Saturday, 28 December 2013

Mentally Unhealthy Musings.

Those mentally healthy smarty pants are at it again, happily sharing their (lack of) knowledge so that us poor mentally unhealthy types might benefit from their wisdom.


Because of course all we need to do is be like them and we'll be fine!!

This need to help out with tips from the mentally well, when you are struggling with mental illness is one of the most annoying things ever experienced.  A bit like when every woman who ever had kids tells you how to do a pregnancy as soon as you mention you are expecting.  But more so.

The list above is well meaning, and appears to be simples to the "I'm OK, so you should be too" brigade.  Its bloody not.   So here's the reality from someone closer to the front line....

1 - THINK POSITIVELY: IT'S EASIER.- It is NOT easy in any measure to think positively just because you know you should. Its like persuading your body to fall upwards when you fall off a cliff, because the downward movement may be met with hitting ground.  The easier option is to wallow in the pit, and trust me, its so damned easy to wallow that it feels like every other option has been removed.  Best to aim for remembering there ARE other options besides the blackest ones that are pushing out all others.  And hope that those around you who are in a better place will realise the effort needed and support you.

2 - CHERISH THE ONES YOU LOVE.-  Sometimes, cherishing loved ones is more difficult than it might seem, because of silly little things like guilt, guilt that you are putting those cherished loved ones through all this crap.  Or feeling undeserving of those loved ones, and with no clue as to why they put up with you at all.  If you are lucky, those loved ones will forego the cherishing, and love you unconditionally.

3 - CONTINUE LEARNING AS LONG AS YOU LIVE. -  That one is easy, but the things we learn when mentally below parr are not always good lessons - like learning to put up barriers, hide away, mask our feelings, behave recklessly and ignore good sense.

4 - LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. - Again, seems simple, but you'd have to recognise those mistakes as being mistakes in order to try not to do them over and over.  And there is the rub of all rubs.

5 - EXERCISE DAILY.  - Bit like telling an asthmatic to breath properly.  When your body is doing all it can just to get you to open your eyes and face another day, finding motivation to exercise is often bottom of a really long list of (albeit skewed) priorities.  Granted, this is in fact one of the most beneficial things to do when you are not where you should be mentally. It often has huge effects in a short space of time.  Nevertheless, it still takes a monumental effort and support from others is often the only way to get on track.

6 - DO NOT COMPLICATE YOUR LIFE UNNECESSARILY - Well, thanks once again for that pearl of wisdom.  Trouble is, it doesn't seem complicated until it is.  No one says to themselves "You know, I think I need more on my plate than I can cope with so I'll just seek it out on purpose..."   This kind of ridiculously facetious advice goes a long way to making those who are struggling feel even more out of their depth.

7 - TRY TO UNDERSTAND AND ENCOURAGE THOSE AROUND YOU - definately one for the mentally well, that one.  Sometimes it feels like you can't manage to do that for your self, let alone others.

8 - DO NOT GIVE UP - SUCCESS IN LIFE IS A MARATHON.  Well, I don't mean to sneer at this admirable sentiment, but again with the telling of the asthmatic to breath better.  You can bet the mentally ill know exactly what a marathon success is, and they are running one every single day.  Better to tell them to see every little milestone as success, not those long term finish lines that seem so far away....

9 - DISCOVER AND NURTURE YOUR TALENTS.   Its all relative, but this is probably one of the most difficult platitudinal requests in this list. Even without a mental illness to oil the logs we balance on, this is something most of us are ridiculously poor at by ourselves.  We can only try do our share of this for others, and hope that it is recognised and nurtured back in ourselves.

10 - SET GOALS FOR YOURSELF AND PURSUE YOUR DREAMS. - Ah... Easy as that.  I know when I'm in the depths of a depression I can think of nothing more than setting some goals for mesen before a good hearty breakfast!!  More useful maybe to rethink, and replace scoring any goals with just trying to turn up to the match everyday, and bringing your kit in case you are fit to play....

As for dreams - at my worst times, mine are usually the sort that wake you crying and sweating.  Concentrate on getting back a clear view of reality before worrying about dreams and the like.  The best dreams will come to those who wait.... or somesuch other platitude.  Do what you can, and just keep swimming....

Daisy xx

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