May is mental health month, so what better time to discuss mental health? I personally have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression, and have struggled over the years to be actively aware of my current state in order to treat it properly. GAD sounds like the easy one, but in truth, it means that I worry about literally everything, which in turn has the tendency to make my depression worse.
Medication can be great, but unfortunately, not for me. I seem to function better when I know what I’m facing as opposed to the side effects from the meds I’ve tried. It’s also difficult to meditate, seeing as my brain never wants to slow down. Therapy has helped, but finding a good therapist can be difficult. My basset hound has become my unofficial therapy dog at times, his cuddles getting me through anxiety attacks. Overall, I’ve found that the therapy that works best for me is focus.
Focusing on art projects for my daughter, focusing on cleaning the house and tending the garden, focusing on a new game, and especially, focusing on my crochet. Counting out stitches, calculating patterns, and even photographing finished projects forces me to focus. Focusing on something that gives me joy forces me to spend less effort thinking about whatever is triggering my current state of anxiety. The care put into each project improves my mental health, and makes me a happier person in the long run.
I’m in no way a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, but after years of dealing with my own diagnoses, I’ve found and embraced the therapy that works best for me. If you’re struggling with your mental health, there’s no shame in reaching out for help! Everyone is different; there is no cookie-cutter method to better mental health. I encourage you to find what works best for you, and hopefully live a happier life for doing it.