When I am ready to go to sleep, I always devolve into an insecure mess. The pit of my soul feels empty, I sometimes feel like I don’t exist, and all of the negative thoughts that I was able to keep at bay come rushing in over my barricades. Maintaining those barricades requires energy and focus, things that I don’t have late at night. This is typically my most dangerous time. These days I have the tools to be able to talk myself through, to say, “This is just for now, you’re tired, and everything will be better in the morning.” But historically this was when I would make stupid decisions, like cutting or overdosing or something else destructive. I always dread nighttime, and I look forward to every morning.
I am trying to write something but I keep starting over and over. I have so many stories and they’re all so long that it’s difficult to condense them or even pick the one that I feel will have the most impact.
Sometimes I find it difficult to write here simply because things are going pretty well for me right now. I journal all the time, but those details are more sensitive and could hurt some people if I shared them (time will dull that and allow me to share). I had a fun weekend, with a friend and my cousin hanging out for hours on Saturday. Then an adventure in the Village on Sunday with M, a day of studying on Monday, and a great day with good news yesterday. What I’ve been trying to write is actually for a charity that might want me to blog for them, which is very exciting. But it helped me notice that I tend to write mostly about negative experiences. I suppose this makes sense since I’m trying to focus on mental health in this blog, but I can’t help but feel like I could balance this and actually put more of a positive spin on mental health than I have been doing.
The nice thing about saying “mental health” vs “mental illness” is that it indicates an equilibrium vs. being sick. You can have poor metal health at times but great mental health at others, and somewhere in the middle there is balance. Right now my mental health is pretty damn great. I still work very hard to keep it that way. I make sure that I’m not under too much stress, I try to take care of things as they come up (though I have some hanging over my head right now), I take all of my meds every day, I go to therapy with my tdoc at least twice a week, I meet with my psychiatrist every week or so for maintenance, and I take time to think either by journaling or blogging every day.
Like most people, I have a running dialogue in my head. This internal conversation is part of what keeps me sane. I think, oh they looked at me funny, I must be a terrible person because I’m so fat and awful, and then I respond with, that’s ridiculous, they probably weren’t even reacting to you, you’re not an awful person just because they looked in your direction. It’s constant. A negative thought followed by a positive reaffirming thought, if I’m paying attention. If I let my guard down, the negative thoughts string together until I finally interrupt them and have to talk myself back into a positive frame of mind.
Physical health takes work, dedication, and time. The same goes for mental health, especially when you have a psychiatric disorder. And therapy is for the good times too. You can unravel far more of the deep stuff when you’re not in crisis (think, you can exercise more when you’re not injured). So here I am, in maintenance, hoping another crisis doesn’t come my way but ready if it does.