Nickname: Solène (Not very original, as you can see!)
My Blog: Solenevangout.com – I call it my little corner, but it’s not an official name!
I’ve fiercely survived: anxiety, lack of purpose, depression, loneliness.
My favorite mantra: I AM here, right now.
When did you first realize you were struggling with anxiety and depression? What was your first line of action when it came to conquering it?
A little bit over a year and a half ago. Day after day, I was stuck in bed with no desire to get up whatsoever. The world was looking darker and darker – quite literally. I was feeling this deep sadness in me, and my mind felt like a dark cloud looming over me. Heavier and heavier each day. I couldn’t really articulate what was going on, but it just did not feel right. It did not feel like me. I was crying more and more during the day for no reason, and feeling increasingly lonely in my pain. It felt like a relief to put a name to what I was feeling. At least now I know! I’ve been sad before, but this deep-soul-shaking sadness was new to me. I realized that I was crying more and more, that I was less and less joyful and smiley. I was only smiling for others, and as soon as my back was turned, the smile was gone.
My first step was to sit down with myself and ask: “What is going for real, Solène?” I literally had honest and open conversations with myself over time. I begin journaling to try and make sense of the mess that was on my mind. The whole process was about identifying what triggered this sadness and depression as well as my role in it. But patience is not my forte, so I had to work on the fact that this is a process, a journey. I won’t get better overnight, it requires time and patience! And the horizon is bright.
I also have to admit that starting my website was part of my healing process. I created a space where I am able to write freely about any and everything I have in mind without having to filter myself.
What does your anxiety and depression look and feel like?
My anxiety and depression are paralyzing. I am overwhelmed with a flow of thoughts, most of them bad of course, and it paralyzes me. I don’t want to move, I don’t feel like I can move and I feel my whole body stuck, while my mind is rushing downwards. Then comes the external symptoms: shortness of breath, cold sweat, palpitations… a delight really!
They are like this invisible force pushing me into inaction.
How do you prioritize your mental-health? What are a few wellness tools or practices you use to manage your mental-health?
Before prioritizing it, I acknowledge it. It was new for me to pay attention to my mental health. I first had to acknowledge that it was necessary. Once I’ve done that, I set boundaries. Clear and firm around what I need to stay mentally sane from now on. Anyone refusing to respect my boundaries can not stay around for too long. It is not easy but LORD is it helpful!
Managing my mental health is now something I really enjoy doing! Now, I meditate, I journal, I exercise regularly, and I laugh! I also bought a few stones and incense to help my mind calm down a little bit. Finally, I pay more and more attention to the moon and stars and all of that. I noticed that this has an impact on my mood and energies, so I am being careful!
How did or do your loved ones react to your mental-health?
Because I was more the listener for the people around me, it was actually hard for me to share my mental-health with them. I felt like it was a burden for them. Some were not used to hearing me talk about sadness, pain and loneliness, so it was difficult to manage for them. They didn’t necessarily know how to handle it/me. I also had to cut some loved one loose because of the new boundaries I set for myself. It’s not always easy, but sometimes necessary. Luckily, my struggles resonated in others so they understood and were able to give me support and advice. I’m grateful for them!
Share one piece of advice for someone in the thick of their mental-health journey:
Listen to yourself. You have so many more answers than you think you do! Sit down with yourself, be honest, and listen.