Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Road To Recovery Isn't Always Plain Sailing

(TW: Depression + Anxiety) 

As I've addressed multiple times before I've suffered from mental health issues for years but I've also briefly touched on the fact that now I consider myself to be in recovery from them. I have completed a course of CBT and have gradually and slowly weened myself off of anti-depressants. I don't have panic attacks on the daily anymore and I haven't reached that staggering low for a fair few months now. Overall, I feel much better. I stopped taking my contraceptive pill that I've been on for 6 years and that has made a HUGE difference to my mood and general well-being. However, I still have down days and I think this can often be confusing for people around me. 

I can wake up on an ordinary day and feel like I want to stay in bed all day, cry and seclude myself from the world for absolutely no reason at all. This is obviously a concern for my boyfriend and family as they fear that I'm regressing back into a bad mental place but I'm not. I'm just having a bad day and I think one of the most important things about recovery is knowing that it's okay to have a bad day once and awhile. 

Life isn't easy and even people that don't suffer from mental health illnesses will have days like the one I just described. It's totally normal within reason. 

So below I've decided to compile a little list of tips to help you navigate this tricky time and to hopefully help you cope if you're having a bad day. 
  • Allow yourself to feel a bit crap. Don't force yourself into feeling like a cheery bundle of fun because quite frankly when you're having a shit day that is the last of your concerns. Give yourself a break, you are doing great so far. 
  • If you have loved ones pestering you or showing concern about your well-being, talk to them and let them know that you're okay, you're just having a hard day and you will be able to get through it, you just need a little support and understanding in the meantime.
  • If you want to sit in bed all day do it (work and school obligations allowing obviously), if you want to get up and put on a brave face do it. If you want to get home from work/school, have a hot bath and feel grumpy then do it. DO YOU. Do what you need to do to feel better and don't feel as though you need to be doing anything other than that. 
  • Plan meals. It's so easy to forget or ignore food if you're feeling awful but this is so damaging and will hurt you. Plan your meals, even if it's cereal, toast and some freezer food. Eating is beyond self-care, it's essential to survival. If you have the motivation to, I recommend going to Pinterest and finding a fun new recipe to try. Sometimes trying new things is all it takes to lift your mood and make you feel a whole lot better about how your day has gone. 
  • Organise. I can't stress this point enough. I say it in all my posts but for me organisation is key. Staying organised and on top of my journal is how I have gained back control in my life. I don't often feel down because I know what my week is looking like and I will have planned my days in such a way that I'm not overwhelmed by any one task and I have enough 'me' time. I don't get daily panic attacks because I've made it so that all variable aspects are controlled or at least anticipated. If you're in the process of recovering from a mental health illness such as depression or in particular anxiety, I would really encourage you to pick up a diary or journal or even just a notepad to write lists. By planning out your day's you are taking back control of your life and banishing the anxious thoughts along with it. 
I hope these tips have helped if you are currently recovering from a mental health illness, I've also written some tips on Self Care, How to Relax  and Loneliness recently if you are interested in finding out more about my mental health and how I have managed to overcome a lot of my own issues. 

Just remember that no one gets better overnight and that as with everything in life recovering from a mental health illness is not an easy feat and it isn't always possible. But being kind to yourself and managing your symptoms is something that everyone can do if they have the right encouragement and are able to flourish. If you're currently on the road to recovery, do remember that it isn't always plain sailing and you may encounter some bumps along the way, but you can get over them. Believe in yourself. You are doing great already. 


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