After the passing of Byron “Reckful” Bernstein, I wanted to collate some of the resources I have used to help manage my own mental health. I am not a professional therapist, counsellor or doctor, these are just the things I have found helpful. PLEASE talk to professionals too.
You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 in the UK 24/7 – I can vouch for them helping just to calm a mind riddled with anxiety and/or depression.
In the UK you can self refer to Talking Therapies in the NHS via this link – talking about my issues with a therapist over the years has helped me a lot. I never say I’ve finished with therapy, I just say I’m done “for now”.
Here are some other links to charities and phone lines that can help.
Some practical things that I’ve found to help me are
- 1 x 10 minute walk outside a day. When I have been extremely low and unable to do bigger physical activity, taking a short walk for just 10 minutes outdoors has been a huge help. I leave my phone and smart watch behind and focus on the fields and the sky. And the dog.
- The HeadSpace app – you can use the basic meditation programme for 10 days. I often go back to day 7 or 8 and repeat them. You can also subscribe to the service if you want to. There is also Calm and probably other meditation apps, I recommend having a go with a few until you find a voice that works for you.
- The 5 Minute Journal App – this one can be tough sometimes as it asks you to think of 3 things you’re grateful for. When I am particularly struggling I often write down “the sky, the air, my bed”, but it’s important to just do the practice even if it’s hard as it will start to get easier.
- Crying in the shower, soaking in the bath, drinking a lot of water, being by or in the sea. Crying is good for us. Doing it in the shower allows me to wash it all away. Water, at least for me, has huge healing properties and I always feel better when I’ve spent time in it, on it, or near it. For you it might be having a fire, spending time in the woods or something else.
- Doing something with my hands. Doing something that requires a monotonous and repetitive manual element can help take you out of your head and put your focus back into your body. All the old cliches of gardening, sewing, drawing, painting, baking, woodwork – anything that forces you to focus on something else, takes you out of your worries for a wee while. I prefer bread making, gardening and sewing.
Medications can be helpful too, I haven’t taken them though I’ve never ruled it out and believe that they can be another tool in the box to help us.
The biggest problem for me is talking about it in depth with people at the time that I am dealing with it. Although friends often say “I’m always here to alk” it’s rarely something we take them up on because we usually just don’t want to burden others with our problems, we don’t think we’re important and we are ashamed. Personally, I’m very good at talking about it online but if you asked me face-to-face I would clam up. It is much easier to type it out and send a tweet than it is to vocalise what I’m feeling. If you feel like this, you are not alone.
All you need is one reason to hold on.
This link includes numbers for suicide prevention around the world.
I’ll update this as I get more resources including international ones.
Take care of yourselves, and each other.
Deme the DK ❤