• Tom Robinson

How I am rediscovering my true self and why flowers have a positive effect on my mood

It’s been another week of mental health news and press, some of which has been difficult to document because it’s meant that I’ve had to revisit some distressing and upsetting moments from the past.


Writing about some of these complicated topics can be quite shocking, but it’s also essential because I’m covering so many important issues and problems that need highlighting, addressing and discussing.


I’m trying my best to do this in an honest and truthful way but I realise that it may be upsetting for some, which is why I try to include some less brutal stuff in between.


Today I’m making a quick post before I go and ride out at the racing yard down the road. I have been working in racing part-time since last November, but the recent restrictions meant an enforced break because with point to pointing not being classed as a professional sport it meant that there were less horses to exercise.


Pointing is restarting this week coming though, so now I’m back to riding out most mornings. The body does not stand up to it as easily as it used to, but I am determined to reclaim full physical fitness so am pushing on through the pain!


Bipolar disorder (especially the depression side of it) had ravaged me both mentally and physically and this is why life expectancy is so significantly reduced for those with a BPD diagnosis - It’s absolutely impossible to look after yourself because you have months and years ripped out of your life where you are unable to leave your bed let alone the house. The crippling bouts of depression make exercising impossible as you have zero energy for anything except clinging on to life, meaning that the body gets neglected and damaged.


Fortunately, now that I am in remission, I am able to look after myself through riding, walking up the hills nearby and eating healthily. I now want to look after myself because I want to live whereas before I wanted to die in every waking moment, and I was completely unable to look after myself.


Now that I am finally better, I am noticing subtle things that I would never have paid any attention to previously, like snowdrops, daffodils and tiny buds on trees - little demonstrations of life regenerating this spring.


Last weekend Ellie Harrison mentioned on the Sunday programme Countryfile that looking at flowers releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, so yesterday I went out and picked some daffodils and put them in the kitchen! I'll try anything if it has a positive effect on my mental health!


I mentioned in an earlier post that I am taking pleasure out of little things like watching the bulbs that I planted last autumn, springing up and coming to life in the garden.


I was never really interested in gardening before, but I'm now finding out who I really am again now that I’ve finally emerged out of the other side of this horrific battle - I’m older yet I've not had that natural progression of change and new interest that comes with the normal stages of growing up.


I hated and resented anything and everything for most of the last twenty years, and having completely lost interest in my former career, it turns out that I do like horses and riding after all - it’s part of who I fundamentally am as a person.


I’d completely lost all of that side of my identity, personality and character, but now that I’m better I’m rediscovering all my passions again. I am also someone who loves reading and writing, speaking French, anything about the human mind and it would appear that I am now a gardener too!


When I can, I am going to buy some more bulbs for the garden - I’m more interested in planting flowers than anything else, especially now that I know that they help the brain to release dopamine!


I found quite a nice article about flowers and their positive effect on mood on the Psychology Today site which discusses other benefits and feel good chemicals which I have attached here.


I have also added a short and interesting video about the benefits of flowers to the home page.


As usual I will be having a break from writing about mental health tomorrow for the sake of my own mental health, but I will be back on Monday with more mental health / illness and well-being informative and educational insights!


Thanks for reading,


Speak to you soon,

TR

www.dyingtostayalive.com