I haven't felt the maniac or depression but more of a level, matter of fact feeling. We have a lot of stressors right now. Facing an impending move, lack of income, constant danger of losing health insurance...all the fun things the poor and struggling face. I won't regurgitate my story, its told in many previous blog entries and not so relevant to this one. Let's just say that after about my 3rd journey of self realization...only this time having all the pieces fit together I am 50 and after 4 years of pure hell...probably in the best shape I can be with my depression and Borderline/Bi-Polar.
We hear and talk about mindfulness. The aspect of staying present and being aware. We talk about (Radical) acceptance versus change. These help, partly based on your understanding of yourselves and the techniques. We use breathing exercises and Tai' Chi' We try to practice good self care. Listening to music, reading, spending time with family, exercising, etc...
They all do help but what about days they don't? How do we handle those. The days where the hurt and pain over rides the training or knowledge we have. I am no healer or therapist or spiritual guru. I don't pretend anyone can copy what I do because my pain and my story is unique to me. I do believe someone can take the parts and pieces that apply to them.
First and foremost I tell myself its ok to have a bad day.
Everyone has them, as much as it fights my natural black and white thinking...its really not an exclusive mental health trait.....EVERYONE has bad days and I don't let my mind start to wander down the road of "Yeah but we have more" because it really doesn't matter...its what you do...and don't do with them that matters
I try to process what the real issue is. Not the irritants. Those things that intensify or worsen whats "really going on". Someday's I can't find it.
I then remind myself again its ok to have a bad day, we all have them. I try to look at how I have been sleeping, eating and feeling as those of us with personality disorders tend to assume any depression or mania or other feeling is 100% related to our condition rather than looking at other, legitimate factors like our health.
I take my temperature. This is an important step. What I mean by that is checking to see the intensity of how I am feeling. As an example they say if an adult is running a temp of 102.5 that's serious so for all intent and purposes if your Mental Health depression hits "102.5" please, please seek professional help and do not rely on my blog or anyone elses' to drive your treatment.
Here's the hard part for some folks to hear
You have to do some work too. You have a responsibility for your own Mental Health. If you prefer to spend your life blaming your disorder on every aspect of your life I think your chance of recovery or at least some respite is really low. Sorry...while that's not necessarily a professional's opinion, its mine.
I have to evaluate, if my temp rises or was higher to begin with, what am I doing to help. If I give in...that day is done (Which is ok as well, as long as it is only occasional and doesn't interfere with day to day life) I need to call my dad, check in with my wife or kids. Avoid self cutting (basically seeking things you know will hurt you but not physically)...which I think is one of the most under treated issues...its more dangerous than actual cutting because it can be hidden to the point that it may never be discovered and sometimes it may be too late.
I'm blessed with good support. A deep understanding of what I have and how it affects me and a deep self awareness. Knowledge of how to seek out services if necessary. Many years of therapy.
Mostly I have learned to accept myself. The good and the bad. I sorta think this is the final step in attaining whatever level of functionality one attains. Happiness really does come from within. If you chase it from false places it will be false happiness. Accept your limitations, work on what you can control and oh man this hard for us...ya gotta let go of what you can't control...I guarantee you its a big part of your anger and unhappiness. It's a big part of many people's unhappiness.
So at the end of the day...do what you can but be honest about the effort...even to yourself.
Allow yourself to have bad days...but also allow yourself to have good days
Define (maybe with help) and practice good self care.
Cry when your sad
Laugh when your happy
Love when your angry
Accept yourself. Without trying to live up to others, you have probably put them on a pedestal