What I Do When Dealing With Mental Health
Acknowledging that I have depression and anxiety made me feel liberated. If I was a prisoner of my own sad thoughts, bound in chains, then recognizing my own mental health issues is like the light that leads me out of the dark cave. It also felt like a confirmation that this is not merely a result of poor life choices but rather an accumulated series of events and situations that put my mental and emotional state in constant stress.
In my last blog post, I mentioned how I succumbed into depression and what were the steps I did to recover. I never went into full detail because I think it’s counterintuitive to go back into that dark place. Sometimes, however, I do go back, not voluntarily and completely unannounced. Whenever that happens, I do various things to help me stay afloat from my own dark thoughts:
I write. I usually write on this plain notebook that I kept lying around at home or post a series of tweets on Twitter if I’m at work. I think writing keeps my thoughts and emotions in check, allowing me to handle the emotional stressors in a healthier way. Plus, it’s a good exercise for improving my writing.
I watch Anna Akana’s videos. Anna Akana is one of my favorite YouTuber and I think what I like about her is that she never shies away from speaking up certain topics, most especially about mental health issues. Her videos are funny, insightful, and very much relatable to the current issues we millennials face . The last video I’ve watched entitled "Stop Stalking Your Ex” and I thought it was so timely to my current situation (but to be clear, we’re not referring to my ex).
I sleep. After an emotionally and mentally draining day, all I want to do is sleep. Sleep is a break from all that negativity and I’d like to think that it gives me an opportunity to start again… and hopefully, tackle the problem from a different perspective.
I go to my therapist. This is usually my last option when I’ve exhausted all means to be okay. For reasons I can’t explain, an hour with my therapist does help wonders. I always feel like my head is in a better place after a session. If going to a clinic for a weekly session is not your thing (or you’re not ready yet to do it face-to-face), you can also opt for online therapy instead.
Of course, these activities are only there to help me cope with my mental health but I believe that true healing will still come from within.
One of the issues I had to address is how to handle toxic people. I get all worked up knowing that some people are toxic but I can’t cut them off because of reasons. Naturally, I try to avoid toxic people but there are some who’s out for mayhem—people who will literally go out of their way just to make other people’s lives miserable. While I can’t control the people around me, especially their toxic behavior, I have the ability to control how I respond.
The last incident where I had to deal with a toxic person happened a few weeks ago. It was so stressful that I had to file for sick leave and see my therapist the very next day. As much as I want to establish a good rapport with this person, I decided that it just wasn’t worth it. This person, even from the beginning, wanted to disturb my personal peace and I decided it would be best to just block her. Best. Decision. Ever!
I’m a very emotional person and when I get upset, it’s harder for me to focus and do things. I allow my emotions to get in the way too much that I could no longer function. It never occurred to me that my own emotions were getting in the way until my therapist had pointed it out. In order to become better, I had to become emotionally aware of my own thoughts. I had to reframe how I think and accept that it’s okay to feel certain emotions.
Trust me, there is no one straight path towards self-healing. There are days where I’ll feel like I’ve taken a huge step forward you take three steps back. But in the end, when you know for a fact that you have taken active steps to get better, it will all be worth it.