A girl with too many thoughts...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

I Can't Control My Emotions

My brain is constantly on some sort of hellish rollercoaster ride of emotions which I feel I have no control over. Up, down, up down, up down - all day long. It's absolutely exhausting and I don't know what to do about it anymore. My mood can literally change at the flick of a switch: going from extremely happy and optimistic to hopeless, angry and agitated within seconds.

I'm finding it impossible to function like this. How am I supposed to plan ahead, schedule my week or take on responsibilities? I can't even predict how I'm going to be feeling from one moment to the next, let alone this time next week or in a month.

Not only are they fast-changing, but I also seem to feel my emotions so strongly. What mood I'm in will dictate every aspect of my life: my personality, my confidence, what opportunities I accept, how I treat people, how I treat myself. Everything. Catch me in a different mood and I will probably present a drastically different version of myself.

I know this can sometimes be true for everyone. We often say 'they were probably just having a bad day' or 'I must have caught them in a bad mood' when people appear a little off. But I feel like for me, the difference is not only extreme but constant.

I don't control my emotions, they control me.

I've tried to do things that might help. I started a bullet journal, tracking my mood every month to see if I could identify a theme in my mood, but no trends are apparent. Apart from, I seem to feel a lot of negative emotions during the evening/night time - something which I think resonates with many people suffering from mental illness.

When I can feel my mood taking a turn for the worst, I try to use distractions: listening to music, immersing myself in a hobby, reading, colouring, studying. And yet, my brain won't let me focus on anything if my head isn't in a good place. The only thing that sometimes works is sleeping and hoping that by time I wake up, the dark clouds would've passed.

Perhaps this is simply a symptom of my various mental illnesses that I will have to learn to accept and find ways to manage. Maybe it is due to the bouts of restricting and weight fluctuations that I have put my body through in recent years, affecting my mind in mysterious ways. Or could it be a symptom of depression (something which I'm certainly no stranger to) or a mixture of it all! Who knows...

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

When You Wake Up Feeling Overwhelmed

Some mornings from the second I open my eyes I'm hit with a sense of panic and feel completely overwhelmed. The day already seems too much before it has even started. I think to myself 'how am I going to get through another day?!'.

I may have planned things I need to get done on that day but from the word go my brain is just not co-operating. All I want to do is wrap myself up in bed and hide under a blanket; I can't even get the motivation to get dressed or brush my teeth.

However, I'm beginning to teach myself ways in which I can better cope with this feeling, rather than just accepting my fate, going back to bed and getting nothing out of the day. I'm beginning to realise that even though these feelings are very real and overwhelming when I'm feeling them, they will pass. So what do I do when I wake up already feeling too overwhelmed to get on with the day?

Accept How I Feel

This might seem obvious but simply acknowledging how I feel is the first step towards feeling better. Denying negative feelings is not going to make them go away; there's no point forcing myself to push on with the day as normal if it feels too much, just hoping that my anxiety will magically disappear on it's own. Instead, I acknowledge that I'm feeling particularly under the weather, and try and go a bit more easy on myself on that day.

Take it Slow

So I've acknowledged that I'm not feeling my best and that pushing myself to do too much is only going to be counter-productive. But instead of going back to bed and doing nothing, it's important I encourage myself to do even little things. Perhaps the first step is just getting up and making myself a cup of tea and eating breakfast. There's no time pressure, but sometimes I find after I've done a few little things, I start to feel calmer and more prepared to face the day, which leads on to my next point...

Basic Self-care

On days like these, even getting dressed feels like an impossible task. However, I've learnt that not carrying out essential acts of self-care only leaves me feeling a whole lot worse mentally. Therefore, even on the bad days I encourage myself to get dressed (even if it's just into loungewear), brush my teeth, wash my face and eat breakfast. It's amazing how much lighter fresh breath can make you feel. I don't even necessarily do all these things at once, but instead spread them over an hour or two. The main thing is that I do them.

One Thing at A Time

You know when you look over your never-ending to do list and it's so daunting that you don't even know where to begin, so you just don't? When faced with this I think it's better to isolate maybe one or two tasks that you want to complete on that day, and just focus on getting them done.

However, it's also important to rest when you need to. Sometimes stress is a way of our body and mind telling us we're doing too much and need to take a break. Remind yourself that it's okay if not everyday is productive.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

You Must Take Responsibility for YOUR Recovery

Mental illness is not a choice, recovery is.

Struggling with a mental illness sucks and it may leave you questioning 'why me?', 'what did I do to deserve this?'. It's easy to fall into a pit of hopelessness and despair. You may believe things are never going to get better, so you might as well give up before even trying. You may refuse people's efforts to help you because you're already convinced that nothing is going to work.

Despite this, it's up to you to take steps towards recovery; nobody can do it for you. It's up to you to pull yourself out of this deep dark hole, nobody else.

Your recovery is your responsibility.

At the end of the day, only you can make that choice to recover and then take the necessary action. If you want things to get better, you have to be willing to work for it. Nothing is going to change unless you initiate that change.

Sure, you can spend the rest of your days wallowing in self-pity over how unfair it is that you have to put up with this shitty illness. You can be angry at the world or try and find somebody else to blame for the way you feel. You can take your frustration out on those around you; your loved ones, your friends, your dog (yes, I probably have blamed the dog for my mental illness at some point). 

But what good is that going to do? 

Even when all hope feels lost, there will always be something you can do to make things even the tiniest bit easier for yourself. Your mental illness may make you feel helpless, but that doesn't mean you are. Nobody is going to come and save you and if that's what you're waiting for, then prepare to be disappointed. 

P.S. I realise this is my first post in a few weeks but at the moment I'm having to focus solely on my recovery. I also have a shit ton of uni work that I can't find the motivation for. Plus, I've been doing the very thing I said not to in this blog post: wallowing in a pool of self-pity (and by a pool of self-pity I mean my bed) whilst wondering why I'm never good enough, why nobody seems to like me and why I can't just be a successful, confident young woman like others my age. Perhaps it's time to take my own advice..

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

'But Other People Have It Worse'

'Everybody else has it worse than me'

'I don't deserve treatment when other people are more ill'

'I have no right to feel this way when others go through worse'

These types of thoughts regularly go through my head. It seems these are in fact common thoughts amongst those with mental illness, along with the tendency to compare our struggles with that of others. Since when did mental illness become a competition of who's is more severe?!

This thought process can be really damaging because it can leave you feeling as though you aren't as worthy of help as somebody else, whose condition is deemed 'more serious' than yours. However, this is far from the truth. It can also make you feel guilty for experiencing certain emotions, such as sadness or anger, because you think you don't have the 'right' to experience such feelings. I've therefore decided to approach things from a different angle, so that whenever these thoughts pop into my head, I can quickly dispel them.

Early intervention is key

So what if your experience of a mental health condition isn't considered as 'severe' as another person's? Why should anybody have to wait until their mental health has reached breaking point before they feel worthy of treatment? As far as I'm concerned, the earlier people get the help they need, the better.

It's not 'better' or 'worse', it's just different

I've been replacing the phrases 'better' and 'worse' in my head for the word 'different'. Each individual's experience of mental health is so unique, how can you possibly compare them to each other? It's not as simple as shoving them all on a scale and categorising this person's illness as 'mild' and that person's as 'severe'. So, instead of saying to myself 'this person's symptoms are worse than mine', I simply say 'this person's experience is different to mine, and that's okay'. Everybody is different, after all.

Focus on No.1

What use is comparing yourself to other people anyway? Most of the time, this only ever results in negative outcomes. Your main focus in your life should be you - you are your main priority. This may seem selfish to some people, but I'm really starting to believe that the key to health and happiness is putting yourself first. It doesn't mean you don't care for other people. If anything, looking after yourself makes your ability to care for others even greater. 

Therefore, there really is no reason to say 'that person has it worse than me'. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Either way, it doesn't really matter. If something is negatively impacting your life enough for you to think 'I need help with this', then you deserve just that - irrespective of everyone else's experience.

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