I would like to share with you how I “Re-Inflated My Life” in what I believe to be a story of Hope.
For those who are new to my website and not quite sure of my story, I have been living with an Acquired Brain Injury, Anxiety, Depression and PTSD for 5 years now.
In relation to Anxiety and Depression, I often felt deflated for several years and needed to find some form of Hope so I could get through this and recover.
So, what does HOPE mean?
Referring to the Oxford dictionary:
- A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
My desire was for anxiety and depression to go away, to cease forever and get rid of it for life.
My expectation was to find a recovery solution that was a one stop, fix all approach…you know the one…quick, easy and effortless.
Well from my experience, it took some time for me to realise such a solution doesn’t exist. In fact, it took me many years to accept that it doesn’t exist and the realisation that approaching my recovery from a holistic perspective was the only way forward. So after further research into the meaning of HOPE, I stumbled across this;
Hold On, Pain Ends…HOPE
I didn’t take these words lightly for I reflected on these for hours and I do mean hours. Something then resonated with me with these words. By placing a comma after Hold On, it made much more sense to me.
“Hold On” – to me this was saying, it’s not a quick and easy solution and therefore discounted my expectation of a quick recovery.
“Pain Ends” – to me this was reassuring that there is HOPE.
So, HOPE in the Michael Weston Dictionary now means;
- My recovery will take time and patience
It was then that I decided to “Re-Inflate My Life”.
I’m the type of person that needs to know the big picture before I can commence anything. In this case, I needed to know more about Anxiety and Depression. I was to learn that my emotions and feelings played a big part in why I experienced Anxiety and Depression.
Knowing this, I decided to relate my feelings and emotions with balloons…now stay with me I’m not crazy! Maybe just a little bit…
I then went onto designing a process / program called “Re-Inflate Your Life”(™) that would assist my personal needs.
So, a healthy balloon is inflated and ultimately stays inflated however we all know that balloons can;
- Begin to deflate (Losing Air)
- Can be fully deflated (Lost all air)
- Can begin to over inflate (Too much air)
- Can exceed inflation limits (Explodes)
I found that if I could identify the times when I was starting to deflate or on my way to over inflating then I could intervene through prevention techniques and building resilience. In doing so I am preventing myself from fully deflating or exceeding my inflation limits all together. I’m am very aware that if I am fully deflated or have exceeded my limits then I’m not in a prevention or a resilience mode for I am definitely in recovery mode. Whilst I have many coping strategies in place to overcome and recover, the period of time in which it takes me to recover is significantly long and taxing on my personal health and wellbeing. In short, it can be a major set-back for me personally so I have learnt to stay within my boundaries of what I can control.
So that’s another important part of this process, “What I Can Control”?
I would like to share a couple of diagrams with you to help explain my process in identifying what I can control.
So here we have what I like to call “INFLATION ZONES”. You can see that I have adopted a traffic signal colour configuration and for good reason. Colour codes are a simple reminder to me whether I need to;
- SLOW DOWN’
- PROGRESS FORWARD.
RE-INFLATE YOUR LIFE
This diagram shows a process I use to identify how my mental health and wellbeing is tracking at any time of the day or night. I can apply this whenever I feel that things are not quite right. By looking at this diagram, I can circle all the emotions and feelings that I have at the time and act accordingly.
The key to my recovery success is, I will try to avoid the RED ZONES as much as possible. If I do refer to this process, then I have a much better chance of staying out of the RED ZONES.
I have experienced these RED ZONES and whilst I have the strategies in place to rise above them I choose to stay clear of them.
Now, whilst the GREEN ZONE is my ultimate place of security and comfort, we would not be human if we didn’t have the other emotions outside of the GREEN ZONES.
It’s really important to note that most human beings live between all of these zones but the difference is with a person who hasn’t been diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression as a pose to someone that has, like me, its my ability to RE-INFLATE that can be far more difficult.
I have found that if I personally make a conscious effort to stay bouncing between the GREEN ZONES and the AMBER ZONES, focusing on the PREVENTION Strategies and BUILDING RESILIENCE then I am providing myself with a better chance of living with HOPE…HOLD ON, PAIN ENDS.
I hope I have inspired you to look at your recovery journey or how to build resilience from a different perspective and have a go at Re-Inflating Your Life.