My sister told me the other day that three of her good girlfriends - all in their mid 40's - have recently gone on antidepressants. She seemed a bit taken aback by this and I felt it too. We'd just been having a good honest conversation about how we were feeling right now, and the issues we are dealing with.
Having a tricky brain, getting caught in negative thinking loops, struggling to maintain happy, positive emotions - these things are so very common. Being a human is hard bloody work sometimes.
So many people moving around the world struggling, struggling, struggling within their own heads. It makes my heart ache. I look at people as I drive around in my car and wonder what is going on for them internally. Are they chronically worried about things? Are they fixated on small issues. Are they ruminating over something they have no control over? Are they stuck in the past? Are they fretting about someone else's actions and thoughts? Are they constantly reinforcing negative self-beliefs? Are they stuck? Lost? Is their world flat? Colourless? Miserable?
I've been connected to all of these states at various times. I used to use alcohol as a way to keep myself distracted and 'upbeat' (or so I thought). Now I live sober and never touch alcohol ever - or any other mind altering substance - and so I have been left with a wide open, raw brain.
The elation of early sobriety has waned a little, and although I am still delighted and incredible proud of myself to be living alcohol free, at times I feel glum, low or anxious, I get stuck in negative thinking loops, I get unreasonably angry. At times everything just feels a bit hard work.
But ultimately all of this is a good thing because it has been a real eye opener! I am being forced to really get to know myself. I am being forced to look for other, more effective ways to manage my brain and my emotions. And I have been forced into finding solutions - real, genuine, amazingly effective solutions.
Mindfulness! The wonderful world of spiritual awakening and I'm not even ashamed to use that phrase any more! By listening to so many fantastic teachers and experts in the field of mindfulness and meditation and psychology and spirituality I am managing to stay on top of myself and my busy brain.
I am slowly slowly learning the tools to calm myself down, detach from my thoughts, gain a lovely perspective of the enormity and wonder of this world and my place in it (as opposed to being hooked on a narrow sense of self and a tight grip on my day-in-day-out issues).
It's great!!!! It's bloody great!!! And I so recommend it to everyone.
Love, Mrs D xxx