Apologies for the lack of posts, I was really sick last week and then I spent the past few days laid up with a sprained ankle after I took a tumble down some stairs at work and there were not enough spoons to deal with that, school, and to blog. But without further ado: A post!
I spent all of last Wednesday being so sick I could barely move until about 11:00 pm when my fever finally broke and the ‘sweat out the bad stuff’ stage began. Sweat it out is such a widely accepted notion for when you’re sick (out with the bad, in with the good) but for some reason this concept doesn’t really get applied to mental illnesses, even though it should be.
When you have a mental illness, sometimes you have the urge to just bottle up what you’re feeling. The illness can be so loud inside your head that nobody cares about how you’re feeling and nobody wants to be burdened by your bad day. So you keep it all inside and let it fester. Things like that are why, in cases of suicide, often people say they had no idea that person was even thinking that way. The person was so good at pretending to be okay that nobody had any idea they were falling apart on the inside. But, and this is very important, YOUR ILLNESS IS LYING.
As with any traditional, easier to see illness, you have to get the bad stuff out. If you let it in, it’ll only grow. Seeing a therapist is always my number one recommendation for anyone, regardless of if they have a mental illness or not. Anyone can benefit from a therapist. They are there to help teach you coping strategies and how to work through any sort of emotional obstacle you encounter. However, not everyone has access to or can afford a therapist, and with the new incoming administration’s slashing of healthcare in the USA the number of people without access will only grow. Although a therapist is awesome, I have some good resources on my Mental Health Resources page that can help you if you aren’t able to see one right now.
I hesitate to advocate venting to friends because it can be very easy to set up a friend as your confidante and then dump everything on them until your illness is dragging them down just as much as it is you. It’s totally okay to occasionally vent to your friends or to be completely honest with them if they ask how you are. “I’m not doing super awesome right now, struggling with mental health stuff.” is okay to say! They’re your friends and that’s what they’re there for. If someone has a problem with you being up front about how you’re doing then that person shouldn’t be your friend anyways!
If you can’t afford a therapist and you don’t want to dump on your friends, I personally find a journal (physical or not) is a great way to get it out. Write out a ton of letters you’ll never send. Write letters to yourself you’ll read later and cringe about. This is for you, not for anybody else. Write out all the bad stuff you don’t want to deal with and then let it escape. Let it get smaller until you can deal with it. And if the bad stuff is happening because someone is doing something fixable then, in the words of Captain Awkward, Use your Words!
If the bad stuff is because you’re in an abusive situation, there are a ton of great resources available across the ‘net to help you. I would suggest archive bingeing on Captain Awkward because she’s dealt very specifically with this topic multiple times and way better than I could, but there is help for you out there and you deserve it.
There may be a lot of bad stuff this year guys, but you got this. Sweat it out.