Man oh man, this year has only been three weeks long, and I can't stress enough how awakening its felt. I moved to a new city, forcing me to focus more on my blogging goals and less on my surroundings, and helping me realize how my group of friends in my old city was severely affecting my mental health.
The problem with your surroundings is that you have nothing else to compare it to, and if it's toxic, you won't know until it could be too late.
When I left Tampa and everyone in it, I felt a total sense of relief. For those of you who have "taken all your stuff and left," I'm sure you can relate, but it's not that easy for everyone. We have homes, families, and life factors that tie us to our cities, and sometime's it's hard to move on and out. Looking back, I realized that some of my habits weren't normal, and I was actually very depressed.
Here are some ways your mental health is being affected by people or surroundings, why It's Important to recognize these habits in order to get yourself out of your funk and live a better quality life.
1. You're Always Sleeping
People I would consider close friends would only reach out to me if they needed something, or if they wanted to go out on weekends, and it made me feel mentally and physically tired. My job felt like a job, and as soon as I clocked in I wanted to clock out. I didn't feel any real connection with anyone, and whenever I met someone who I thought could be a friend, they would betray my trust or end up being two-faced. Slowly I felt like I was starting to just give up on everything.
For months I would spend countless hours sleeping. I slept in every morning, and if I could go to bed early I would. On what I considered "busy" days I would have to take a nap in between to get through the day. I was drinking coffee and taking Vitam B12 for energy, and no matter what happened I couldn't bring myself to feel any "umph."
From a physiological standpoint, depression is a prolonged stress response which leads to fatigue, this is called psychomotor retardation. What this means is that every action can feel exhausting, and even the thought of doing any actions can exhaust you as well. If you feel this way, your body is completely zapped of energy because you've been under this sort of stress for so long.
What to try: Meditation, Yoga, Massages, Relaxing Music While Working or Driving or Falling asleep.
2. Your Weight is Constantly Fluctuating:
Good days with friends means your favorite meals. You are enjoying alcohol, overindulging in food, and taking an extra slice of that pizza. Are you eating to feel full, or are you eating to feel happy? I found myself doing this because when I was in the company of people I considered friends, I would eat, but if I was home I couldn't bring myself to eat. Some days I would eat once, some days I would skip meals because I just wasn't hungry.
If you've lost the joy in food, or have lost your appetite, or if you're overeating comfort foods and gaining weight uncontrollably because you can't stop eating, this may be a sign of depression. A new study in the journal Obesity confirms that high levels of stress and depression make it tough to drop pounds and stick to effective weight-loss strategies. On the flip side, some people may lose weight, as depression zaps appetite.
What to Try: Meal plans, Goals, Gym Time, an Accountability Buddy
3. You can't make up your mind.
We make upwards of 70 conscious decisions every day, Columbia University research shows, and most of them are no-brainers. These decisions range from whether to go to work, what to eat for lunch, or what shoes you're going to wear. Sounds simple enough, right?
When we’re depressed, the ability to make decisions takes a huge hit. Research From Colombia University Shows, "Little things we normally don't think twice about suddenly become weighty decisions."
This is really what made me decide I wasn't going to be in a funk anymore. I realized I was having a hard time making decisions and fluctuation between any and all options presented to me. One day I wanted to conquer the world and the next day I wanted nothing to do with this idea. It was unhealthy and was really holding me back, and no matter what I decided, I never actually felt happy with my decision.
What to Try: Journaling, Planning, Scheduling, Goals, Reading Self-Help and Inspirational Books
My life's journey has been quite an interesting one, and I always felt compelled to show the world the "best side of me." Sometimes it can feel better to cover up and mask your feelings, but it never works in the long run. If you're feeling this way, please talk to someone or a professional to get help. You can also contact me anonymously via TUMBLR
Changing your environment, surroundings, job, or people could help you drastically, even more than you know. Try to pin point what it is that is making you feel in any of these ways and re-adjust yourself. There's nothing wrong with starting over, I mean, that's why we invented Zero, no?
Do you have a story of overcoming mental health and life obstacles? Feel free to share in the comments below!