The 4 questions that led me to my mantra

This has slowly become one of my most common phrases I say to anyone having a bad day and a phrase I quite often have to remind myself of.

It originally started with a friend who suffers with mild depression, she was going through a bad time and would ring me daily, sometimes in tears. Knowing I had gone through my fair share of anxiety issues myself, she felt she could lean on me, and thought I could give her advise. I tried telling her my anxiety was very different to what she is going through and wasn’t entirely sure what I could do to help.

I got to thinking one day on my hour long drive home from work, stuck in the usual rush hour traffic, what could I do to help. I realised that my lack of knowledge of depression didn’t matter, and she wasn’t asking me to give her coping techniques, she was asking, in a desperate plea, for help to cope with the immense emotions she was feeling. I tried to think back to my worst times, tried to put myself as best I could in her shoes and asked myself the following questions:

What emotions did I feel?
Was I feeling anger? sadness? frustration? loneliness? worthlessness? scared?… the answer was yes, I was, and all at the same time. I didn’t know where to turn, what to do, who to ask for help. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. These are all similar feelings she was going through. Maybe I do have more in common with her I thought.

What actions came from those emotions?
I became demotivated, exhausted and my self-esteem dived to the deepest depths. I secluded myself from my friends and family, avoided anything that made me feel slightly uncomfortable, and most upsetting, I stopped doing the things that I once loved.

How did I overcome my darkest days?
It was actually my mum who pulled me out of the deep dark rabbit holes I had spiraled down. She would always tell me, ‘think positively’. Every damn day. She didn’t play into my hands when I was looking for sympathy, she would simply say, ‘well think positively, it’s no good thinking negatively as that’ll get you nowhere’. At the time, this was the last thing I needed, as I genuinely wanted some sympathy, maybe a hug or two,  but in the long run, this was what helped me to resurface and breath again.

Looking back, what advise would I give to myself?
Looking back now, I can see that I was the only one who determined whether it was a good day or a bad day. Only I had the power to mentally prepare myself for each days events and take control of my anxiety rather than letting the anxiety control me. Only I had the power to make it a positive day.

All of a sudden, I realised this was the conversation I needed to have with my friend. I needed to tell her that I don’t know what she is going through, but what I would do when I was feeling low. So the next time she rang, I told her only she had the power to make it a positive day. It is her choice, she can take that depression by the horns and throw it in the bin, think about the positive things you have going on in your life and focus on those, only those.

That’s the story of #ThePositivelyWeirdMantra.