These are things I’ve worked out over many years of truing and painful experience. I hope they help you, and if you don’t I truly hope you find something that will.
- You are going through something (depressive period, or anxiety episode or a Monday). It doesn’t matter what you are suffering from, and after many years experience the best way to honour this and your self is to take time and let it happen to you; you can’t run away or ignore it so don’t waste energy trying as it will just make things worse
- Don’t judge yourself. Sounds easier than it is but everyone is right on this point; it makes the pain worse. Everyone goes through low points and that doesn’t mean your pain is any less valid than someone else’s for any reason.
- So go easy on yourself. As with the above point things are going to be much harder than usual, so give yourself time and space to deal with life. If possible, avoid additional stress (she writes laughingly as it is not always possible and how many times have I rolled my eyes at someone telling me the exact same thing. Hypocritically Lois strikes again)
- To wallow or not. Engage in self-care. For me this is rereading books I love or watching comfort movies curled up on the couch with my dog. I wish I could say give a formula for this but this really varies from person to person. Sometimes I just watch something to have sound on so I feel less alone, other times I do cross stitch or crohet while watching Vikings on Netflix. Whatever works for you there is not judgement here.
- Try and remember the last time you felt low and shitty, you got through that you will get through this. Sounds annoying motivational I know but its still true, you just need to ride out the storm sometimes Honey.
- I give you permission to be angry at the world. Sometimes life truly does suck and you DO NOT WANT TO BE HAPPY, yet people persist in stating HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. Sometimes life is just shit and no I don’t expect you to be a magical rainbow of happiness. Take Princess Unikitty from the Lego Movie as an example.; being constantly happy doesn’t work.
- You are doing the best that you can. I know it doesn’t feel like and I know you feel like you are just constantly failing but still you are doing all that you can and that is enough
- SERIOUSLY DO NOT JUDGE YOURSELF
- Find something that you love doing and do it even if you have to force yourself to do it the whole time. I find crafting very therapeutic but I know its not for everyone, so find something that makes your soul should sing and do it. You will have to really kick your own ass into gear to get started but once you have started something you will feel better. This is the wise voice of experience speaking here. When I’m having a totally shit day and I only manage to maybe dew 4 lines of my crochet project in several hours I just repeat “its better than nothing”. Baby steps are important here dear Reader.
- Don’t get drunk. Seriously don’t. Alcohol as a drug is a depressive which means it lowers your mood. This is an issue if your mood isn’t great to begin with and you are already in a fairly depressive state. Speaking from experiences here you may well end up weeping on your bathroom floor, feeling like shit and it just not a pretty place at the best of times. Just stick to chocolate or ice cream and Netflix in the comfort of your home.
- It all growth. Growth is hard and involves a significant amount of courage and its not a happy path filled with people. Sometimes simply going on is an act of courage and this make you stronger as a person. Self Growth isn’t some magical journey, it hard and sometimes it feelis like you are hauling a rock up a cliff, but you do become stronger and in my experience; kinder and more empathic.
- The world need people to stand up and talk about mental illness, even if you are only talking to one person, that one person you can educate about mental health witch helps remove the stigma. This is one of the reasons I started this blog, to raise my voice about my struggles in the hope of helping others.
- Everyone is on their own journeys and is moving at their own pace, everyone will have their own ways of coping with their illness and unfortunate what works for one won’t work for another. I know I isolate myself on black days, I’m learning not to do this and even if its just taking the dog for a walk around the block I feel better if I’ve don’t something.
- It will pass. It my experience it always does. That doesn’t mean I’ve not come perilously close to giving up on life, but there is help out there so please seek it. There are may strategies you can put in place. Personally I have the Beyond Now App on my phone, which contains my suicide safety plan on it. I also have a letter that lives in my bedside drawer that I read when I know I’m in a suicidal state. Look online for uplifting playlists, or ones that help you wallow, Pretty much every streaming services has playlists by moods so use them. Music helps explain feelings and thus how you are feeling when you don’t really know yourself and there is great comfort in this.
- Read other stories of those who have battles and survived. I reread Harry Potter, especially the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is the first novel to feature the Dementors. The Dementors (for non Harry Potters fans; though seriously google it) where inspired by JK Rowling’s own battles with Depression. Rereading this books remind me that they can be beaten. J.K.Rowling has said some incredible things about depression. The Mighty is an excellent starting point for this.
- DO NOT GIVE UP: Watching someone battle a mental illness is tough, not least because there is so little that they can do to help. It can also remind people of their own vulnerability; that one day they too can be struck down by this horrible beast. People don’t like to be reminded of their own failings or mortality so they will back away. In my case I pushed people away and isolated myself; to protect them from me. This is very flawed logic but a good example of how my brain was working as those who love you will fight with you, as long as you keep fighting yourself.
- NO ONE IS PERFECT aka stay away from social media. Social media can make everyone’s life look perfect; especially when you are at home feeling like a failure because you don’t recognise you own reflection anymore. It makes you feel lesser, and in my case this is like throwing fuel on to the Fire when Neg is in charge of my head. Social media can also bring out the worst in humanity which does nothing to help my sense of security. So trust the voice of experience and stay off social media while having low days, you will feel better. Go for a walk instead or read a book, see above points.
- You Are ALIVE. It doesn’t feel like a good think at times I know but it is and take comfort in the fact that fact that life will become amazing again, you just have to live long enough for it to be