As I wake to greet a brand-new day, I breathe a sigh of relief. And in the first few minutes, I’ve been awake, I am already feeling better than I did yesterday. And as the day progresses, my spirits remain high; because of this, I can’t help but think of what a difference a day makes.
Yesterday, I spent the majority of my day sleeping. I cared little for the beautiful day that lay just beyond my window. Having made the decision to have my kids shelter in place with their mother weeks ago, I have found my mood slipping more and more as of late.
Although I know in my heart that I made the right decision, knowing that does little to ease the pain of missing them. I find some moments, hours and even some days unbearable. All I want is to hug them and breathe in the simple things that matter most, their love.
How I learned to ride the wave.
When it comes to my mental health, I am faced with some pretty tough challenges, ones that don’t get better overnight. PTSD, for example, is relentless, cruel and unforgiving. It’s all things that keep me up at night. However, I have managed to find ways to cope through my depressive episodes, flashbacks and the overstimulating effects that come with interacting with the wider world.
With that said, sometimes coping skills like mindfulness, exercise and cognitive behavioural approaches just don’t work, and I find myself drowning in a sea of mental despair. These are the staple coping strategies I use. Not foolproof, but they nonetheless help me out significantly.
Thankfully, I have come to realize that even the most challenging episodes always pass; all I have to do is ride the wave and bear its brunt. Once the storm passes, I am able to employ the above skills I have learned in therapy.
Overall, I have learned that while in the peak of the mental storm, it’s okay to shut down; it’s not something that needs to be solve. It just is what it is. Like me, you’ll be okay too. Tomorrow, you will see what a difference a day makes.
Why do we feel like it’s wrong?
In a quest for the answer to this question, I have come to a few conclusions. Firstly, when a mental illness has control over the way we feel, it has control over the way we think; hijacking our neurology is what it does best, and sabotage is its game.
When we are overcome with mental illness, it tells us that we are not good people and convinces us that we are worthless in the process. Moreover, it seems the larger the episode, the larger the worthlessness and guilt we feel. Do we know this is not true? Of course. Does it make us feel better when in these darker moments? Of course not. Ah, the power of the mind to turn on itself, almost like an autoimmune disease.
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Secondly, Stigma plays a role in the intensity of the guilt we feel. This shame exacerbates the intensity of the dread that we feel. After all, our ability to keep ourselves going is how we measure our worth as people.
However incorrect this assumption may be, we nonetheless allow it to dominate and define us and as a result, we hate ourselves when our mental health takes a huge hit.
I, for one, will no longer be at the mercy of stigma’s mythology; my pain is already enough on its own. It really doesn’t matter what people think, especially when they are wrong.
So, remember, sometimes we have to ride the wave and wait for tomorrow. It really is amazing, the difference a day makes. You and I have survived 100% of our worst days, therefore, we can do it again. We are mental-health warriors.
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