Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Strangers Are Important

I always underestimate the influence a stranger has over my mood.  A stranger on the train or someone I bump into on the street has the ability to brighten or dampen my day.  I don’t really want to give a stranger any control over my emotions but sometimes people can be really nice and helpful or sometimes people can be really nasty and hateful.  And even though I try not to let people bother me or impact me in any way it always seems to happen.

It’s like when I’m really exhausted and I have a lot of bags and I get on the train and a man gets up and gives me his seat.  I’m always so happy and so grateful and it makes my day so much better.  It’s the unexpected kindness that makes each day a bit more bearable.

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Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: The First Time You Think It Is Probably Not The First Time It’s Been Thought

I always remember the time I wrote the phrase “mind’s eye”.  I was so happy at something I believed was completely original.  It wasn’t until I began to read more and more that I realized I had not made up a phrase.  It was more likely that I had read it quite often without realizing it and when I used it I thought it was original.

It maybe true that everything has been done or said before but I firmly believe that every person is unique and each person has their own unique slant to everything.  But now when I think of something and believe it is the first time it’s ever been thought I just remind myself that it’s probably just the first time I thought of it.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Have Fun

Dance. Smile. Laugh. Talk Crap. Walk. Eat 1 Thing Like It Has No Calories. Drink. Watch Movies. Go to the Theatre. Listen to Your Favorite Song 5x in a Row. Sing Like You Sound Like Whitney Houston. Have Sex. Get Your Nails Done.  Get a Massage.  Travel. Read Books. Don’t Do the Laundry or Clean Your House.  Fall in Love.  Hate Someone.  Treasure Someone.  Have Kids, Get Married, or NOT. Do Whatever It Takes – Have Fun!

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Remember Who You Are

It became very important to me to learn more about myself before I became sick.  After twenty years with a mental illness it became hard to remember who I was before I had a mental illness.

Remembering who I was before the illness helped me define my definition of health.  People always assume I’m fine because I can hold a job and carry on a decent conversation.  But I rarely talk about the day to day struggles of someone who has been told they are in remission.

People ask What is success to you?  I ask What is health to you?

What is the health equivalent of having a million dollars?

I know I’m there yet but I’m just asking myself because now for the first time I actually feel like my mind is healthy.  Maybe it’s the diet and exercise, maybe it’s the reduction in my stress level, maybe it’s the presence of good friends and family.  But it’s probably a combination of all these things (and the right medications).  But if I hadn’t taken the time to figure out who I was before the illness I wouldn’t appreciate my health today.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: You Get A Little Better Each Day

I just had to stop and think about how far I’d come from initial diagnosis to full remission.  Now I understand that I got a little better each day.  Even though I didn’t notice it on a daily basis there was a gradual improvement with each passing day.  Even when I had setbacks I had the opportunity to learn from that time and it would help me get through another hurdle later on down the road.

I used to just notice the milestones but now I’m beginning to see the steps in between.

I just want anyone who’s struggling and not wanting to take medication, not wanting to talk to anyone, not wanting to eat or wanting to eat too much always think “I got a little better today.” Because the truth is each day of health with a chronic illness is a bit of a struggle and with each passing day the mind and body grows a bit stronger and able to face the new days ahead.  It becomes even stronger when you are unaware of it happening.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip – Diet Matters

For years people have been telling me that a healthy diet will help combat having a mental illness.  I never really tried because I’m an emotional eater and eating the bad things I like seemed to always make me feel better.  I never imagined that it was the bad things that I was eating that actually kept me feeling horrible.

One of the great benefits of my Do Not Eat list is that I have a new sense of tranquility.  I don’t feel like I’m on the brink of just lashing out at someone for something stupid or combating a barrage of negative thoughts.  The change in my diet is the only thing that can be responsible for it because nothing else has changed.

The feeling of peace is quite addictive and I do not want to go back to feeling the way I used to feel.  I know in the long run this decision will make my mental and emotional health better so I will face each craving with the certainty that mental and physical health improvements are guaranteed.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: People Can Make You Better

One thing I’ve come to realize that people who are not doctors can make you just as strong as a doctor.  I’m not even only talking about friends and people who support you.  But now that I think about it I realize that some of the people who treated me the worst actually did a lot for me.  It must be very nice but also I think a bit of a shame if everyone praises you and cheers you on for your entire life.

In my life people have attacked my character and integrity, tried to put me in my place, and outright insulted me.  To those people I say thank you because when someone tries to do that to me now I fight back.  I speak up and I defend myself.

So people who uplift you and build you up are essential but people who put you down and oppress you are necessary.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Lay Down & Rest

Sometimes (if I’m lucky) I have the opportunity to lay down and rest in the middle of the day (especially lucky if it happens to be a weekday).  As I lay down hoping to fall asleep my exhaustion hits me and I’m always a bit caught off guard.

Before I laid down I told myself that I was basically fine.  But the truth is it’s always exactly what my body needs even though my mind doesn’t come to terms with that fact until I’m lying down.

My mother often tells me to get rest and I often tell other people to get rest but truthfully I’ve just begun to listen.  So far, for me, the benefits have been quite significant.  The most important being the belief that I have more time than I ever thought I would have and life just might be a bit easier going forward.