Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Fake It Till You Make It

It used to be very difficult for me to carry on a conversation with anyone.  After my last break I had to plan all of my conversations with everyone (including my mother) before I had them.  Now, many years later, I can converse with people quite easily.

I don’t know why it takes me so long to do things but once I figure things out my life gets a little easier.  Along the way some people figured out that I was struggling (faking it) and they made it a point to give me a hard time (just like in the wild when the strongest prey on the weakest).

There’s nothing wrong with faking it.  No one is everything they say they are all the time.

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Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Cut Back

One symptom of bipolar disorder that people do not really understand is the financial recklessness.  It’s hard to explain how this is because of an illness and not a conscious decision.

I have put myself into a lot of debt several times and I know that some of my excess spending was because of the illness.  But some of that behavior has spilled over into my healthy life.  The difference now is that I can make a conscious decision to cut back.  I’m content not going the most expensive route all the time and now I have money to do some of the things I really want to do.

Good financial health is good mental health.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Stay Up Late

If you’re someone like me who needs medication in order to fall asleep you know it’s important to take your meds at a certain time so that you can get up and get to work on time (if you work a typical job where you get in by 9am).

It’s always fun to stay up late talking with friends or hanging out with people whose company you enjoy but sometimes just staying up on your own is a lot of fun.  I also think it’s good for your brain.

It’s weird but I feel like my brain becomes bored with the routine and wants to stay up late sometimes.  After one really late night I sleep so much better the rest of the week.

That could just be my personality – I can only do the same thing so many times before I HAVE to do something different.  So even if I just watch movie after movie one night this week I’ll be up late.  It helps keep me sane.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Find Someone To Talk To

I used to underestimate the importance of talking.  I spent most of my younger years not talking to anyone.  Teachers would actually tell my mom that they were worried because I didn’t talk to anyone.

Part of the reason I didn’t speak when I was younger was because I didn’t like the sound of my soft yet squeaky voice.  Now that I’m older my tone is a bit deeper but occasionally the squeakiness pops out.

But now after twenty years of talk therapy (and suddenly finding myself without a psychotherapist) I feel the importance of talking.

Sometimes even just making a comment to a stranger can brighten my day.

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Stay Inside

It’s been raining lately.  And my favorite thing to do when it rains is to lay in bed underneath the covers with the windows slightly open feeling the breeze and listening to the rain drops.  I lay with my eyes closed breathing in the fresh air waiting for the storm to pass before I climb out of bed to try to be productive.

These are restorative days – days of calm amidst a storm and rest amidst turmoil.

It’s important to find your peace indoors and hold onto the way your body and mind feel at the time.  This state of being will become sustainable over time as the days add up.

Brownsville, Family & Friends, Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Talk to Your Dad

So I’m super blessed to have both my mom & dad in my life.  But I have to admit prior to moving back to NYC I hardly ever spoke to my dad.  I spend way more time with him now than I ever did when I was growing up.  I didn’t believe I would ever really have a good relationship with my dad but I was wrong (thank goodness).

Now it’s not so much the conversations I have with my dad as his sayings.  I know he’s in a good mood when he says, “Whatsdoing?”  I had never heard this saying before and other than the outrageous grammar error I thought it was just something he made up.  Then I met a woman around my dad’s age and she asked me the same thing.  Clearly it’s a generational thing.  It makes me think of how the young men in the neighborhood call my dad “Old Skool”.

In my time with my dad I’ve learned that he’s come quite far for a man who’s stayed in the same neighborhood for over 50 years.  In my time in NYC he’s provided me a safe haven batting away all my concerns with a single phrase – “I gotcha.”

Mental Health Tip

Mental Health Tip: Talk To Your Mom

Now I know I’m blessed to still have my mom in my life and I do love spending time with her.  One of the greatest benefits of spending time with her is how relaxed and happy she makes me feel.

I wouldn’t be here if not for my mom.  Partly because she gave birth to me but mostly because she provides vigilant support.

So  I say even if you’re not that close to your mom, if she is still alive, just reach out and say hey.  She’s expecting your call.

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.

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!