Mental Health – Fuck the Black Dog, Be a bastard Rhino

Here’s the black dog video people talk about fairly often:

Apparently 1/4 people suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lives. I think that’s rubbish, and I’d say if you count mild and moderate depression & anxiety as a problem, it’s more like 9/10 people.  Even those people that seem really happy, are often dependent on a high level of conspicuous consumption and showing off to reinforce their self esteem and ultimately their sense of wellbeing.

So, if you have a mental health problem, from speaking to people in various jobs and social circles, I’d definitely say that you’re not alone.  I was pretty depressed myself about 10 years ago after graduating with a first class degree, a Master’s degree and zero confidence or communication skills.

I ended up stuck working in a hotel gym where people treated me like absolute shyte, I spent my time either sat behind a desk, cleaning or getting grief from members and hotel guests. I even had to wear a doorbell, so that I could be summoned in the gym if required – whilst I was off cleaning hotel rooms etc.  Add to that the pressure from family members to get a good job, it was all a bit crap. Oh yea, I regularly had to pull tampons out of the ladies’ toilets too, joy.

What doesn’t help is people telling you to ‘sort yourself out’ or snap out of it.  

That’s like a football coach telling a kid to stop being shit at football. It just makes things worse. Specific feedback, practices, and ways of looking and interpreting things help, not small minded off the cuff remarks.

I found it’s not the actual thoughts and immediate mental effects that got to me so much, but the physical effects – aching muscles, painful lethargy, headaches and IBS (from anxiety presumably).  

So I know it’s rubbish have depression and anxiety, but don’t picture a black, saggy labrador following you around.  In my opinion, that won’t help.  It can be somewhat self-defeating.  Which doesn’t help, especially if you suffer from learned-helplessness.  It’s important that people are happy – happy people tend to be nice, helpful and a joy to be around, whilst stressed out people, and sometimes depressed people, can be mean to themselves, and sometimes to others.  Bit of a generalisation, but if you’re depressed and have zero energy, it is tricky to go ‘above and beyond’ for friends etc.

There are people with severe mental health problems and conditions that may not be able to help themselves too much, and research suggests that around 50% of all our ‘happiness levels’ are genetic

so if you’re unlucky with the genetic lottery, and environmental factors don’t go your way either, it can be difficult, but most of us can definitely take steps to improve our happiness levels.  I encourage anyone with mild to moderate mental health problems, to make a plan, get into a good routine, and fuck the black dog right off.

Here are my tips, for what they’re worth; it’s all about creating positive habits & ways of thinking:

DIET DIET DIET

Changing my diet, cutting out all the crap sports supplements, dairy and wheat, made a HUGE difference to my energy levels.  I’ll come back to this, but diet is key!

 

The Law of non-judgement

Radiate love, not hate.

You can’t think or say negative or positive things at the same time.

Choose positive!

This is old school, I believe it says in the Bible something like ‘never mind the black speck in my eye, first remove the log from your own‘ – meaning don’t be a hypercritical bellend.

Remember that all societies, have good and bad people, and if the bad people in your own society aren’t running around with guns shooting people, then you’re quite lucky.

Remember too that people are just a product of their genetics and their upbringings,
and although they do make decisions along the way – we are all programmed to take the ‘path of least resistance’ (as it’s most logical) unless our parents drill it into us that the easy way, is not the best way.

I see so many people waste their time being angry about others, and quite often, to be honest, the people who complain the most, are massive bellends themselves.
This is the best time to be alive since civilizations were created. Fewer diseases, fewer things to kill you, working class own their own houses, no World Wars at the moment that we are all drafted into…look back 100, 200, 300 years and people and society were more unfair, and people, were not as noble as the films etc would have you believe. If you’re biggest problem is the way someone spoke to you, or somebody having bad manners, it’s really pretty stupid.

Try not to expect people to live up to your ideals of right and wrong and the less you judge and speak about other people; the less you will worry what others think of you.

 

Read a Good Book or Listen to Book Summaries / Audio Books on Audible


I’m currently reading ‘change your thinking with CBT’, and so far it’s pretty awesome. Just by reading through, and writing down a few bits, it changes your thought processes completely. When you get angry and depressed, it’s not a logical thought process, you instinctively just feel a certain way and think certain thoughts – but that’s easy to change.

It’s really easy and effective. Reading about ‘acceptance’ is also key, and that happy people are often really flexible and NOT controlling.  Expect and accept inconveniences, plans being cancelled etc. and just roll with it all, and you’ll be a lot happier.  Accept change, don’t try and control people and situations, and don’t put too much value in things you’ve bought. Finally, accept that life comes with uncertainty about the future, again, don’t try and control it.

In general, I’d say read a good book. Have one on the go at all times, on philosophy, Buddhism, self-help; whatever – just something related to self-help and personal development. Dale Carnegie’s books How To Stop Worrying and Start Living and How to Win Friend’s and Influence people are two of the best to start with.

Here’s an excellent video too:

 

Meditation

Proven in dozens of studies to help focus, productivity and happiness.
Try 10 minutes a day:

Diet & Exercise


If you eat rubbish, you will feel rubbish.
Personally I found that cutting out dairy made a huge difference to me physically and in turn mentally.  I stopped using inhalers for asthma, and for the first time ever, I could actually breathe through my nose. I still get issues with sinusitis, but I’m getting there – cutting out sugar completely is the next step.
Again, it’s all about habits. If you can eat healthy foods for a month, you will start to crave healthy foods, and automatically want to eat healthy foods. If you can do 10 minutes of exercise for a few weeks every other day, the habit will become ingrained and you will ‘go to it’ automatically.

There’s also a big link between gut flora and mental health and even autism.  Eat probiotic foods and/or supplement with a probiotic.

 

Wim Hof


I’ve started doing the Wim Hof Method for the last 2 weeks, and also drinking apple cider vinegar to alkalise my body to an additional level.  Wim Hof is a mental Dutch bloke:

 

Gratitude


Write down 3 things everyday that you’re grateful for.
Try not to just write them down actually – surround them with positive text like ‘it’s amazing that…., I’m so lucky that…’ and listen to the lego song:

So to summarise, don’t give in to depression or anxiety.  Do your best to adopt some positive habits – the hardest part is starting and getting these habits going – once you’ve been doing them a few weeks, it’s easy.

Finally, if this all sounds a bit like hard work, there is a rising body of scientific and anecdotal evidence supporting the use of psychedelic drugs:

obviously at your own risk…just don’t give up, and think you can’t do anything to help yourself, because you have the ‘black dog’.

Finally…
Have a look at the TED talks, and also read up on biohacking…instead of wasting time eating crap food and watching TV, try and continue to improve physically and mentally on an ongoing basis…

Once you get into these positive habits, and see some positive results, you’ll be hooked.
Write a plan for the week, and implement that plan
e.g.
Monday
Morning
Wim Hof first thing in the morning
Evening
Meditate 10 mins
Write down 3 things I am grateful for
Read CBT book for 20 minutes

Do it, do it now! :

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About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. Aspiring hippy/Buddhist, most of the time.
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