It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a post like this, I’ve been inspired though by a few posts in a couple of groups I’m in. Everyone struggles with their mental health at some point so it’s important that you equip yourself with the skills to make it an easier process. Today I’ll be sharing my method of dealing with my mental health.
The best way of dealing with your mental health is looking at it physically, that way breaking down what’s going on is made much easier and much simpler to digest.
A quick background to my mental health
In 2013 I had a psychological breakdown which comprised of: post traumatic stress disorder, severe stress, severe social anxiety, an eating disorder and clinical depression. This is what happens when you deal with a lot of death, a divorce and bullying; being a teenager was clearly a fun time for me.
I went through different types of therapy and avoided medication. Slowly but surely I became functional and to the point where I am today. I’ll be sharing many of the tips I was taught that really helped me.
Understanding your mental health
You need to be really self aware to completely understand your own mental health. It’s okay to have off days, to be sad, to be overly happy, to be easily upset etc but when you notice that these periods last more than a day, there may be a problem present.
You also need to be aware of your own behaviours and the behaviours of the people you surround yourself with. You tend to become the people you surround yourself with so it’s important to know what you need/want in friendships and relationships.
You need to look at how your energy fluctuates around people or situations, you need to look into your own intuition and finally, your own life experiences. If you don’t properly deal with a situation, any other situations on top can bring everything to the ground for you (this is what happened to me).
It’s important that you become aware of the negative mental health problems you have, whether it be anxiety or depression and so on and investigate why you may be experiencing them. It’s also important to look into if you’re projecting these issues onto other people or not. (In my experience, in 2013 with a fresh diagnosis I had people bully me about my mental health and these people later came out with having anxiety so if you fear mental health or you don’t want to deal with it, please don’t project it onto others).
There may also be a family history of mental health problems that you may want to look into. This is also important as it can dictate how you deal with life experiences.
Once you understand your mental health you can begin to look at how you manage it. The following activities are just several ways to deal with it.
Mind map it
You can be as creative or as minimal as you like. This one is really good for trying to come to a conclusion or trying to understand a situation. Just like a regular mind map, at the top write down the problem, then connect it to relevant information information to help understand the problem. In the same map, look for solutions to the problem you’re having.
Write about it
I have a few rules for when I write about a situation. The main rule is that if I’m going to write about a person for every negative I have to find a positive, this makes it a lot easier to understand the person and prevent holding a grudge. You can also locate a motive for the situation if you look at both positives and negatives.
In my post about conflict resolution I mentioned the importance of removing your emotions from the facts when facing conflict. Whether it’s internal or external conflict, I still stand by this. I write down the facts, what I’ve done that helps or doesn’t help the problem, the people involved (if any) and their background as to why they might act how they did in the situation (again, if it involves another person). Then I write down how each aspect made me feel and explore why those things made me feel how I did. Then as above, write down possible solutions. You can include the other person in this process or just keep it private.
Lists, lists and more lists
Lists are the best, let’s be honest. Make lists of your friends, things that make you happy, things that don’t make you happy, problems you’ve had, food you love, places you want to go, places you’ve been, people you’re closed to etc etc etc. This one is good at distracting yourself too, I highly recommend this! You can make lists about literally anything.
This is easily one of my favourites. This works with just about any situation that effects your mental health which is a total bonus. Initially, you write down how you’re feeling and what has happened or what you’re afraid will happen. Then write down evidence that does support your version of events or fears, followed by evidence that doesn’t support it. Look at solutions (notice the theme here?) that may change how you see it or how you could change it in the future. Lastly, write down how you feel after completing this activity. It takes a while to get the hang of.
Noticing a pattern here?
Dealing with your mental health means finding solutions for what’s going on. To learn how to deal with the same issue in the future, to understand what’s going on with you and so on. It’s important to have a solution for every issue you have, but sometimes there are no solutions unfortunately and that’s where therapy and medication can come in.
Do these things
- Don’t be afraid to get or ask for help
- Become self aware
- Look at the people around you
- Listen to your intuition
- Try a million things to find what works for you (don’t be put off by things not working for you)
And so on
Don’t do these things
- Project it onto others
- Make other people responsible for your problems
- Drag other people into your problems
- Make people help you but you don’t put the effort in
- Give up
You get the idea
I have 2 diaries, a messy diary and a much neater diary.
My messy diary
In my messy diary (or art diary) I draw pictures of how I feel and responses to journal questions and prompts. I do mind maps in it and just random sketches. I don’t keep this one neat at all which actually helps. Sometimes I put screenshots of conversations or arguments I’ve had and pick them apart and say what I want to say because sometimes you just cannot do that to the actual person. I write in quotes and lyrics I love or that inspire me. I do little draft sketches for scrapbooking layouts or furniture ideas. You can really do anything with this one. I even have pages of just swear words written out. I use an A4 art book for this.
My much neater diary
This is where I do all my proper writing. I talk about my memories good and bad, my dreams, my goals, my ideas and ambitions, thoughts on people, problems I’m dealing with, things people have said to me, lists, important dates etc etc. I like to understand the human behaviour of the people around me so I write down what I know about people as well and general things I pick up on them. Understanding other people is important in understanding how they treat you and then dealing with the situation. It also helps in knowing who you are, why you ask? If someone has a toxic personality trait and you think about it you may realise that you have it too, or maybe that you make friends with people with these same traits.
I hope this easy guide has helped or you’ve taken some ideas away from this!