdown but in general daily living, be mindful who you give your time and energy to.

9. Back to business

The wedding industry has changed so much in such a short amount of time, but staying active is fundamental to the running of a business, so indeed I had to postpone a few events and say a sad goodbye, however I realised that although this impacted me and my business it didn’t have to get worse, so I pushed myself through my confusion of the impact of covid-19 to write and brainstorm a list of blogs to work on during time of solidarity, one of my main priorities being ‘mental health’ and to cater to my current clients whilst catering to my 2021 future clients. I took this time to analyse the wedding industry and its changes and adapt to these gracefully, to keep in contact with my suppliers and vendors and revamp my website, clear my desk and prioritise my work and to work on my new business and keep up to date with the industry and training… there’s always something to do. If there is something you can do to better your position, do it. There’s no better start like the present!

Words of advice from a young woman with an old soul...

The above may not resonate with everyone and we all have our own ways of dealing with our issues. Every situation is different, every person is unique with different demons, different emotions and no one is perfect. We all deal with our emotions differently but if we take a step back and think of the times where we all felt a little miserable and were alive to tell the tale then, just be aware that we will get through the not so great times we may or may not find ourselves in. Bad days never last, if I have learnt anything and I mean anything, it’s that this saying “we only live once” shouldn’t be just a quote but a fundamental factor to our view on life.

For those who are going through hardship whatever it may be, YOU matter, YOU are worthy, and YOU are on earth for a reason, whether it’s to learn or to teach you’re here for a reason, never doubt yourself or your capabilities, just a simple shift in daily routine can dramatically change your life. Press through the challenging times, only then will you grow with your experience.

I am no expert and my goodness I am still learning through the teachings of life, but one thing is for sure, nothing stays the same forever, life can take an unexpected turn for the better, all you need is hope, so if you have lost that hope or if you have lost the faith in yourself, find something you love and do it for fun and if you can do it for work, only you can make that happen.

Believe in yourself and who you represent. No one is always happy and positive and if you are please share with me the formula :) nevertheless we should all accept our negative emotions as they teach us what we don’t want from what we do want in order to take action.

Remember, to appreciate the good we sometimes have to hit rock bottom and there’s no shame in that! We are perfectly imperfect humans learning from each other as we go along, all wanting success and happiness not realising that only we hold the key to our success.

Written with so much love, in the hopes that somewhere, someone may relate & see the power within themselves.

Love Davina xoxo

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