Being busy during the up swings

I love it when I can be busy, and not feel overwhelmed. The last few days have kept me fairly active. doing research for our church in regards to a new audio video supplier, taking photos for my column in the local paper, networking with my emergency service contacts, and doing some cleaning around the house. I also need to thank my friend Elias for coming over for a coffee and visit for an hour this afternoon.

The fact that I am able to keep myself busy does give me a pretty good idea as to where I am in my recovery. I have to say I feel like I am in a pretty decent place at the moment. My meds are stable, I am sleeping relatively well, without the aid of medication, my self harm and suicidal urges are greatly diminished, and as stated above, I am able to keep myself busy with it being overwhelming.

Now, I am under absolutely no illusion that this is going to last forever. As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. I’ll take the up while I can get it though. Especially if it means I can handle things better that would otherwise derail me.

Due to confidentiality, I can’t really go into details of some things that have happened, but suffice it to say, some events in the last few days did shake me, but because of where I am mentally I have been able to bounce back without the usual total collapse I have had in the past. It’s not that the event that happened sucks any less, it is just that I can cope. Which is a positive change for me.

When I am at this place in my mental health recovery I begin to understand that being busy can be a good thing. As is setting limits. Limits are important for those recovering from mental illness. I know very early in dealing with my mental illness, I laughed at limits. I would push myself as long and as hard as I could, until the eventual crash would take hold and knock me off work for who knows how long. I would crash, take months to recover, then as I was feeling better, I would start getting myself busier and busier, and the cycle would repeat . It took me starting to put limits into place that allowed me to maintain stability for over half a decade. Instead of pushing myself as much as I could, I would force myself to hold back. I would actually stay “no”.

Saying no is hard for me. I am a people pleaser. I hate to disappoint people. It took me learning to not disappoint me to help myself. You have to learn to put yourself first. If you don’t, no one else will.

It won’t be easy. In recovery you do have ups and downs. You have challenges. Crashes will occur. Plan for them while you are well. Take stock in the subtle things you do to stay healthy. Watch for the red flags that mean you are slipping. Above all else, if you do find yourself falling, don’t blame yourself. Don’t judge yourself. It happens. Like the upswings, the down swings will not last forever either.

For the moment, I am enjoying busyness and associated routine. I still kick my own ass far more often than I should, especially about the fact that I am not working at the moment, but even that is happening less and less, and I can honestly say I am working towards improving things. I’m happy to take the good while I can get it.

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One thought on “Being busy during the up swings

  1. Kevin, these are a pleasure to read! You have really come through, and for me, you are becoming balanced. Not an easy place for anyone to be. What a joy after all these past ?5 years of deep pain and wanting out. You are realistic; yes there will be downs, but by preparing for them in the good times, I believe you will handle them better. You are an incredible man my friend. I am so happy for you and proud that you still here in spite of overwhelming odds, and that you are also being so productive. John and I keep you and Lynn in our prayers, and always in our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

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