In recent weeks I have had horrible, can’t-stand-up-straight stomach aches, an eye twitch, aching neck and back muscles, increase and decrease of appetite, headaches, diarrhoea, anxiety attacks, nightmares – all because of stress and anxiety.
I was burning myself out by putting too much on my to-do list everyday, and worrying that I still wasn’t doing enough. As soon as I gave myself a break (albeit from being too sad to believe that there was any point in even trying), I started to feel a bit better. I’ve also started a low dose of Sertraline after an appointment with my GP because I simply couldn’t bare the symptoms of my anxiety anymore.
To help myself further I bought Sane New World by Ruby Wax. I knew of Ruby’s work in mental health because of the Frazzled Cafe she set up with Marks & Spencer, which is a charity that provides a safe place for people to talk about their mental health.
The book is easy to read, funny, informative, but mostly, thoughtful. I love how reflective Ruby is, not only about herself but our society as a whole. It’s absolutely full of wisdom, but here are some of the quotes that I made sure to mark in my copy of the book as I read it:
“We are simply not equipped for the 21st Century.”
We really aren’t! The world has evolved so much quicker than we have.
“Excessive chemicals eventually inhibit your immune system making you vulnerable to viruses of every shape and size. They will lower the production of serotonin and can eventually, if they remain virulent, cause heart disease, hardening of the arteries, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Inadvertently stress will destroy you both mentally and physically unless you change the way you think about it and relate to it.”
It’s insane how much stress can affect your health, and that we are not really taught about it? I suppose you learn the basics in biology but I think that learning about mindfulness and the mental and physical affects of stress would have helped me hugely as a teenager.
“If you are cruel and spiteful, you’ll become expert at getting every crueller and more spiteful. If you practice being compassionate, you’ll become more compassionate. That’s how our brains work; the way we think or feel determines our wiring and what chemicals are coursing through our veins.”
No wonder I have become my own worst enemy, as I have been practising been the harshest I can possibly be to myself for many years. I was my bully, when really I should have been my friend.
“We limit ourselves by believing we’re born a certain way and we’ll always remain that way.”
That’s certainly one of the things that my depression likes to tell me – that nothing will ever change because I’ve always been a loser and I’ve always been a terrible, shitty person. That does not have to be my reality.
“If you do things simply for gaining more cash, fame, status, power or an A+, misery or madness lie in your path.”
Something that I struggle with HUGELY in regards to my writing!
“Everything changes all the time, from the volatility of quantum particles to every cell in our nervous system. Even our consciousness, probably located in our prefrontal cortex, is updated five to eight times a second. Thoughts come and go like each breath we take; they come, disperse and disappear.”
This sort of terrified me and excited me simultaneously. It made me think that every moment is an opportunity for change (however overwhelming that can sometimes feel).
“You’re always in a state of ‘becoming’. There is no point in grabbing onto anything – people, money, clothes, stuff. No point. There is no safety anywhere because everything is the unknown.”
Even if we were to achieve all of our dreams, we would still want more – it is what we are designed to do. On my good days, I feel hopeful that I can at least enjoy the journey towards my ideal life, my ‘becoming’.
Do you have any book recommendations for me? Or any mental health-esque reads that you think I should try? Let me know in the comments!