Management IS recovery. #MHAW15

As a finale to my little series on mental health (a big thank you to you if you’ve read any of them!), I want to talk about getting better — the ultimate goal!

Every stage of recovering from something like depression and anxiety is hard. Due to the stigma a lot of people feel about having a mental illness, many sufferers, including me, will have expended vast amounts of time & energy hiding their illness. I know that I at times could think of nothing more than wanting to die, but because I was too ashamed to tell anyone this, I smiled and talked about the whether. Ultimately, this strategy leads to nothing good.

There comes a point, (and for me, this was after being medicated for a few months graced me with flashes of clarity) when you realise that there’s only so far you can go on your own. For a long time, I was lost in my own head. A world of obsessively covering the marks of my self harming from others, but desparately wanting to do more, & do worse. A place in time where there wasn’t a day that I wasn’t weighing up the pros & cons of killing myself, and coming up short on pros each time. It only took a second to realise I needed help, but it took more will and strength than I could possibly convey, for me to actually admit that to anyone, and to ask for help.

As mentioned in previous posts, recovery is multifaceted. For many people, as for me, it will take drugs to balance you out. It will require immense courage and fight to learn to bare your soul to the professionals and health care workers who can push you in the right direct. It will take enourmous effort to learn about yourself, and figure out what it is you NEED, on the most basic, emotional levels. It sounds daunting, and I won’t lie, it really is, but it’s worth it.

I’d love to bombard you here with links of places to go to start finding help, but the internet is awash with them. Just a Google away. Very few people realise how good going to therapy can be for your, and there’s more than one kind too! There’s mindfulness therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and more! So I’d always recommend looking into talking therapies, where possible. Overall, when it comes to recovery, awareness is key. Knowing what it is that’s happening to you, and learning how to take control over it is how you keep it away.

By the way, if in genuine need, please never Google the word ‘help’. The results are actually very unhelpful.

Now, I don’t like giving people advice, as it’s quality is often determined by how hungry I am at the time, and as such it’s always questionable. BUT, I’ve been well and in a good place for a long time now, so I’d like finish off with a few pieces of my personal advice for keeping the blackness at bay.

  • Learn to like your own company, and how to be your own friend (Yes, I know what that sounds like. DEAL WITH IT.) Make an effort to notice what makes you happy, comfortable and at ease, and give yourself time to do a bit more of it.
  • Know your triggers. Be aware of what can set off the cascade of bad thoughts and feelings inside your head. Avoid these triggers where you can, and where you can’t, learn to brace yourself against them to minimise the impact.
  • Never under estimate the cathartic powers of asking a genuine ‘How are you?’ and replying honestly.
  • Find someone you can trust to share your inner monologue with. If you can’t do that then write it down. Just take the thoughts in your head and get them out in any way, in any order. You might find you learn a little about yourself just by seeing/hearing your own words.
  • And finally, remember to be a tiny bit selfish now & then and remind yourself that you’re great! Shame & self loathing are toxic, so never let the thoughts in your head lead you to denigrate yourself and convince yourself that you’re anything other than human. It’s not being self centred to remind yourself that you’re worth something and you deserve to be happy!
I know it’s all easier said than done, but for many people, the fight will never be entirely won. Never stop trying. You are amazing. This is Sparta. You are the Khaleesi, mother of dragons.