Hello, I’m back again.
I’ve had another break from blogging because I’m trying to achieve a balance and keep my self well in my recovery and to do that I needed to give myself a break. After a few quiet weeks I’m back and wanting to discuss my recovery!
I have suffered with my mental health all my life, I had a severe relapse about 20 months ago and so have been in my recovery since then. At my worst, I struggled to hear people talking and was unable to work out what they were saying to me, I couldn’t read or write as well as before and I was unable to handle many situations. I felt isolated, paranoid, extremely vulnerable and very low. Luckily I had support from loved ones and that combined with hard work, medication and therapy I’m where I am today.
Now I can be hard on myself at times, often without even realising it and my recovery is definitely one of those times where I am too tough with myself. I always want to be better ‘now’ always missing how I was before, but I suppose the point isn’t to look back, its to look forward. (*CLICHE ALERT*)
On a serious note, I am not my old self but I am miles ahead of how I was when I relapsed. I am strong now, able to look after myself physically and mentally. I hold down a job, go to the gym, keep my relationships and look after myself with personal care all of which I couldn’t do before. In fact people are often shocked when they find out about my illness because I seem so well. I seem so ‘normal’. Isn’t that the point though? I mean mental illness IS normal, I am normal whether I’m well or not.
So the last few weeks I’ve been extra vigilant in my care, in aiding my recovery and for anyone out there who may wonder what that might include I’ve written a list of the basic things that will help you to stay well both physically and mentally. Please don’t think it patronising but seriously often its the small things you deem insignificant that make the most difference. Whilst I’ve been hiding from the blogging world I’ve been gathering my strength to fight my illness that keeps trying to claw back. If anyone finds it useful, here are my tips for self care.
- Drink lots of water.
It may sound silly but its so important to stay hydrated as dehydration can affect your cognitive state and add to the symptoms of anxiety.
- Avoid caffeine
This is a big one for me. It doesn’t matter how much I love a caramel latte if I have coffee it can really effect my mood and anxiety levels.
- Allow time to rest
I am the worst when it comes to hiding from my emotions. I find when I am struggling with my mental health I fill my diary up in the hopes I can hide from my feelings and avoid any triggers. In fact this often proves to be the opposite and by not allowing myself to rest, my mental health suffers.
This may seen contradictory after my previous tip but it really isn’t. Exercise is key for me as it actually helps my body to rest properly afterwards. You don’t have to be a gym bunny to exercise, a dog walk, swim or dance class are additional ways you can exercise, burning off your extra energy and adrenaline and I always find I sleep so much better afterwards!
Find something that makes you laugh, even if you don’t want too. I’m not saying that something funny will take away the debilitating symptoms of your mental illness,of course it wont, but even if it is just escapism for a minute it helps! A funny film, comedian or friend can help with this.
I find writing lists helps me when I’m particularly anxious, it reduces how cloudy my head is and allows me to step back, breathe and see what needs to be done. In moments where I feel in control I’ll try to do my personal care, clean and do things like my lunches for the next day in case I struggle later on.
- Figure out what makes you happy and try to do it
I suppose it makes sense, even if your not getting much pleasure from anything right now, if you think about what usually makes you happy and try to do it, you may feel better if even for a second. I find it so easy to punish myself when I’m struggling because ‘I should be better’ but that’s only going to make things worse. Allow yourself some ‘you’ time, cut yourself some slack and try to be kind to yourself.
- Be kind to yourself
I feel like a hypocrite typing this but I’ve really try to implement this one this week. Its so easy to self criticise but think, if someone else was feeling how you are, how would you treat them? My guess is much better than your treating yourself, be kind and allow yourself to be sad, to struggle. Allow yourself to talk, to rest and to take your time.
- Surround yourself with love
Your family and friends are in your corner, allow them to help where possible. In addition, pets are amazing ways to rid isolation and feel loved.
- Don’t panic if your struggling again
Easier said than done, this week I’ve cried over my struggles but we need to remember healing is not straightforward and relapse doesn’t make you weak. We have beat our illness once, we will do it again.
I hope these few tips have helped, I hope they make sense and I haven’t been a condescending cow.
My twitter handle is – @andjjxx so please share your thoughts with me! As always remember its okay to talk