I previously mentioned how I was diagnosed with depression last year, and I wanted to talk about something that has really helped me in times when I find myself getting anxious or very stressed: coloring.
different people experience anxiety & depression in different ways. I find that my anxiety contributes to my depression, and I’ve learned in the past several months how to calm myself down to a more relaxed state. when I’m anxious, I withdraw and lose myself in my own thoughts. my mind will run at a million miles a minute as I work through whatever I’m anxious about and run through all the different scenarios in my head of possible outcomes. it’s overwhelming and exhausting. what’s ironic is that because my mind is on overdrive, I find it impossible to articulate what it is I’m anxious about. james often asks me what’s wrong or how he can help when he sees me stressed & withdrawn, but I find myself unable to give voice to the infinite number of loops going on in my head, which of course contributes to the anxiety, which then accelerates the loop in my head…and so on and so forth. I’ve found that coloring helps me to come out of that loop. I think the focus it takes to concentrate on choosing a color and staying within the lines forces me to just think about this one thing, instead of the thousands of other things. everything else gets pushed to the background and after a little while, I find that I’ve calmed down enough. I’m sure that there’s some scientific explanation for it all, but I just know it relaxes me.
it’s funny how something we did as children can be so helpful, but now that I think about it, wasn’t coloring something that helped us as kids, too? it was more than just a fun past time – it gave us a task to focus on, and focusing on something so minute & detailed gave us a sense of calm purpose.
p.s. this coloring book is all sorts of awesome. great for adults & kids.
p.p.s. mental illness is different for everyone. please know that I am not a physician or an expert on mental illness and that I am not prescribing any form of therapy for anyone. I am sharing what I find helpful for me, in hopes that talking about my personal experience is comforting and helpful to some of you, but please always talk to your physician about your own experience.