So, here I am, creating a blog focused on helping others learn more about mental illnesses and cope with chronic conditions. It’s something I’m very passionate about, for sure, but I need to stress that I am not an expert. In fact, I frequently fail to listen to my own advice. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been in therapy for years. It doesn’t matter that I have a fantastic psychiatrist. Sometimes, I just fail.
Time for another book review! This one is a little different from my last few. Usually I pick one of my favorite fiction novels, as I tend to read when I’m stressed. This time, however, I want to review a book we picked up for my daughter on a whim.
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Stuff That Sucks is a teen self-help styled guide written by Ben Sedley, and it talks about exactly what the title suggests, a whole bunch of sucky stuff (including the stuff that makes the stuff that sucks suck more). Thankfully, he also talks about ways to accept this and not let it get in the way of what’s important to you.
I’m going to start this post out by confessing something… I LOVE roller coasters. My favorites are the ones that zoom around with twists and turns and maybe a couple loops. I am not a fan, however, of the ones that launch you in the air like a rocket and then drop you just as fast. Those are just too much for me. Why does this little fact matter? Well, one of the most common analogies for bipolar disorder is a roller coaster ride. As always with mental illnesses, not all will find this accurate, but for me it works pretty well. Let me explain why.
It happens to every parent. You’re going about your day when you suddenly notice the massive pile of clothes in the middle of the floor. And then you see the juice on the counter because someone didn’t bother putting it away. And then, it’s the chewed up pen that the dog got to, and the baby is screaming, and you have to make dinner but there are no pans, and, and, and. And suddenly, you snap.
“That’s it! I’m done! Do your own dirty work from now on,” you say, stomping off to your room and slamming the door.
9 years ago, I was sold a lie. That in itself is bad enough, but the heartbreak of it was that I had no idea until it was too late. In fact, lies are told to new parents every day, and in the most oblivious way. Well wishers and proud parents tell you how lucky you are and how much you’re going to treasure your new child. When they’re born, you’ll look into those big eyes and your heart will swell.
Well, guess what. That’s not necessarily true. Let me tell you a story about what it was like for me.
In the mental health community, there is a ton of talk about the importance of self care and coping mechanisms. Both of these are critical parts of the healing process, but today we’re going to focus on coping. I hear you asking: Cope with what? Well, that’s the thing. Joys of bipolar and all means there’s an awful lot you have to cope with. So, here are my top ten that I use pretty much no matter how I’m feeling.
Finding time for the little moments can be incredibly hard these days, especially with all the things vying for our attention. In the world of mental health, however, the little moments can make all the difference. This is the story of my moment, found in the span of just a few moments.
Let’s be honest here…life with mental illness is a full time job. Some days are not bad, some are even good, but some are completely horrendous. For myself, most days fall into the “not bad” category, where I can function and even have good moments, but they’re still colored by an underlying depression. The good days are a treasure. The bad days, though… The bad days can be really bad. On those days I lie in bed, watch TV, and pray it ends soon. On those days, it feels like the only way to keep going is by distracting myself, but that leaves me with a question. Is distraction a healthy way to cope, or am I making things worse?
I have a confession to make. I’m one of those “trendy” folks currently riding high on the bullet journal train. Admittedly, I didn’t get started with it out of any great desire to fit in. I had just gotten frustrated by the lack of adaptability of traditional planners. My needs tend to change based on the time of year, so a published planner ends up only being useful for a short time. Enter the bullet journal.
Over the last 9 years, my daughter and I have had to work especially hard to find ways to connect when I’m completely disconnected. In any relationship, taking the time to bond with one another is obviously critical, but when you deal with chronic depression, you often can’t even find the motivation to get out of bed, let alone do something with someone else. We thought it might be nice to share what we’ve discovered to see if it helps anyone else!