A lot of us will at some point suffer from mental health issues, some so much that they cannot function and others who just get on with it. I used to be one of the “get on with it” until I simply could not carry out the simplest of tasks. Life continues and we all move with it. How we feel is not constant. I am now coming out the other end, and I want to talk about a few things that are helping me at the moment.
I can see that as my mental health went down hill, so did my organisational skills. Maybe skills is not the right word, they are still there, but certainly the desire to being organised and keeping on top of things became too much. By this I mean simple things like having a good filing system, both physical and on the computer; having somewhere to put my stuff down when I come in from work which is my own space and it won’t get touched or moved; having books and music easily accessible on tablet or phone, and also passwords for everything. I feel when things are not organised that there is chaos in my head and it is difficult to function. This only adds to the feelings of depression and anxiety, it makes it worse and becomes a vicious circle.
Over the last few weeks I have been able to, and wanted to, get organised again. This includes sorting the above, as well as starting writing a journal and having a non-digital calendar, the one you write in using a pen. I have been in a better place recently and I feel a lot of this is down to the shift I am going through, which I believe is thanks to CBT and counselling. Writing in a journal and/or calendar means all my thoughts and things to do are written down for me to see, and once I’ve written it I can put the thoughts away as I know they are there for me to read as and when I want to. Writing this way works for me, but you might find that making notes online or similar works better for you. I find it is very beneficial actually using a pen to write on paper and it can be very therapeutic. I use pretty colours too which possible helps 🙂
If you’re anything like me, you have a hundred and one things to do. It is simply not possible to complete all tasks, and this is when you need to prioritise. I have started prioritising me more than before, and what I want to do in order to get better.
Prioritise goals and tasks
There are things I want to do for various goals, be it short-term and long-term, as well as various tasks. An example of a goal is to be well enough to come off my medication. This is a long-term goal that currently does not have a time frame on it. I have loosely said about a year but I don’t feel it is appropriate to put an exact date in for this. Examples of the tasks are going food shopping, cleaning the house and going to the dentist. I try to ensure that I work towards my goals every day whilst also completing tasks. It is so easy to simply do the tasks but this won’t bring you closer to your goals. You might need to become a bit selfish in order to do this. I am very lucky that I have Helen who always does a lot, because that is how she is. I am trying to make sure that I find a happy medium there so I don’t annoy her by not contributing, but she would also tell me to pull my weight if she felt that I did not.
It is very safe to make lists, plan, organise everything and certainly very much within the comfort zone. I find I am not quite as good as taking action. This again is something that I used to be better at, whereas now there is this nagging thought that stops me from doing just that. I need to have a conversation or argument with myself before being able to take action. This is something you can work on, like I do. I am trying to just throw myself out there and do whatever it is that needs doing, preferably just diving in before the brain and thoughts even have time to stop me.
Examples of taking action
One example of this is the counselling. I first became aware of this counselling place almost 2 years ago now, but I did not do anything about it. Then I had a pretty bad day and just went for it, I made a self referral and got an appointment for the week after. I had gotten to a point again where I needed more help, and this is absolutely fine. I am so much better for it.
Another example is throwing myself into a physical challenge, which I will tell you about in a later post. Suffice to say it will be both physically and mentally challenging. We were out walking a couple of weeks ago and this thought popped in to my head. It is something we talked about several times before, but not done anything about. I blurted it out without thinking and luckily Helen thought it was a marvellous idea. I certainly got a buzz from just going for it without thinking about it before. Thinking about something is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it stops you from doing what you want and you end up worrying and getting anxious then clearly this is not good.
It is important also to recognise when you have done something you were putting off, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing so. Without action, failure or success we cannot move on.
Don’t let your thoughts
stop you. Act on the good before your thoughts have time to put in an