Here at Revenge of Eve we openly discuss mental health. While I am not a resource for maintaining mental health, I suffer from mental illness. I am not ashamed to have multiple diagnoses.
If you are interested, you can find my story here and here.
With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I decided to discuss ways I get on with life, thriving despite my mental illness.
If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I am an avid journal writer. I enjoy using my journal to write my daily activities, thoughts, and plans. I also like to explore my creativity using handmade journals. I am fortunate that my stationery obsession and paper craft hobby collide. Because of this I have many materials to choose from when I want to create.
I collect ephemera and add it to my handmade journals with memos to remind me of the activity or reference it’s origin. Documenting life this way helps me to slow down. Having the tactical items to look back on brings immense joy to my day.
Every Monday I draw cards from multiple decks to help guide my week. From these decks two are affirming and encouraging. You may be familiar with my drawings as I share them here with y’all! The series Monday Morning Mantra is a weekly drawing but a daily reference. I write each phrase, an affirmation and an encouragement, daily in my journal. I use the cards to guide my week. If I find myself struggling with negative thoughts or self-talk, I refer to the cards drawn. It is a practice that works wonders on my mindset 🤓
Believe it or not but journaling is an avenue of self-care. It is the number one way I tend to myself. While I journal I am mindful, present, and actively honoring my thoughts, ideas, and desires. Self-care is often sold as pampering oneself and while that can be considered self-care, there is far more work involved in caring for yourself. Through the years of learning to love myself I learned it takes some elbow grease but once you’ve loosened the years of excess, the gunk wipes away easily. Metaphorically speaking.
Journaling is part of my daily self-care routine. Other ways I take care of myself are by saying no when I cannot commit to something. Albeit whether it’s because I don’t want to or if I can’t, it doesn’t matter. Learning to say no without an explanation has made a positive impact on my life.
I typically do my own manicures and pedicures 1. because it saves money and 2. because I have been professionally trained to do so but recently I paid to enjoy the experience. I started a new job in November and as a reward for sticking it out I paid to have a natural manicure and a pedicure. It was the best $65 ($75 with tip) I’ve spent all year!!
Having a routine is important for our mental health. This isn’t to say that you can’t stray but having a guided timeline for your day is helpful for everyone’s mental stability.
My mental stability is provided by medication, however, having a rough timeline to follow plays a huge role. I wake at the same time, work the same hours, and go to bed about the same time every night. My coffee and food intake habits are sparse throughout the day. Same as other activities; journaling. Trying to balance those is enough to keep me afloat and productive. I try to limit my scrolling time. Some days are better than others.
A huge factor of living with mental illness comes down to support. I receive support from my family. Not financial rather emotional. They challenge me, trust me, encourage me, and most importantly, they listen to me. It hasn’t always been this way though. Having a mood disorder and addictions aren’t the easiest variables to deal with. There have been many misunderstandings, wrong assumptions, and unknowingly, enabling. Luckily we pushed through the difficult times and came out on the other side.
Friendships are an important part on thriving with mental illness. Various forms of relationships can apply. You may have made friends via the internet or it can be a friend that you have in the physical world. Support is support and it can be shown through a variety of routes.
And last but not least; medication. Having bipolar 1 (rapid cycling) means I have elated and depressed moods that shift frequently. These highs and lows can reach dangerous levels when not medicated. Mania (high) often involves impulsivity, irritability, anger, and grandiose ideas. Whereas with depression comes suicidal ideation, oversleeping, overeating, and numbness. These are general symptoms and those I cope with the most.
My medication, when taken correctly, stabilizes the influx in moods. It gives me a baseline that I cannot achieve without it. The unfortunate side effects of my medication are hypoglycemia and I cannot spend time a lot of time in the sun. I am also prone to boredom and feeling flat. My passion for life is nonexistent. That is the worst side effect but it is something I cope with so that I can function as a member of society, ie: work 😒
So how about you? How do you thrive despite mental illness? Do you or someone you love struggle with mental illness?