Posts tagged mental health
Posts tagged mental health
I find that I’m awfully critical here. That’s kind of annoying, as I like to think of myself as reasonably positive and even cheerful (I work to try and keep the cheerfulness genuine - it’s one of the ways I hide how I’m feeling, so I have to be careful.)
Anyway, so here are some wellness and self-care techniques, and therapy lessons, that I use and appreciate to varying degrees:
Staying up later than you should is very destabilizing for people with serious mental illness and other neuropsychiatric disorders, no matter what the reason for staying up happens to be. Your health is never worth sacrificing for the sake of another news update; the information will be there in the morning, I promise.
(You generally “should” be actually sleeping for at least 8 hours, while it’s dark outside, every night. You specifically cannot count “lying in bed reading on your phone” as sleeping.)
Massacres, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks are an ugly part of the world we live in. The 24/7 coverage of these tragedies can be particularly difficult for people with mental illnesses, particularly if you’re already having a bad day. Or a bad week. Or a bad month. As such, I thought I’d put together a list of healthy ways to cope with a crisis.
I got a private Ask about CBT and how it’s worked for me, and I put so much work into it that this modified version is going up here now.
First: Try some online CBT to see how you like it. Nothing can answer your question as well as trying it out. My first exposure to proper CBT happened in the hospital, and that’s not a recommended starting point.
Second: Consider reading Mind Over Mood or Feeling Good. These are two classic CBT books, and they include a lot of exercises and advice. Almost any therapist in the world who teaches CBT has read these books (I’ve found them in virtually every mental health office I’ve ever been in, including my career counselor’s office and my psychiatrist’s office.) They absolutely should be at your local library (seriously, if not, tell your librarian that they need to get it because FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE.)
Now, onto MY answer.
I’ve got a meeting scheduled tomorrow that I’m nervous/excited about.
Right now I’m writing down all the ideas that are swirling around in my head about the meeting, and classifying them as either unrealistic or realistic.
I’m not allowed to play any computer games until I’ve finished this exercise, and also one about the (totally different, much scarier) meeting I have on Thursday.
It means you’re still trying to get better - taking care of yourself, putting your health ahead of the stigma and the spending the cash on pizza and the rest of the things you could be putting first.
Thinking that taking your meds is a sign you’ve failed is like thinking that people who use crutches for a broken leg are just weak, and that diabetics who monitor their glucose and take insulin just aren’t trying hard enough.
It literally makes no sense.
Never, ever, ever screw around with your sleep.
Yes, this is an impossible standard. No, you still can’t decide not to try to live up to it. Not if you want to live with bipolar disorder, with stability and good health and the rest of it.
I’m sorry. It really bites.
But sleep is basically a core trigger of bipolar mood switches. One night with only 3 hours of sleep is often a one-way ticket to full-blown mania. Staying in bed when you’ve already had eight or ten or fourteen hours of sleep is typically a guarantee of continued depression.
Like I said, it really bites.
But rule #1 remains: don’t screw around with your sleep.
There are lots of tips out there to try if you’re having trouble getting good sleep, but the first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor, because even one night without sleep can be very, very bad for you. You have bipolar disorder. That’s how it works.
Really bites, yeah. Think I mentioned that part.
(Some people say they can cheat on New Year’s and during finals week. I don’t believe them. And the risk you’re taking when you try to find out? Unacceptably high, in my opinion.)
“This is obviously an extremely complex issue, and what I’ve written here is just an introductory look at an idea about which I intend to write much more. The bottom lines are that:
1. The mental healthcare system is not equipped to meet demand. We cannot allow anyone’s ability to live a fulfilled and productive life slip through the cracks.
2. Changing the general cultural perception of mental health is a major obstacle in achieving progress in mental health treatment. We as individuals need to honestly and fully address the way we see and talk about mental health: what stereotypes are we aware of? To what degree do we believe them? Is this affecting the way we see and treat others? Does it affect the way I see and react to my own struggles? Why is this harmful? It is everyone’s responsibility to work toward a better personal understanding of mental health.”
Holy heck. Is there an area of my job that isn’t affected by my disorders?
Well, they don’t seem to stop me from typing fast (once I remember that I was supposed to be typing and can get myself to do it, assuming I made it to work that day.)
But yeah, I still type fast. Ahem.
Or that of your family/friends:
NAMI is ISO people willing to share their stories with the media. (1) Parents and siblings of individuals with mental illness who have/had a struggle finding/accessing help/treatment AND (2) parent of child with serious emotional disturbance/mental illness who struggled with safety and self-harm. Please submit ASAP to email@example.com.