I've decided to do NaBloPoMo again, for the first time in a couple of years. I may or may not follow the prompts. Today has been difficult for me, and I wonder if I'm really the best person to answer the following question:
Day one: When you're having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?
Honestly? This is incredibly complicated for me, and difficult to answer. There are some days when I coast right on through, and then others when I hit a wall, and am in a great deal of pain. Some things do help. I take medications for my overall well-being, but I still feel things pretty deeply, in a situational sense.
Right now, I feel like I am trying to transition back into living, after dealing with two entire seasons of insomnia that got so bad, I was falling down, having vertigo, and my heart was starting to do scary things. The medications addressed some of that, and I have been starting to sleep a bit more regularly. I have also had to let go of some stressors that I simply can't handle right now, and fell less comfortable sharing, because they are things a "typical" person would probably just take in their stride. I have a lot of issues with that, and feel a pretty great sense of failure as a result. I feel like there is so much I should be doing, but when I try, I go into fight or flight, can't sleep, and the cycle presents itself, all over again. It's true that the medication has helped a lot with this, but I am still not in a place where I can necessarily trust things. It's still way too new. I haven't yet experienced a relapse, but that does not mean it's impossible.
Anyway, there are some things that even I do at times to make myself feel better.
1. Distract. Find something to do that has your mind go somewhere other than the problem you are focused on. Sometimes even just going into a different room and doing a chore can help.
Go for a walk.
Play a game.
Watch a video.
These all can help. Sort of. Unless things are really bad, in which case I then associate that activity with how it did not help. Trauma is a bit different than chemical depression, and they really should be treated differently. One thing to understand about trauma: There is no switch you can just flip to make yourself stop feeling pain. Sometimes you just have to sit with it, write about it, or hope it passes. And sometimes, you can't be that positive ray of sunshine people expect. This is when you discover who your real friends are, though, because there will be those who judge you, talk about you behind your back, dismiss you, try to shame you into feeling better, or using treatment that worked for them to combat a different condition, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Not everyone is going to understand it, and until they go through something similar, they may not.
Must be really nice for those people. But one thing that helps with all of that is remembering something I read from "The Four Agreements", by Don Miguel Ruiz. And that is (paraphrased,) another person's behaviour is not about you. It is about them.
2. Comedy. Little know fact about us funny people: a good number of us are severely depressed. This is how we sometimes get ourselves out of the funk. If we can find one thing to grab onto, it can be that horse that we ride out of the room full of shit.
3. Medication. Not everyone is going to believe that what I take is medication, because I do this with an amino acid therapy, rather than your typical meds. In my experience, they really do work. They are fucking expensive, but they work. I have very pertinent, personal reasons for this, having to do with a family history of suicide as a reaction to psych meds, as well as my own history of terrible reactions to psych meds, that have affected vital organs. They scare me more than the PTSD does.
And if you know me, you know.
Some might use what I have written above to throw all of this back into my face, and dismiss it. But the fact is, people still feel things when they are on medication. They are still affected by situational bullshit. I do know that what I have been taking has helped me greatly. I have gone from absolutely needing to scream and cry, to feeling even tempered, but still able to feel the pain of a situation when there is pain in a situation. And I have been sleeping again. I call it a win.
Anyway, whew. This one was difficult for me to write. But hopefully it explains a few things.