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  • Self care suggestions – mental health
  • darthpunk

    Since watching a video that popped up on a skateboard Facebook group (I’ve embedded it below. It’s by John Rattray, a Scottish skateboarder and there’s bike stuff in there too) the message has preyed on my mind a little bit regarding my own, and other peoples, situations.

    I’ll not go into long boring explanation of my own life, but long story short, I’ve had depression and anxiety for about 15 years, been to counselling a couple of times, I’ve been taking Citalopram for years to take the edge off. But, I’ve never really taken myself to task and really tried to make any changes to my mental health or made any attempt to look after myself like I should. I’ve become almost resigned that this is it, this is normality and I just need to get used to this as it’s how I’ll always be.

    Right, that’s me out of the way.

    Basically, I got to thinking that the hive mind here might be a good place for suggestions and examples of how people have found ways to look after themselves better, take time to work on their own mental health and have had positive results.

    I’m guessing getting out on the bike more is likely to be the main suggestion.

    If anyone’s interested, here’s the video:

    Premier Icon eviljoe

    Good film, really useful, esp this time of year. Thanks for posting it 🙂


    Good video! I feel I’ve just fast-forwarded through the whole of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence!

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    I found counseling (and Citalopram) gave me a chance to identify the parts of my life that were good (more than I could see for myself at the time), the bits I could change/improve, and the bits I was just going to have to learn to deal with – not as much as I’d expected.

    Basically my life and head were too cluttered and loud – work, family, kids activities, voluntary stuff we were involved with. Constant rotation of ever changing rules, instructions, demands, deadlines, constantly reacting to stuff and cancelling my own plans. No quiet down time to prioritize and get focused.

    Was able to go term time to remove some childcare pressures, and took a sideways move at work that has given me a role where I effectively manage myself day to day. Promotion and pay progression are now non existent but childcare costs have gone so it’s not an issue, and I can look to progress again in a few years time when they are done with school.

    I’ve dropped most of the voluntary roles as well, just helping out if I’m there rather being there all the time – the world hasn’t ended due to my absence.

    Taking time to get to clear my head walking or riding now. Never got on with things like Headspace, but exercise clears my mind.

    And I’ve learnt to accept that I’ll have bad days, and will not always succeed. But those days will pass, and I can try again or try something different. I can’t control other people’s reaction to that, but I can have some control and perspective on my own reactions.

    Avoiding “my best life” social media bollocks also helps.

    Anyway, next month I’ll be a whole year meds free – despite a few things not going well, to put it mildly, I’ve ridden the storms. It’s a difficult journey at times but all you can do is your best, and if that’s not good enough for some people, they can **** off, you don’t need them.


    First off talk to someone who’ll listen to you properly. This could be a friend or family member who you can relate to. Alternatively counsellor/GP.
    Get plenty of sleep if you can and eat a healthy diet.
    Exercise more
    Investigate mindfulness Techniques
    Avoid alcohol/non prescription drugs-they don’t help at all in the long run
    There’s lots of signposts out there with access pointers-please use them


    Great video.

    I struggled a bit last year but seem to be in a much better place now. I’ve found the hardest thing to do is to be a bit more selfish. Do some more stuff for yourself; stuff that you enjoy. Take opportunities when they come your way, but don’t be afraid to say no if you’re too busy.

    Fresh air, walking/biking, looking at trees, listening to natural sounds when out walking is good etc (running water/ wind in the trees/ birds). I found all these help.

    I like these two books #chill and Mindful thoughts for walkers (i got one book i the charity shop and the other from our local library).

    Ps turn off your phone and stop going on the internet is some of the best advice i was given.
    Also don’t worry about the past (its gone), or the future (it hasn’t happened). I’m trying this at the moment.

    Good luck


    Premier Icon funkmasterp

    I’m in a similar position OP. Been on Citalopram and as a result what feels like emotional autopilot for five years now. Tried counselling before that and have taken other AD drugs at other points.

    Have tried all different paths, but always end up with depression again. Not sure what to do now. Have considered coming off the tablets as I feel like I’m missing my kids grow up. Mainly due to feeling emotionally blunted. Scared that If I do come off them I’ll suffer. Don’t want to put my family through that as they deserve better.

    So the cycle continues.

    Best of luck and thanks for sharing the video.

    Premier Icon cynic-al

    Similar here, I “survived” with occasional ADs for years and it took a big event (parental bereavement) and subsequent year of barely getting out of bed and then counselling to make significant progress out of it.

    Facing the scary stuff is…erm…scary.

    That said, healthy lifestyle in the clichéd ways (diet, exercise, not too much booze, reducing stress etc) help more than you might think, and having people and things (passions, not stuff) in your life that you love is massive (obvs).

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper

    I’ve had a really tough time over the last 2 years, far too much to go into details here! Been through the meds and counselling routes and neither really helped, they just masked the issues. Slowly finding out what works and what doesn’t for me, re-connecting with old hobbies is the current experiment. One thing I had to do was to figure out who in my life was a good friendship and who wasn’t, has meant disconnecting from a few people but my now smaller social circle is much more positive for me now.

    I seem to need a decent amount of ‘me’ time, whether that’s a gentle ride out on the bike, in the gym or just doing nothing. Currently on a bit of a downward spiral, due to various things, but I know I can do a few things to try and pull me out of it so it’s not freefall yet. A session at the local kart track on Wednesday put a halt to the fall but work stuff has started the downward spiral again since then. Just had a binge on a load of chocolate, felt good for a few minutes but now I’m regretting it to put it mildly!! Family time tomorrow, a gym visit then bike time on Sunday. Hopefully that will turn the tide.

    Ps turn off your phone and stop going on the internet is some of the best advice i was given.
    Also don’t worry about the past (its gone), or the future (it hasn’t happened). I’m trying this at the moment.

    My two biggest issues. Really struggle to let go of my past and find it too easy to hide behind a keyboard. Yes, I get the irony. Although half of my current social network I’ve met via online in one way or another so it’s not all bad!

    Premier Icon ampthill

    Well sorry a read. Book by the people who proved mindfulness is a effective treatment

    Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world

    Premier Icon tjagain

    I am a huge fan of counselling. There are many different schools of counselling – different ones work for different people. the key thing is the relationship between the counselor and the counsellee so be prepared to shop around.

    Fresh air, exercise, exposure to sunlight is good. The best thing many folk can do for their mental health is to cycle to work. You get your daily exercise, you get the cruicial exposure to sunlight ( most of the year), the exercise burns up the stress hormones

    Some very simple things that can help. Walk round the block at lunchtime at work. I particularly like Ernies suggestion a while ago – go for a walk at look at the skyline not at your feet. this has multiple benefits. You see things you would not otherwise ( often of great beauty), you get the light on your face, you get the exercise and the very act of looking up not down changes your outlook

    These simple measures are not the cure – but they help

    also look into vitamin supplementation. I always used to be against it but taking vit d has transformed me ( I had very low levels)


    It’s bloody difficult, I often wonder what the point is as the brain is so so good at dwelling and causing misery. I’m mid thirties now and genuinely thought why can’t people snap out of it until it gets you. Pretty much everything affects me from have I chosen the right life partner, constantly thinking of grass is greener type situations. What will we do if we can never afford a house will I genuinely end up on the streets, as the council don’t even have accommodation for families. My job urgghhh is there an industry is pointless as print just endless landfill. Then just the usual crap of endless pension paperwork, what do I do with it. My wife cleaning the house until there is no paint. Never getting around to selling the clutter. The best bit though, most people seem pretty content with life. Okay I’ve got some friends who have it shit, but most seem content.

    Funnily enough, the same video popped up in my news feed this morning too.

    I won’t go in to my circumstances as there is probably too much to cover!

    I tried counseling but it wasn’t for me. That isn’t knocking it, I just didn’t take anything from it.
    I tried AD’s and they just made me feel as if I was sleepwalking through the day.
    (No disrespect intended if either of the above work for others)

    What has worked…
    Stopping trying to compare my life to that of my friends and peers.
    Going on long walks in the woods with the dogs.
    Going hillwalking, camping and bothying and just taking in my surroundings.
    Cutting out all alcohol.
    Cutting crap out of my diet.
    Taking vitamin supplements.
    When my kids are with me, ensuring I spend quality time with them rather than just spending time (their favourite family pastime is a family session at the skatepark!).
    Limiting social media and online time – reading books instead.
    Have just started with a mindfulness app which seems quite good so far.


    What vitamins are people taking? I’m currently using a drug called Pregabalin which my GP gave me as I couldn’t use sertraline and sleeping tablets were just a fix to mask a problem.

    They are pretty good just slowed me down enough, whether that was placebo or not. I think they are having less of an effect now though.

    Also de cluttering is my advice, we al, own far too much crap. Sell it

    Haven’t watched the vid yet, I’ll get onto it when the kids are asleep.

    These have worked for me:

    Accepting the docs diagnosis.
    Counselling to unpack lots of issues.
    Exercise – especially biking in company.

    Alongside all this I’ve found it vital to make an effort to be with friends, either just having a blether or getting out on the bike.


    @tails a multivitamin high in vits D, B1, B2, B3, B6 & B12.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    This subject is basically what my company does, and something I write about frequently.

    Not sure how good I am at it, but it’s made me consciously value and prioritise some of the things I was already doing. As others have said, mainly making time for bike rides, time in nature etc.

    One change has been making more effort to reconnect and spend time with friends, after recommending others do it but realising I’ve been a bit crap at it myself.

    This video is worth a watch…

    Premier Icon tjagain

    I tried counseling but it wasn’t for me. That isn’t knocking it, I just didn’t take anything from it.

    As above -there are many schools of counselling and what suits one person may not suit another and also the relationship between the counselor and you is the single most critical aspect. I suspect you had the wrong type or a counsellor you didn’t click with. Maybe not but maybe. Or you were not ready to engage?

    TJ, I clicked well enough with my counsellor and was certainly ready to engage. I just benefited more from having conversations with friends and family and working things through myself.
    To each there own though and I don’t doubt that it works for others.

    Premier Icon tjagain

    Vitamins – I take high dose ( but not stupidly high) Vt D and a general multivit

    I had been tested as very low vit D. I was tested because of some odd symptoms including fatigue and night sweats and low vit D was the only thing found. Trouble is the symptoms I had were vague and the recovery hard to quantify – so how much is real and how much in my head is very difficult for me to know

    this is a great read (well i thought so) that some may find helps them (it definitely connected with me and my own depression) it starts about a 1/4 of the way down page the depression thoughts.

    hopefully it might be of some help to someone.

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