There are going to be days when your mental illness acts up and you feel like you’re less than nothing. You’re going to feel like absolute shit about yourself and that there’s nothing else that could be done to fix that.
But that’s the trickery of mental illnesses. It makes you believe things that aren’t necessarily true, especially about yourself. The bad days are going to be bad, and the good days are going to be okay, good at best.
You need to push past those thoughts to realizing who you really are and how great of a person you can really be. It’s going to be hard, and there are ways you can combat these thoughts.
Having a Mental Illness Doesn’t Make You Less Than
Having a mental illness doesn’t make you less than a person. It doesn’t make you less than anything. It just means you have an illness. However, that illness is what’s making you think all these terrible things about yourself.
I’ve been there. I’ve had days where I feel I’m a terrible person, I feel like my writing is terrible, I’m no good at it, I’m a terrible friend, etc. The problem is that the illness makes you think these things when they’re not true. Unfortunately, that means you’re going to have to work a little bit harder to make it through days like that.
You Can’t Control Life
You can’t control what happens to you in life. Life is ever changing and there are far too many variables outside of your control that are going to cause things to happen to you that you can’t control.
The only way to truly control your entire life would be to live in a bubble, never leave you home, and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll be at a better advantage to controlling your life, but there are always going to be outside factors.
There are always going to be things that are going to be out of your control. Once you accept that, you will live a much better life. It’s going to be a hard thing to accept, I’m still working on it, but if you get that thought into your head that you literally can’t control everything, so stop trying to, you will feel a lot freer than you did before.
You may not be able to control everything around you, but the one thing you can control is how you respond to it.
You Control How You Respond
How you respond to things is the real way you can react to what life throws at you. So you can have those bad days where life throws you lemon after lemon, but you have 2 choices, to sit an wallow in those lemons, or you can make lemonade or a nice lemon cream pie.
When mental illness makes you feel less than a person, you have two choices:
- Revel in the depression and bad thoughts, letting them stew in your mind
- Respond in a more positive manner, trying to make your body and your mind feel better.
My favorite way to respond to days where I have bad thoughts and my depression makes me feel less than, is to take a nap. Taking a nap is a fantastic way to reset yourself and wake up with a better outcome.
While you may not be able to be a completely positive person when your mental illness makes you feel less than, you can choose to make decisions that will make your life better. You can’t control the mental illness, you can control how you respond to those bad days.
Mental Health Problems Don’t Make You More “Broken”
Mental illness problems don’t make you more broken than having any kind of non-mental illness does. Sometimes I joke that my body doesn’t work right due to the amount of problems I have with everything, but it doesn’t mean that I’m “broken”.
Having mental illness doesn’t make me any more broken than having eczema, asthma, or hypothyroid makes me broken.
There’s this idea and stigma that mental illness makes you crazy or broken or unstable. Yes, you may have bad days, but that doesn’t define you.
When you have a bad day at work, you don’t define your entire life around that, you view and center your life around the good days. Bad days aren’t going to be every day, and like I said before, the way you react can change your thought process.
So, having depression and anxiety doesn’t make me broken. It means my body is missing something that I need to add to my life in order to work properly. I do that for my asthma, hypothyroidism, and my vitamin deficiencies, so why such a big deal about mental health problems?
Needing medication or therapy, or eating a specific diet to get specific nutrients you’re missing doesn’t make you broken.
When you think about mental health illnesses like any other illnesses, it’s easier to see that you’re just a regular person.
Related: Mental Health and a Depressive Funk
You Can’t Let the Fixes Define You
One of the biggest problems I have is that I feel like my medications define who I am.
It’s a challenging thought process because I have been on, and most likely will be on, medications for my mental health issues for the rest of my life. Unless they figure out a reason for the illnesses and a better more permanent treatment.
Having to go through therapy, or be on medication, or even be on a specific diet can make it easier to make that all your life is about. It feels like they bring you down, but you have to go about thinking differently.
You are more than your treatments.
You are more than your mental illnesses and you are more than the treatments you have to use to feel better.
You Can Still Live a Happy, Fulfilling Life
Even with a mental illness or two, you can still live a happy, fulfilling life.
Yes! It’s possible!
It’s going to be hard work, but it’s definitely possible.
How do you live a happy and fulfilling life?
- Figure out your triggers – Figure out what it is that triggers your mental health issues. What makes a bad day worse or a good day bad. Once you figure out what those things are you can look out for them and be ready for them when they pop up. For me, it’s when my room starts to get a mess, when I disregard my hygiene, and when I stop all of my writing.
- Have a plan in place – When you know those triggers you can have a plan in place on what to do when your mental illness acts up. I even wrote a book about it, Depressive Moments: a Self Care Guide for Days When Depression Hits Hardest. It writes out a plan for both weekdays and weekends, work days and not work days. If you’re in need of a plan, you can always give it a look.
- Keep Yourself Busy – The biggest thing for mental illness is a static mind. When you do mindless activities like scrolling through social media, it gives your mind time and place to wander, to go into those thoughts that you don’t want. So, you have to keep your mind busy, like you would a toddler. Do things that require active thinking like video games, puzzles, and reading.
When you do these three things, you will have a battle plan for your mental illness and when it makes you think you’re a lesser human.
Don’t believe those thoughts. Change the way you react to things since you can’t change how the world reacts to you. Keep yourself busy, and have an active plan on what to do before, during, and after your mental illness acts up.
I hope this advice helps anyone else out there. It’s something I’m learning to live more by.
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