Headspacer Stories

August 05, 2014

Headspacer Stories

Every month we feature a story from one of our users about their mindfulness practice. In this blog, Elizabeth Regis describes how getting some Headspace helped her on the road to recovery after being diagnosed with clinical depression.

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Twelve years in education, advising teachers and supporting children with emotional and behavioural difficulties eventually took its toll. I woke up one morning after dealing with a particularly heart-wrenching bereavement case of a five year old who had just lost his mother and I thought to myself, actually, I can't 'function' as a human being anymore, let alone fulfil my role as children's 'champion' in preventing these vulnerable youngsters from being excluded from their mainstream schools. In so many cases, the security of their school setting was the child's lifeline, their only chance in life to step away from what was happening to them at home. On reflection, I can't believe I kept going as long as I did, before I crashed and burned.

A diagnosis of clinical depression ensued. I found myself in a 'zombie-like' state for months not being able to lift my head off the pillow, let alone make myself a cup of tea. You may as well have said "Go and climb Everest" it sounded easier than what I was up against. It took over a year before being able to fully function again and begin to take stock, reflecting on my vocational career. Reluctantly I came to the conclusion that I needed to step back completely in order to begin the healing process to full recovery.

That was ten years ago and it has taken me all that time to discover a way to prevent relapses that don't necessarily involve reliance on the NHS. This is when I was first introduced to meditation as a possible aid to calming my scattered, negative, relentlessly self-critical mind. Prof Mark Williams of Oxford University and Dr John Kabat-Zinn in the US have both written brilliant practical publications on mindfulness and relapses in depression. This led me to attend a local Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR) devised by Kabat-Zinn. It was really helpful at the time but once the eight weeks were up, I found it incredibly difficult to keep my mindfulness practise going and we were on our own again.

Then a friend told me of a new meditation app she'd just been recommended called "Headspace". For just 10 minutes a day, I could have a daily guided meditation at my fingertips. I could download it onto my phone and use it pretty much anywhere. That was over two years ago and I have never looked back. Headspace has given me back my life.

I've developed a whole tool kit of techniques I can use to help bring peace and contentment back in to, what was, a pretty dismal existence. Headspace is just perfect for those reluctant meditators like me that found it really daunting at first.

I've loved doing my daily Headspace meditations and for the first year I stuck religiously to the daily programme. As time goes by, I am finding it easier to sit for longer and clear my mind completely and when thoughts pop up, just observing them come and go without grasping at them, non-judgementally like in the traffic analogy of Take Ten.

Believe me, I am testament to the healing benefits of Headspace and trying, as best I can, to live mindfully, moment by moment, on a daily basis. The day I discovered meditation was day one of the rest of my life. Two years meditating, two years depression-free, now there's a thought. Headspace started me on this journey of recovery and I've never looked back. Thanks Andy, Rich and the whole of the Headspace team from the bottom of my heart.

 

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Do you have an experience you’d like to share that stems from your Headspace practice? If so, please email us a brief summary of what you'd like to write about to social@headspace.com

Don’t forget, you can also visit our community forum to exchange meditation tips with other Headspacers, and our FAQs section is also a great resource to check out too.

7 Comments on this article:

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1

KittyJo66

13 hours ago

what an inspiring story. it gives me hope. thank you.

3

blakej1

August 6, 2014

I too started headspace about 4 months ago after suffering depression and insomnia for about 12 years. I have now reduced my tablets and coping much better, I still have my black cloud days but I seem able to bounce back quicker. When I wake at night I use the sleep meditation and I always get back to sleep. I am also mindful about my health more and eat better and exercise more. Headspace is definitely an approach to awareness of many things. Thank you headspace!!

1

meditator-LKOGG2

August 7, 2014

I agree: I discovered Headspace while trying to overcome anxiety and depression following a tough year and it worked! I am now at the second level and the quality of my life already improved! I am more focused and efficient and I am now able to complete all the tasks that seemed impossible to finish before because of depression. Headspace gave me strenght and self consciousness and I love it.
Thank you guys :)
T.

4

Bethan

August 7, 2014

Headspace is a lifeline for me too, I don't have (for want of a better description) "full" depression, but I do suffer from depressive periods. I think it's definitely a progressive thing, and I've watched it grow from just being something which lasted a couple of hours whenever I experienced it, to something which lasted several days. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to experience depression on a longer time scale, a few days of it was an awful thing to experience, your strength in dealing with it for so long is inspiring!
I find that every time I start to get a bit lazy with my practice and miss it for a week or so, I experience another 'depressive period', and so I have absolutely no doubt that it is Headspace which keeps it at bay. I'm just coming up on 1 year of Headspace, and I'm determined that I'm really going to stick to doing it every day from now on!
Headspace has taught me so much, and has likely held "full" depression at bay - not bad for 20 mins a day eh? To echo Elizabeth, I'd also like to thank Andy, Rich and the whole Headspace team from the bottom of my heart for having such a huge, positive impact on my life.
Thank you!

1

Laetitia

August 10, 2014

Thank you all for sharing... Behind he pain and struggles, the light and strength in your stories give me hope and faith. But some moments are so dark and painful... Having cried my way trough some meditations, one thing's for sure: it brings me to a better place. Thank you Andy, the whole team and the HS community

1

meditator-Regis

August 22, 2014

Thanks so much KittyJo66. Stick at it, it's never easy when you first start out on a journey like this, particularly when you're feeling so low but just a few minutes a day can make ALL the difference. Just take it steady, small tiny steps forward each day should be celebrated :-) Nothing happens overnight but if you read the others' comments (thank you) you will see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, however long it takes. Believe me, it is the first few steps that are the most difficult. I wish you the best of luck on your Headspace journey and above all else, BE KIND TO YOURSELF Elizabeth Regis

1

meditator-Krishna

August 30, 2014

14 days into headspace and the I starting realizing where the emotions are emerging from and am able to control them more. I don't want to get too excited but this stuff works!