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Mental Health - Self Care guide.

So I'm still trying to get back into the swing of blogging again. To be honest I'm quite peeved that i have abandoned it so recently. But that's one of the draw backs of having mental health problems ... The things you enjoy just kind of fall by the way side.

That's OK though.

I'm not going to get myself down about it cause at the end of the day i need to do what feels right for me and although that has involved a lot of sleeping recently, that's OK. Clearly my body needs the down time.

So when I'm feeling a bit low, it can be hard for my family too. Agent M will notice that I'm maybe a bit more quite that normal or that my concentration is non existent at times. Agent D has picked up on the fact that I'm not quite "here", rather starting off into space or having a total mental shut down. I'm my house we call it the Darkness - Que Supernatural meme here ... Or if i feel a bad spell coming on i say "Winter is coming" ... Shout out to all my GOT peeps.

Thing is you never know how long the winter will last or how dark you will get. There have been days where I've been a bit more anxious and not quite with it and will be fine the next day or there will be days were i seriously struggle to get out of bed, I cant eat (or worse cant stop), I feel miserable in my own skin and i just want to curl in a ball and cry. This can last for days on end.

Its hard. I'm not going to lie.

There are times where i feel like I'm a defunct human and that I'm just a burden then there are days where i know that i have accomplished even the littlest things and call it a win.

I've had conversations recently with people from all sides of the coin. People who haven't suffered from depression and anxiety, who cant understand why i cant just get on with it. People who have been where i am and know how difficult it can be to function like a "normal" person and people who have been in such darkness, places i hope i never experience.

I don't feel any animosity to those who don't really "get it". I'm glad that they don't understand in a way cause it means they have never held this much despair in their lives. I don't even bother when people give me the "Snap out of it" or "What have you got to be depressed about" speech. You cant be angry at someone who doesn't think before they open their mouth in the same way you cant be angry at a toddler for knocking over their juice cup. They just didn't think it all the way through.

In the same way, people who have harder battles to face don't get annoyed at me for being able to keep on keeping on. I know people who genuinely cant bring themselves to get washed and dressed in the morning or cant cope without being on serious medication, I don't judge because i haven't experienced that. I wouldn't judge even if i had. Sometimes you just gotta do you.

One thing i have been very aware of recently is self care, and as such i wanted to share with you some tips i have picked up in this decade long battle. Some of it might not work for you and that's OK, but the point in this is to help make your day a little easier.

  • Keep a mood log - Sometimes i can see patterns in my moods which make it easier to spearhead a dark spell. I know that in the run up to my period i will be a little more hormonal that normal so avoid anything that i know might be a trigger. I know that usually after i see my mum and sister i will have a dip in my mood cause i miss them so much, so i know to be a little more kind to myself then.
  • Be aware of what your are watching - This might sound like an obvious one but hear me out. Date night, i went to the cinema to see War for the planet of the apes. I was trying to keep myself calm and use my anxiety techniques cause i was in a busy place. I completely forgot that the premise of this film is pretty much people suck.

    I'm quite empathetic, even with completely made up scenarios like film and TV. Usually its just a awe 'how sad' and i shed a few tears but in my dark days i can seriously screw myself over. I left that movie theatre thinking about how unbelievably cruel the world is and wondering what kind of screwed up planet i have brought my son into. I know its a made up film about apes and the chances of that happening are like a billion to one but i know that there are people in this world that treat other humans like that. I know its daft but it really drained me.

    So when i am feeling a bit 'meh', i will watch a film or TV show that i know cant possibly trigger me. I know that can be different for everyone. I know people who cant watch Disney movies when they are sad cause they have lost their parents which seems to feature quite a bit in Disney. For me, strangely enough its horror movies. I don't know why but watching a horror movie will actually calm my anxiety down. It baffles me cause it usually causes anxiety in most but it works so I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • Create a play list of happy music - If your feeling a little shit, the shuffle is your enemy. Only you came on my shuffle the other night and i just burst into tears. I was having a particularly hard day and when Selena Gomez started singing i just lost it. Its a sad cover from a sad program (13 Reasons Why) and its not a good song for a low mood. Instead i listen to my feel good play list which have gems like Harry Belafonte - Jump In The Line, Get back up again from the Trolls movie or David Guetta - Titanium ft. Sia. Sometimes having the right music i can start to feel myself getting back to an even keel ... and if i really feel shitty i sing along. I might sound like a car going through a wood chipper but i don't care.
  • Discover Pinterest and get lost in it - I cant enjoy a book when I'm really struggling. My concentration zero and i get frustrated. So i turn to Pinterest. Type "funny humour" into the search bar and lose yourself for an hour or so looking at some random funny stuff. My personal favourites are the "fails". Like people who have tried to make a cake like a professional and it looks like the dog has made it or when people have order something on line and what they get is totally different or hilariously wrong. I don't know if its considered schadenfreude or not but it makes me smile and its not like they didn't have a laugh or they wouldn't have posted it. Posts from Tumbler seem to be gold too. It might take a few scrolls to get me there but this has never failed me, even if its a temp fix, it really feels good to laugh.
  • Accept that its OK not to be OK for a bit - You know what, sometimes life is just really shit and that OK. So what if you haven't brushed your hair today and the dishes still need done. So long as your safe and the kids (if any) are happy and safe then have that duvet day watching movies or order that pizza for dinner. There is no shame in just looking after yourself. Listen to your body. If its overworked or overwhelmed its not going to function properly. In the same hand, its OK to ask for help too. Need your partner to take the kids while you nap or shower then ask. Sometimes its necessary and it doesn't make you a bad person to need a wee break from life. So long as you get back to it, then take the time off.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to take care of yourself when you need it. If you have any other tips then please feel free to share them in the comments below xxx