MH: What does “Look after Yourself”, “Rest”, “Being Kind to Yourself” Actually Mean?

When a friend of mine broke their collarbone in an incident involving her cat. She was put into a sling with regular fracture clinic visits and told to rest the arm. She absolutely ignored this advice and as a result, has made her recovery more convoluted.

With physical illness it is always easy, broken arm – rest the arm, broken leg – stay off the leg. What happens when it’s your brain? You can’t stay off your brain. How do you rest your brain? When people ask you to look after yourself, to rest and be kind to yourself. What does this actually mean? I used to think this meant I had to get of the house, go for walks, clear my head, meet friends, do yoga, etc.

To be completely honest, sometimes some of those things really helped but equally, sometimes they made things worse. When you’re suffering from a mental illness, looking after yourself is a priority and you have a responsibility to yourself. That means letting yourself heal.

What does healing involve? Listen to yourself. If that means meeting your friends for dinner, do that, at other times, if that means cancelling because you can’t face it do that. Do whatever you need to, to get you through the day. Live day to day and when things are bad, hour to hour.

When you’re in the thick of it. It feels like that dark cloud will never pass, sometimes that the tears won’t stop streaming and the numbness, god the numbness, will be permanent.

Take solace in the fact it will pass, I promise you.

#MH Tips Doctor’s Appointments

 

For years I thought it was my fault, my brain told my psyche that I was inexplicably upset daily. I spent years trying to train myself to deny this reality. This was the epitome of stupidity, turning away from a demon may provide temporary respite but in the long run, this will always leave you blind sighted.

 

If you feel sad, not right, flat, have intrusive thoughts, go through mood swings regularly. You’re probably ill. You may need help, I mean medical help. Please, you deserve to be well. Go to the doctors.

 

Tips for your doctor’s appointment.

 

  1. Book a double appointment – it was hard for me to get to the doctors and when the doctor said I was out of time before I declare my issue. I bottled it and ran home.
  2. Get there early, I’ve turned up to an appointment 3 mins late and again bottled it and ran home.
  3. Make a list of what you want to say. Without this, it’s hard, to be honest with a relative stranger. It easier to lie and run home.
  4. Take a friend – it’s hard to bottle it a run away when you’re with someone
  5. Listen to the medical professional, if they offer you medication consider it carefully. I’ll come back to this later.

 

Running home serves no one well, least of all yourself. Other than my legs that is, as you may have inferred I bottled it a lot.

 

Pills, happy pills, anti-depressants and SSRI’s, you know the addictive and prescribed to crazy people. Right stop, if we are going to make a difference in the lives of young people we are going to have to be brave for them.

 

Medication is medication. The only thing it means is that your doctor thinks it will help

in the treatment of your illness. If there is a stigma around that, let us turn it into a positive one. You are getting the support you need.

 

If you do not get the answers you need. Book into another doctor. I have had all manner of silly things been said to me.

 

“You don’t look depressed”

 

“Take walks every day”

 

“You’re a little young to be feeling this way”

 

You are important, you have a responsibility to your self.