Sunday, November 26, 2017

Off Your Rocker

A lot of my posts have to do with mental health. I do this as part of my own personal therapy. I feel like there is still such a stigma when it comes to mental disease, but I also feel like it's important to self-healing when you're true to yourself and your shortcomings. Dealing with anxiety and depression definitely sucks; you're in your head all the time, you can be having a great time out with friends and then just really want to go home, sometimes it prevents you from evening making plans in the first place, and it can really get you down sometimes. Fortunately, I don't suffer from worse, like manic bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, body dysmorphic disorder--but that doesn't make it any easier during a panic attack or a day where I can't find the energy to get out of bed.

Through research and common sense, though, I've compiled a short list of "dos and don'ts" when it comes to bettering/worsening your mental state. Although having a mental illness doesn't mean your life is over, there are things that you should make a conscious effort to do, and some you should avoid doing. 

Take your fucking meds!
Too many people decide that they "feel better" and just stop their medication. Whether it be due to unwanted weight gain, having horrible memory and forgetting, or just being ashamed that they have to take a daily medication--you're on the medication for a reason. Would you rather pack on a few extra pounds, yet be a sane person that others want to associate with?...or are you that vain that the worst thing you can be is fat?  Plus, when you suddenly stop taking your medication, your body does withdraw. With my new medication, if I don't take it everyday I will literally get a headache or dizzy spells. My body can tell me "hey, you need your medicine"...and I listen. I'd rather be chunky than crazy, that's for sure. 

Exercise
Working out is medicine in itself. It could be a daily walk around the neighborhood, a Zumba class or some cardio at the local gym...just get your blood pumping! Release those endorphins; you'll feel better inside and out!

Don't drink alcohol, especially in excess!
Alcohol only worsens things. I know people tend to lean towards alcohol to "forget", but when you're a sloppy mess that's 10 seconds away from a complete mental breakdown, it's time to put down the wine and reevaluate your life. You know those girls that get super emotional and cry when they get drunk?...almost certain it's due to their anxiety. Overanalyzing everything in your head and being drunk is a bad combination. A drink here or there is NBD, but when you slam back half a dozen drinks and start talking gibberish via text or social media, you may have a problem. Plus, antidepressants and alcohol are not a good combo--it even states that on every single bottle you fill.

Stay away from triggers
Easier said that done sometimes, I know, but try your damndest to stay away from people or situations that you know are going to trigger you. Have a friend that unintentionally makes you feel bad about your life? See them sparingly. Have family that constantly fights/complains? Visit on only the holidays. Have an ex that you KNOW made you unhappy? Don't fucking go back. It's easier to make these decisions once you have a good sense of self-awareness...without it, you will keep falling back into things that make you sick, not better.

Be OK with not being OK
Find a friend or two that you know that you can trust to come to when you're feeling exceptionally low. There's no reason to display an episode for the whole world to see, but it's important to have someone that you can turn to when you're having a rough time. You're allowed to NOT be OK. When you have a mental illness, there are going to be good days and bad. Even if you DON'T have one, this is also true. But knowing that you have a good support system is part of helping yourself. Whether it be a workout class, a therapy group, your BFF or just having a good cry--it's important to be self-aware and do what you can to make the situation better, not worse. 

Try talk therapy
Like I said, I've been doing this for over a year now. My last therapist all we really did was talk, but my new one is doing EMDR with me ( along with some talk therapy ) Find what works for you. Some people have more than one therapist. Some go once a week, some go a few times a week. It's all about trial and error. I know that it's not cheap, but if you don't have mental health coverage with your insurance, you can also find solace speaking to someone at your local church. Or finding groups online for people who have your same issues. It's easier, I feel, to talk to someone who has experience or knows first hand about what you're going through. When you talk to a world that has no idea, all you look like is a fool. 

I cannot say enough how important self-care is. And you cannot find that within another person. You're not going to die if you're alone for a few years. You don't need to have a man/woman in your life to be whole. It's actually the opposite. Part of being self-aware is that you realize that you can do it on your own and that you don't need another person to "complete" you. For a long time, I was like that--so concerned with always being with someone because I felt like I NEEDED someone all the time. But through experience and heartache, being alone and enjoying that time, I learned more about who I am and what I'm capable of. I don't need anyone else, so those that I have in my life are not out of necessity but want. And that self-awareness helped strengthen me and alleviate some of the depression. Realizing that the only person who can truly affect your depression/anxiety/bipolar is you! 

If you want to be happy, you need to manifest it. Yes, it takes time and a lot of work...but it's achievable. Having anxiety means I'm always in my head; this being said, I try to "be in my head" positively instead of negatively so that I don't worsen my symptoms of sadness. Having a positive attitude is hard when you've never practiced it, but the only way to get better is to stop doing the things that weren't working and try something new! 

Be smart, be aware and be kind.