I felt the need to write a post about some of my coping tools, it may not work for everyone but you never know, it could help someone!
So if you’ve read all my blogs, or know me personally, you’ll know that I didn’t always talk about my problems. Before I had my breakdown (see ‘First Blog Post’ if you have no idea what I am talking about) I barely spoke to anyone about my mental illness, everyone thought I was the happiest person they knew!
Now I made it years like that – I am not saying life was all bad. I am not even telling you to become an over sharer like I possibly am now (hello public blog with strangers reading about my life!). I am just saying that life is better now. I still have my low periods, I still struggle, but I feel like I have more good days and I have developed an even stronger support network.
Ok so you know what I am going to say here… talk about it! Tell someone close to you that you’re struggling. These people will likely just want to help you which you may not be ready for, I call it going into ‘fixer mode’ I have learnt that I need to tell my people (usually my mother) “I just need to get it out, I don’t want you to fix me”. Then go to town – rant, rave, scream, cry if you have to, just get it out… you’ll be surprised at how much better you will feel.
I now talk openly about my mental illness. I have shocked a couple of managers in work with my brutal honesty. I haven’t done it to get sympathy, I have simply told them up front so that if I am having a bad day, that’s not the time I suddenly have to inform them “oh yeah sometimes I have panic attacks/get super depressed/have anxiety so bad I have to go home”. I hope that they find it refreshing as there are no hidden surprises, it’s all laid out for them and I explain to them what my needs are while I am ill. If you had a physical illness you would explain to your work, what adjustments need to be made to help you to do your job, I do exactly that, but for mental illness. This has helped me no end in work and my managers have been able to help me effectively when I am having a bad day, even if that is just by sending me home!
If you are really not ready to talk to anyone just yet, I strongly suggest writing it down. You don’t have to set up a blog and share it with the world, but get a diary, write it in notes on your phone, whatever it takes. Write down every feeling, every irrational or scary thought. When you write it, picture all those horrible thoughts being released through the ink or the keyboard/touchscreen or whatever you use. That is what I do for every blog I write.
Write a letter to someone who hurt you, what would you say to them if you could? You don’t have to send it, but it will help to release some of the pain of it. I have written letters to people about some of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I have never showed those letters to anyone. Writing those letters helped me to feel some sort of closure about it and after that and a lot more self development, I can finally say I forgive those people for what they did.
Forgiveness is a big one, many people will say the same. Holding on to hate doesn’t hurt the person that hurt you, it only hurts you. Forgiveness doesn’t just go to people that hurt you though, it is totally for yourself too. I had to learn to forgive myself for a lot of things, I still have to forgive myself for new things all the time. Some things take more work than others… I forgive myself for drinking too much the other night and having a raging hangover the next day – easy. I forgive myself for thinking that I deserved to feel this pain, for beating myself up for so many years. I forgive myself for being young and naive and not knowing any better. I forgive myself now for some of the not so healthy coping tools I use sometimes. Those are not easy, but they are so much more important.
This blog has quickly become an essay as per usual so I will end with one last one, my favourite one…. Dance. It. Out. I don’t just mean swaying a little in your living room… I mean full scale crazy dancing. Exercise releases good endorphins – what better way than some crazy dancing! Pick a song, a dance it out song that makes you happy and use that song. When I dance it out with my bestie, we use T-Pain – Church. When I am alone, my happy song is Rusted Roots – Send me on my way or most recently, Meghan Trainor – Better When I’m Dancing. When these songs come on, I will instantly start smiling and even if I can’t properly dance it out (like when I am driving or sat at my desk in work with headphones in) it improves my mood greatly!
So I will stop now before this becomes a novel! I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my ramblings, please share with your family and friends as you never know who might need it, they might not be talking about it yet!!
Stay strong warriors!