I’ll spare you the details but things haven’t been easy for me recently and I’m going through a rough patch. You know when all the little things add up and explode and everything is crap for a while? Yeah, I’m there at the moment. It’s nothing new. My mental health challenges me daily. Some days are the lowest of the low and my survival is different every time.
For me personally, dealing with on-going anxiety and depression is an everyday thing. It is always there and it always will be – it’s a huge part of who I am. Learning how to cope with it is a near impossible task but it can be done. I’m continually discovering more about myself, my body and the way my mind works. I want to be more open and honest about my mental health as I go forward and this is a big step in that direction. These are a few of my biggest tips for surviving rock bottom and the ways I’ve made it this far dealing with everyday mental health.
Don’t feel bad for having feelings
The difficult thing, for anyone, when they’re struggling is to accept it. You need to completely embrace the feelings, the hurt, the on-going struggle. Only then can you really work to fix it. I am (as everyone who knows me will strongly agree) a very emotional person. I am sensitive and think irrationally, but that’s okay. You’re allowed to be angry and upset and lost. It’s all part of the process of picking yourself back up and trying again. Let what needs to come out, out.
Surround yourself with the people who care
One of the most important things on the road to feeling better, is to feel supported. You don’t have to talk to thousands of people about your problems. In fact, there are a ton of people I wish that I hadn’t overshared with when I was younger. Don’t talk to anybody you can’t fully trust. Also, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your feelings. My friends all help me in different ways. I have friends I can call at 1am when all they hear is sniffling and sobbing. I have friends who analyse the situation completely and tell me the logical route to take. I have friends who are straight forward with advice because they’ve been there before. I have friends who make me feel important, beautiful and strong. I have friends who take me for coffee, buy me chocolate, write me cards. I have friends who send long paragraphs and others who send small texts. I have friends who make me laugh to make things better. No matter how you are supported, make sure it’s real. Make sure it’s people who want the best for you and shut out the rest.
Take your time
Don’t rush anything. If you’re not ready then that’s okay. If you need to be alone for a while do it. If you don’t have the power to talk to someone then wait for it. Rushing things makes it messy. You need time to calm down and adjust.
Don’t overwhelm yourself – you can take shortcuts
You might not look your best whilst you’re in your own bubble and if that’s what you need to do, that’s okay. Being at rock bottom makes the tiny everyday things seem like mountains. Personally, when I get bad and am going through a rough patch, I forget to look after myself a little. I break out badly, put on a little weight and forget the basics. That’s all okay. But don’t let yourself physically rot away because your mind is testing you. Take care of yourself in little ways. Been wearing the same leggings and hoodie for a while? Don’t worry. There’s sprays and deodorant for that. Hair looking greasy but don’t want to wash it? There’s dry shampoo and it’s a modern day hero. Brush your teeth, use a face wipe if your skincare routine seems too overwhelming. If you take medication, don’t skip it. Keep good hygiene as best you can, get enough sleep and water. Your body doesn’t have to suffer just because your mind is.
If you need time away from routine – be good about it
Need to call in to work? Can’t make it into uni? Cancelling plans? If it’s that bad allow yourself that time. Communicate with your co-workers/colleagues/friends as best you can. I’d say depending on the situation, two days of self care is healthy and totally justified. Any longer and you’ll make things worse for yourself. Catch up on work and stay on top of everything as best you can.
I do this more often than not at the moment and it feels really good. Leave your phone somewhere for a while and don’t look at it. Put it on do not disturb. Without hurting others, take some time away from the need to constantly reply. Make sure you let people know you’re safe and okay but need some time away from everything for a while. Don’t feel bad about that.
Remember to eat
Regularly and substantially. Order something, make something, buy something if you have to. But eat. Even eating ‘rubbish’ food is better than eating nothing. I personally have come to terms with my eating habits and the way my mental health plays into that. I don’t believe in restricting yourself. I believe in balance and occasional comfort and listening to your body and what it wants at all times. Even if you’re someone who eats well or rarely has a cheat meal there is no shame in taking a break to eat what you want or need. Once you’re back up and running again you can fall back into your personal routine and eating habits.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whilst it might work for some people and I know for many that it did – I’ve never seen a therapist. Unless you count the lady that school made me see for a year or so who was old, crotchety and had little sympathy for the youth. I have however practiced spiritual healing and reiki therapy which is incredible. You may be skeptical about spiritualness but if you need help this is one of the gentlest and most life-changing steps you can take to understanding your mind. Reiki therapy helps me heal and exhale the toxicity from my life. I wouldn’t be the strong woman I am without it.
Try something new (or an oldie but a goodie)
I love so many things that are unique and personal to me. Poetry, books, tv shows, blogs, music – all unique and perhaps weird things that I may not have in common with anyone else but make me happy. Either indulging in one of the little things that you enjoy or finding something new you can get involved in can really bring you back to life. It gives you a little direction again. It restores the love you feel for something – then you can focus that love on yourself.
Get back up
If you do your absolute best to fight – you will eventually find the strength to stand up and try again. After all the silly crying and the sad music and emptiness, you will get through. It could be days, weeks, months but you’re going to be just fine. You aren’t alone. You aren’t weak for feeling. You aren’t a bad person. Go tell the people you love you love them, thank them for the help and get back up. Slowly rebuild yourself, listen to your body, do the things that make you happy.
Pamper and treat yourself when it’s all over
When you’re through to the other side, continue to look after yourself. If you like baths (I don’t) have one with your favourite bath bomb. If you’re a shower kinda gal, jump in the shower. Scrub your skin clean, shave if you want to, use a detoxifying face mask. Moisturise. Maybe even treat yourself if you can. If it’s that pretty dress you’ve had in your online basket for months, an expensive overpriced lunch or a night out with the girls, it’s gonna make you feel better. Do anything that will make you feel pretty, strong and instantly ready to take on life again.
Remember that every time is different
Stay dedicated to your unique, personal journey. It’s hard. It’s tough. But so are you. You have been here before. You’ve done this before and lived to tell the tale. Remember that survival isn’t pretty. Recovery is rocky. You don’t need to be at your best right now – you just need to survive.