Taking Care of Yourself, Because Your Mental Illness Won’t
You and I know that at any given moment, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or even getting a bite to eat can suddenly become climbing Mount Everest. Thus is life living with a mental illness. Whether your poison of choice is Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, PTSD, Borderline Personality or other top shelf items (like we get a choice), I think that this feeling is rather relatable. However, whether it be the act of taking care of yourself, or getting responsibilities out of the way, mental illness can instantly change our plans like nobody’s business. However, these are things that we must do, either as a self-care regimen, or to make sure our “normal person” facade doesn’t melt away revealing the shattered mess we all are. Here are a few tips, from myself to you (although I’m not so great at it most of the time) to make sure that the things that need to get done, get done.
Spacing Things Out
Time is sometimes a luxury that we don’t often have, but we should be taking advantage of it when we do. If you have the ability to take the things you need to get done and scatter them across your week, than you better damn well do it. Now you are welcome to your own opinion, i encourage it, but we both know that if you try to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time, none of it will get done. That’s just how mental illness works my friends. It can be, at times, a literal sack of bricks on your back (at least it feels that way) and will make you so sluggish that even, well, a slug would be faster than you. It is not quantity nor quality that we strive for, but efficiency. Do what you can, while you can, when you can, so long as you have energy left over to work on yourself a bit.
Celebrate the Little Victories
If you’ve been with us for long enough, this blog that is, you’ll probably have stumbled upon my post regarding goals. What I am about to say will pretty much contradict all of that. When you are struggling to get out of bed and put on some “real people pants”, getting a load of laundry done should feel like you just won your 7th gold medal for best chore doer ever. The difference here, is that you’re not setting life goals, you are trying the best you can to re-inflate the life raft your on before the sharks below you get any hungrier. You need to do what you can, and revel in the fact that you did it for a while. However, you do need to practice a little bit of moderation here my friends. No brand new TV for you because you made spaghetti for dinner the 9th time in a row. (Spaghetti I still love you, call me?) Gettingn yourself a bowl of ice cream for going through your mail is more in the ballpark that you should aim for.
Take a Breather
Now, I know what you’re going to say as soon as you read my next sentence, but hear me out here. Procrastination is your friend, in some circumstances. If you really feel your anxiety creeping up about getting the dishes done, put it off until you can center yourself. Again, time not really a commodity around these parts, but if you got it, flaunt it! Moderation here too is very important, don’t go on a month long stay-cation ignoring everything you have to get done because you are losing a battle with your own brain. The harsh truth is, that if you put things off for too long, it’ll probably end up making things not only worse mentally, but also the chores will be at least a months worth harder. That being said, there is no shame in stepping away for a moment to recollect your thoughts, just make sure you dive back in once you do.
So, what did we learn here? A whole lot I hope. If you hadn’t noticed, my writing style changes a little (or a lot) based on how I feel. Although I’m not certain if this is the beginning of a really nice upswing, or like that feeling you get at the top of the roller coaster peak just before plummeting down (You know, that one where you can just see over the edge?). Enough with the comedy schtick, in all seriousness, taking care of yourself is very important with mental health. If you don’t, things will pile up and slide into the pit you’re so desperately trying to climb out of, taking you down along with it. So basically, do what you can, when you can, and celebrate like it’s 1999.
If you see anything I’ve missed, or maybe something you just wanted to add, we help each other out around here. Leave it in a comment so that others like you, reading this, can reap the benefits of when we all put our heads together in order to make sure we can get out of our own heads.
Photo Credit: Unsplash: Naomi August