I know my blogs have been slowing down lately. Life over the last couple weeks has been a blur.
I am loving the writing and photo-journalism, and despite being on still being on the steep part of the learning curve, it seems to be a role I am well suited to.
I spoke with M on Monday for our monthly catch up. He said that he has never seen me this calm and stable in the couple years he has been working with me. I even had a friend tell me that she can see a major difference in me even with how I am carrying myself. I’m standing taller, and have more confidence.
All of these things tell me that I am on the right track as far as how I am progressing in my mental health recovery. Considering how full of despair I felt what seems like not so long ago, I never imagined a day where I would be finding myself as busy, and happy, with my life. I’ll take the victory.
In all honesty though, I know it is a victory in a battle, but the war is far from over. I can handle things better than I once could. That doesn’t mean that I no longer have the feelings I used. I still struggle with them, some days more than others.
The major difference at the moment is in the HOW I am coping with them. My coping strategies have definitely changed over the years.
If I find myself getting pissed off over things/situations, I start running through a checklist in my head: Am I blowing things out of proportion? Is there evidence to support how I am feeling? Will getting pissed off solve the issue? What are possible underlying issues?
I find that by the time I am done running through these questions the anger is subsiding at worst, and I’m actually laughing at myself at my best for the over reaction. If my blood is really boiling to begin with I’ll pop on the tunes, and jump on the treadmill or go and cut the lawn just to burn off the extra aggravation.
I know these are not one size fits all solutions. Hell, I doubt they are even one size fits most. For me, they work. Even resisting them the way I did when I first started learning the behavioural skills they now come second nature, and help contribute to a positive life.
Something else of equal importance to the skills is learning your body and mind. Through the therapy I have done over the years I have learned something. Actually several somethings. Firstly, I need my sleep, and even a minor disturbance in my sleep pattern can have devastating consequences on my mental health.
Secondly, I have finally realized that my body is not equipped with just two modes; stop and go. I have started learning that I can push myself, but if I push myself too far, things will break. I’ve been recognizing my limits, and learning when I can push through, and when I need to ease off, the reason being, I push too hard too long, I will snap. I will crash, and I will be out of commission for an extended period. That benefits no-one.
I could not have made it to the point I am at now without an amazing support network and some great professionals supporting me. I know the mental health system in any region can be daunting to navigate at the best of times. Combine that with a lot of educated idiots and an underlying attitude with a significant number of medical professionals it is no wonder so many people feel like they are falling through the cracks. I have witnessed many of the attitudes and educated idiots myself. When you are in a low mood state that definitely does not help. Hell, the one doctor telling me that I should wait awhile because they are legalizing doctor assisted suicide in Canada hit me like a stomach punch, and definitely did not help my mental state at the time.
It took me years of interacting with the mental health system, and a number of doctors and support professionals that finally clicked and led me to the point I am at today. It is hard, but it is possible.
Today I am learning a new trade, I am winding down my weekly therapy, and I am coping. I am self-harm free for almost 2 1/2 years. Two years ago if someone had told me I would get to this point I would have quite literally laughed in their face.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, I pray that my blog will show you that there is hope. Reach out if you need to. I am willing to help anyone that needs it.
Thanks for reading,