Living With Mental Illness: How To Deal Every Day
“I am stressed, I am anxious, I am worried, I am depressed, I am happy, now I am blue,” my thoughts say as they race rapidly and zig-zag across my mind. I feel I have no control over them. I have no motivation to get out of bed and go about my day, nothing pleases me, nor makes me happy, I just want to roll in the sheets and sleep the day away. These are thoughts that have paralyzed me on many days of my life. I call them the “Itty-bitty-shitty-committee.”
I have battled depression since I was a young girl, along with a plethora of other conditions including addictive personality, self-harm tendencies, anxiety, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphia and bipolarity. I have been pumped with pills by an inadequate doctor who was not trained to deal with the severity of my conditions. About six months ago, I came to find a wonderful cognitive-behavioral therapist, with whom I have been working closely to solve my issues. Medicine is not an exact science, but through perseverance, listening to your doctor’s orders and following through with recovery, trust me, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Mental disease is no joke, it is like any other condition, such as heart disease, diabetes and high-blood pressure. It is an everyday battle. One must take the correct steps towards recovery, taking the indicated medicine, exercising the body and after these two, allowing a spiritual intervention with what you understand as a higher power or positive energy to heal you from the inside out.
Recovery is a well-paved road that many before me have walked, I believe each person must go through everything they have gone through to at some point be shaken with the sound of a melodic rhythm in their mind that resonates: “I AM ALIVE!”
Today, I choose to stand up against mental stigma. I choose life and all the beauty in it.
I choose to fight the itty-bitty-shitty-committee in my head, because well they lie. I choose to SHARE my story. I can not keep my recovery if I am quiet about it. I can hold on to my recovery by remembering I did not cause it and I can not cure it, but I can work it, because I am worth it by caring about myself, communicating my feelings and celebrating myself.
This week’s tips for recovery:
- Make a list of thirty (yes, thirty, it is not an overwhelming amount) things that you can do when you feel stressed out. Let’s call this list your Go-To List. Each time do at least ten. Examples: Write, read, dance, take a shower, call a friend or make contact with someone, draw (even if you can’t, remember that is only an excuse your mind gives your body), cook, clean, take a nap and exercise.
- Start a morning journal, set aside time each day after you wake up and write out your thoughts. Do they have to be an award-winning book? No. Morning journaling is a way to get out the megaphone thoughts that ricochet across your mind of all the things you have to do or forgot to to from the day before. “I have to turn in an article, I need to exercise, I need to clean the house, I forgot to do this or that…” By starting this habit you are able to release all of the “insanity” you feel so overwhelmed by. It does not have to be a whole page, just jot down a few lines or paragraphs of your thoughts. Keep it simple.
- Most importantly, take it ONE DAY AT A TIME. If twenty-four hours is too much, break it down into hourly segments. If those hourly segments are too much, minimize it: take it one minute at a time.