When I first became ill, it felt like everyone had an opinion on my mental health. Suddenly every one became an expert on how I was feeling and what I should be doing, which was even more confusing when I didn't have a clue how I was feeling. How could these people who knew nothing about what was happening to me and what was going on in my head know more about what I needed than me.
The worst comments were from what I thought to be, people who had no understanding or were ignorant of what it's like to live with mental health problems. Those people usually thought that I was exaggerating, attention seeking or pathetic. Comments such as "pull yourself together" or "its all in your head" made me feel like I was alone, weak and that it was all my own fault for feeling this way.
On the other hand comments such as" I know how you feel" or "I'm depressed too" (when they have simply had a bad day) makes me want to shout NO YOU DON'T, YOU COULDN'T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND THAT I AM IN HELL AND MY LIFE IS OVER.
When it feels like you are having the worst day of your life and you can't see any way out, it's frustrating when people think how I am feeling can be solved with something as simple as having a cup of tea. It makes me want to (and I have..) scream - HOW CAN YOU BE SO STUPID TO THINK THAT WILL HELP ME WHEN MY WHOLE LIFE IS FALLING APART, WHEN IT FEELS LIKE MY CHEST HAS BEEN RIPPED OPEN AND WHEN I CANT BREATHE.
HOW CAN YOU THINK THAT GOING FOR A WALK OR HAVING A BATH WILL HELP ME.
By taking a step back I can see that for people who want to help, there is no right thing to say in this situation as it will almost always be taken in the wrong way by the person suffering.
Even the people who want to help usually can't, or at least can't be there all of the time to fight all of your battles for you, so we have to learn to look after ourselves for when we need to. I've realised that some of these things can actually help.
When you are at crisis point, nothing can make the pain go away immediately like we want it to, but using some of the following 'self care' techniques, we may be able to stop it getting to that point, or even reduce the pain if we can.
There are a million things I could talk about but I'll keep it to some of my tried and tested ways!
If you have any more, I would love to hear them so please contact me.
Say no to obligations and plans if you don't feel up to it. It's OK to cancel, look after yourself and then try again when you feel better. Don't feel guilty, if you were physically ill you wouldn't go out, so why is this different?
Watch your favourite programme or film. It doesn't matter how cheesy or silly, and it doesn't matter how many times you've seen it! Allow yourself to relax and to laugh or cry, whatever you need. Gilmore girls and you've got mail are mine!
Read. Take time to lose yourself completely in a book. Sometimes we all need to feel like we are somewhere else for a while.
I know what I just said above, but have a cup of tea! It does help. Just taking a few moments to take yourself away from the situation, focus on something else and breathe in and out. For those few minutes it's time for you and nothing else.
Pamper yourself. Buy yourself a new bubble bath, a new candle or anything that makes you feel nice. Turn the lights off and relax, focus on the bubbles, how the water feels or the light flickering from the candle. Take a magazine or a book. Shut out the rest of the world for half and hour, it can wait.
Listen to music. The cheesier the better! Turn it up, sing as loud as you can, dance until you smile at yourself. It will all be worth it for those few moments of laughter.
Get a hobby. Even if you need to find a new one each day! Knit yourself a scarf, bake a cake, paint a picture, take photos of your favourite things. Do something new.
Treat yourself. It doesn't have to be expensive, I know how money can be a worry! $1 daffodils always make me smile!
Treat someone else. How would you feel if someone bought you something, made you something or even wrote you a nice note? Do the same for someone else and make their day, more often than not it will make you feel good too.
Tell yourself it's OK not to be OK! Take time out if you need to, but then get back up again and show the world what you're made of. We can do it!
Becky has suffered with borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression for a few years now. She has lost friends, family and relationships over it and feels that no-one was there to help. Becky soon realised that It was so out of the blue, no-one around her had ever experienced anything like it and didn’t know how to help. It is this that drives Becky's passion to help others, helping herself in the process. Believing that we are #StrongerTogether
Check out Becky's blog here