A crucial part of my growing up came with battling a mental illness. No matter how debilitating an illness can be one always finds ways to feeling better and whole again.
The hardest part of being mentally ill is that it isn’t visible and people rarely empathize with what you maybe going through. Often you can’t explain the illness to yourself and reading about it makes it even worse. I’ve often kept myself away from the details of the illness the causes and effects because you inherently know it through the cycles you go through.
It really is a breakthrough when you learn to understand how to control the mind and not let it affect you all the time. Even then I’ve been through spells where I’ve been completely fine but hopelessly find myself going through the same episodes again. How you bounce back for me has been the reason why I’ve stayed strong because often the illness can be embarrassing and a hit on your self esteem. To overlook that and move on with your life is key to better mental health.
Here are some secrets and strategies that helped me have better mental well being and that I’ve been using myself lately to overcome some dark and tough mental health days:-
Riding it Through
Sometimes you can’t do much when an episode hits you, except to ride with the feelings and emotions it brings no matter how far you push yourself down. Snapping out of it doesn’t really work except for maybe aggravating it even further. So sometimes you have to just go through the hard times until the point that you have a cathartic moment and can move on.
Talk to Someone
It’s a given fact that speaking about your illness with a sibling or friend helps you face what you’re feeling. In trying to motivate you, your confidante maybe too overpowering but you can always ask them to give you your space. There has to be that one person you can express your fears too and share your innermost thoughts and feelings to.
Value your Doctor’s Advice
Taking timely assistance from your doctor and not skipping on medication helps you gain a quick recovery. Listening to advice given by your doctor may seem sometimes to not contribute to how you’re feeling and that is something you have to assess on your own but it will help in the long run because your doctor knows best.
An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Workshop
Your illness may stop you from getting gainful employment or you may not be able to hold on to a job for too long but giving yourself some form of work may be the best gift you give yourself. I know I’ve been at my healthiest when I’m working as opposed to times when I didn’t have work and let my mind fill with worry and fear.
To be at peace with yourself, find things you love that you can do on your own is the key to feeling happy. Find a hobby that fills up your lonely and desperate times.
Be aware of a change in mood and tell your caregiver when you are feeling this way. It may help avert a long drawn out illness and could be dealt with quickly.
On days you are feeling low don’t ruminate on those emotions and go deeper try your best to divert your mind to doing something small that doesn’t require too much mental effort. You will be able to bounce back the next day faster.
We often take our sleeping patterns for granted but sleeping at a fixed time everyday and getting a good eight hours of sleep helps in your overall well being. I know this is something I need to work on and be more disciplined with.
Walking is the best form of exercise to keep anxieties and fears at bay and rejuvenate you inside out making you feel confident about yourself. Don’t give up on it.
Take Care of your Hygiene
We must take care of ourselves especially during low phases, feeling fresh activates you and eliminates some of those melancholic feelings.
Remind yourself this too shall Pass
When we go through these phases we are often overcome by extreme worry that is usually out of proportion. Remind yourself that your problems are small and can eventually be overcome with a little patience.
Mental health is not something that can be assured but you have to remind yourself that all you need to recover is you. Know your body and mind and figure out your own strategies and what works best for you. Help is always there when you need it but ultimately you have to rely on yourself to pull through it.
I hope these are some of your strategies too and that you can trust in you to always have a healthy mind, body and soul.