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    I have been very keen to get back to the subject of mental health for which I have been quiet the past couple of weeks. This week, in fact, I was home most of the time, unwell with a tummy bug. In these moments when i am not feeling well, my depression and anxiety seem to flare up a bit. Thankfully, I am back on my feet today, had a decent gym session and am ready to sit down and do a little writing.

    In all honesty, I wish I could dedicate more time to writing. Both about mental health and other topics that I enjoy. However, from all my endeavors, this little website of mine, although my pride and joy, will never pay the bills. So I need to be realistic and only write when I can fit it in. Shame. Maybe one day it will be different.

    I am really looking forward to taking you through the next stage of my journey. Tell you more about my past and how it affected my future. However, today I thought as a stepping stone to the next chapter, I would give out useful information for people, who like me, are mental health sufferers. For the longest time I had no idea regarding the maintenance required and good habits and routines you must adapt to sustain good mental health.

    Thankfully, over the past ten years or so, I have come to learn a lot about the things that help me and the things that have been derailing my quest. I understand it can be different from person to person. But in saying that, these are the things that have worked for me, and perhaps they can work for you. Even if you do not suffer from any mental health problems, adopting some of these life skills or characteristics may help you keep a sound mind for years to come.


    DON’T HATE YOURSELF. For me this is the most important of the lot. And something that has affected me greatly over the years. For the longest time, I just felt I wasn’t good enough. I hated my appearance, the fact that I have struggled with weight issues and always felt I was ugly. It hurt me a lot, and till this day I still struggle with it from time to time. BUT, remember this, we are all different and beautiful in our own different ways. If you take away the incessant pressure from the material world, you very easily CAN love yourself. And you should.

    STOP WORRYING WHAT OTHERS THINK. This can be a real killer. And can really bring you down. As per above, the only person you need approval from is YOU. In the grand scale of things, what others think makes absolutely no difference to your life whatsoever. And once you really and truly believe this you will find a far higher level of internal peace.

    DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CANNOT CONTROL. This was and still is a problem for me. But I have become much better at controlling it. I used to worry so much about “what if’s” and had a tendency to be thinking five steps ahead of where I need to be. And it was a really unhealthy habit. This is not to tell you not to be conscious of your environment or the things around you. But stop worrying about things that haven’t happened or are out of your control. Like for example, you find mole on your arm and you start worrying that it may be cancerous. There is no point in this. And no need to worry. You are thinking only of the worst case scenario. Only worry when you genuinely have something to worry about, not when something “might” happen.

    STOP ALL SUBSTANCE ABUSE. I’ll openly admit, that from time to time over the years I had my issues with drug and alcohol abuse. Thankfully those days are far behind me. We all like a good time, but if you are suffering from mental health problems, you cannot afford to live that lifestyle. Simple as that. In my worst days, excessive abuse sent me spinning down the rabbit hole quick fast. My anxiety elevated to critical proportions and was subsequently followed by severe bouts of depression. Ever since cutting all that stuff, I have been much, much better. I know some of these habits are hard to quit, but trust me, you will be the better for it.

    THE DO’S

    LOVE YOURSELF, LOVE YOURSELF, LOVE YOURSELF. This is so important I could write a two thousand word article just repeating these two words. You may not believe me when I say this, but you deserve to love yourself. Be proud of who you are, no matter what character you have. You may think you are not worthy of love, bullshit. You absolutely are one hundred percent worthy of love. I guarantee it. You need to learn to love yourself, be nice to yourself and take care of yourself. It is critically important.

    FIND TIME TO MEDITATE. I’ll be honest with you, at first I thought this was utter rubbish, but I quickly learnt just how key it was to finding my balance. Meditation can be done in many ways. You don’t have to automatically become a monk, head to the hills and abstain from sex for the rest of your life. No, that would be extreme. But you do need to allocate time every day to find some peace. Get on the internet or Spotify and find some relaxing meditation music. And take twenty minutes of your day, every day, to find a quiet room, preferably dark, to lie down, listen to your meditation music and breath. Trust me, when I don’t do it for long periods of time, I can feel myself getting more and more stressed. I even listen to my meditation music now, when I am writing, or when I am doing admin work at the office. Get meditating immediately.

    TAKE THE TIME TO BREATHE. As with during your meditation, learning how to breathe for relaxation is vitally important. I have found the 4-7-8 method to be the most helpful and it is really simple. The method is as follows:

    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
    • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
    • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
    • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

    DO CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS. You know when I realised this about my own life I couldn’t believe it. I have achieved many great things. Both with regards to family life and my respective careers. But if I am to be completely honest with you, I have never taken any satisfaction from those achievements. And I really should have. I would be really harsh with myself about things I failed to achieve, but then almost ignore totally the great things I did achieve. It was crazy, and I didn’t even realise I was doing it. Make sure to embrace and celebrate every achievement in your life. And celebrate it with your loved ones. There is nothing better in life.

    AND LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST, SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. My latest therapist, who I have been with for some time now, has really been amazing for me. I admit, it took me a long time to admit I needed help. I felt to get help was a weakness I was not willing to show. How ignorant and silly I was. Seeking help was the best decision I have ever made. I wasn’t always happy with my therapist, BUT it always helped me. Now I have found a therapist that I am really comfortable with and we are making extremely good progress. I improve session on session. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to seek help. Don’t make the mistakes I made. Do it immediately. And don’t be afraid to try different options or therapists. Just keep on trying. Do not feel embarrassed that you are seeking help, like any other disease, mental health is not a weakness and it’s certainly not your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

    I have actually only given what I believe to be the most important do’s and don’ts in this article. I could go into more detail, but that would have made this article drawn out and rather long. I can always make some further suggestions another time.

    I hope you find these helpful. I would like to clarify that we are all different. And may have different needs regarding the maintaining of our mental health. But I am pretty confident that the above can only be helpful in your quest to find a more balanced life. We only have one life, so let’s try and get ourselves away from struggling and pushing towards enjoying.

    Please feel free to ask me any questions or make any suggestions in the comments section below this article. Let us share our experiences and healing. Let’s not keep it all bottled up, but talk about it. The more we do, as I always say, the better chance we have to break down the wall surrounding mental health which will only lead to a better situation for generations to come. As always, thanks for listening.

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    1. Kathleen

      Thanks for this… It really helps reading familiar feelings and thoughts… Sometimes I think I’m the only one that feels bad. World carries on like a bus dosent wait for no one, I feel like I’m never on that bus, I miss it each and every time and when I do eventually catch up no one is on the bus but inside and I am the one looking through the window outside.

      1. davidoziborg

        Hey there. Thanks for sharing. I know how you feel. I hope you ate doing all the “do’s” above. All you can do is keep trying. And make add much time as you can for yourself.

    2. Keith

      Gold.. can relate and agree.. would add physical activity in the do s.
      Thanks for sharing mate.

      1. davidoziborg

        Thanks for your comment. 100% exercise is also a key “do’ in my book. Helps me immensely.

    3. Kylee

      This is beautiful David. Honest and real. I work with young people on a difficult journey with their mental health and I hope it’s ok but I’d love to share your article with them? Proud of you buddy, you’re unreal. Kylee from Drummoyne public School!

      1. davidoziborg

        Wow. There is a name blast from the past… Great to hear from you Kylee. And thank you for the comments. I would be honored if you could share it with as many people as you can. The goal here is just to get the word out to as many people as possible. I remember the days I used to suffer in silence and think that no one understood. The more people that realise that to be unlikely, the better. Keep in touch.

    4. Katherine

      Very true. Well done 👍🏼

      Congratulations and May you continue your inner journey safely, joyfully.

      God Bless

      1. davidoziborg

        Thank you for your kind words… And sorry for the delay in replying.

    5. Liz

      Could you please add this. That it is vital to be very, very careful about joining any groups on social media. Even the ones that are supposed to be moderated to screen out horrible people can’t get it 100% right. My advice would be to avoid doing joining any of these groups. The day before yesterday I deleted 2 community groups from facebook and two groups for vulnerable people. Name calling had started in two of them. one was a community group and the other for vulnerable people. My body can’t control stress hormones very well and the feelings of stress from dealing with these horrible immature people lasted for 3days. It has just about gone now.

      1. davidoziborg

        Sorry for the delay Liz, and thanks for adding this. Much appreciated.


      Well said. Hits close to home

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