Change your lifestyle

A personal story from one of the Seed Community

Volunteering at Seed Studios and supporting the project has caused me to reflect on my own experiences with anxiety and depression.

Some years ago now I experienced acute anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It was being so low with depression that led me to seek help. To my mind clinical depression was likely a result of being anxious a lot of the time. The fact is, I don’t know. I don’t know exactly what caused my mental health to suffer.

I was in quite a stressful work situation. I was drinking too much alcohol. I was unhappy in my personal relationships. I generally wasn’t happy with who I was or what was happening in my life. Maybe it was a combination of those things. Maybe something else. Whatever was the cause, something had to change.

The start of my recovery was talking to my parents about it and seeking medical help. Through medication and some talking therapies I came through the worst of the depression and began to get my anxiety under control. I learned about the brain chemistry of anxiety and about the ‘fight or flight’ response that causes panic.

I returned to work, stopped drinking alcohol and began to recognise some of the thoughts and situations that had caused me problems.

Some years later I was talking to a GP about anxiety and about the medication I was taking and he said ‘Just change your lifestyle’ and not much else. Initially I thought that was simplistic, and a bit patronising.

And then I realised he was right. That is exactly what I had done and those words spurred me on to do more. I sought out work that I enjoyed. I turned to education to learn and develop new skills. I began to take regular physical exercise (this didn’t last long to be fair). I started playing my guitar more.

Anxiety has not gone away completely, but I am better able to cope with it.

This story is about me building my own resilience. I hope this project and the activities Seed Studios provides will support others experiencing difficulties to build their own resilience.