Seasonal depression, self-care time

This past winter season, 2017-2018, I had what I refer to as my Second Worst Seasonal Depression. Good times. I won’t go into details on that, but rather I wanted to talk about something I came up with to help me through it.

Making time for self-care

As I found myself a month or two into what I could sense was a bad seasonal depression, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Part of the reason it was so bad was that I was planning to get a jump start on it and try to stay proactive, but it came on a lot earlier than I expected it to. I wasn’t ready for it. But I came up with this idea, I was going to start taking off one day per month from work for strictly self-care. I’d have one day per month specifically set aside for me and only me. For taking care of my mental state.

At first, I wasn’t sure it would do me much good, but the first date arrived and I was wrong. It was really good for me. And as time moved forward, I found myself planning and looking forward to my one day per month to relax and take care of myself.

Winter proved to be a long one, and I kept up the practice through springtime. But around August, I was scheduling my self-care day and realized I’d been going through all of summer continuing to do it. That was never my intention. I had only intended to do it so long as winter lasted and my mood felt it needed it. So I thought about it, and decided I would keep it anyway for the time being. I had grown so accustomed to it and it really was quite a treat for my self-care.

Last thoughts

Now, not everyone may be in a position to deliberately take off one day per month. And I understand those pains. But your mental health is important, and no one cares more about it than you, so you’ve got to be proactive. And obviously one day a month isn’t all the self-care we should be doing, but as a bare minimum of taking a significant amount of time for one’s self, it was good for me. Ideally, everyone should be allowed to take vacations when they need to, to refresh and keep their sanity. Your health matters, and sometimes that means prioritizing it higher than you normally would. Take time for you. Winter is coming. Make sure you’re getting some self-care time.

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#bipolar, #depression, #mental-health, #mentalhealth

He has mental issues.

Was working the other day and there was a woman talking to a man in a booth about some other man — presumably her boyfriend or ex. I was sweeping around, and trying not to overhear, but she was kinda loud.

At some point, the man kicked into “bros before hoes” mode and began to defend the man’s behavior.

She responded, “There’s no excuse for his actions…”

And I thought, “Go girl.”

But then she finished her thought, “There’s no excuse for his actions, he has mental issues.”

Me, “🤔😐😒😑.”

#bipolar, #depression, #mental-health

Avoidance Behavior

I’m learning something new today, so I might as well share. My doctor pointed me to Avoidance Behavior today, and reading up on it is like reading a depressing autobiography of myself. But here’s some info on it, for all of us, in case it’s new to you too — but really just an old friend that’s been around all this time, you just could never remember their name. Susan? Sally? Sanchez?


avoidance behavior. (noun) a pervasive pattern of avoiding or withdrawing from social interaction; a defense mechanism by which a person removes himself/herself from unpleasant situations.

Dictionary.com

Avoidance coping refers to choosing your behavior based on trying to avoid or escape particular thoughts or feelings. It can involve “doing” (e.g., someone who excessively washes their hands to try to get rid of fears about contamination) or “not doing” (e.g., when someone avoids having an awkward conversation). Avoidance coping causes anxiety to snowball because when people use avoidance coping they typically end up experiencing more of the very thing they were trying to escape.

Psychology Today

#anxiety, #avoidance-behavior, #bipolar, #depression, #health, #mental-health

One of my least favorite feelings in life is when you realize you’re coasting. That things are just moving. Work,…

One of my least favorite feelings in life is when you realize you’re coasting. That things are just moving. Work, home life, whatevs. It’s all on cruise control. I hate it so hard.

Any time you think of changing it up, you tell yourself you don’t have time. You tell yourself not to interrupt the coasting. Don’t turn off cruise control and make your own speed, just keep rolling down the highway in the right lane. Don’t pass anyone. Don’t exit the highway. Don’t make any stops. Don’t take the scenic route. Don’t try that local diner which boasts the best burger in town.

I hate it. So hard.

Time passes, and then you look back with the eyes of regret. You should have stopped. You should have changed lanes. You should have tried that damn burger. But now the road is ending, you’re entering a one-way street, and the diner has been closed for years.

#anxiety, #depression, #featured, #mental-health

QUESTION: Name one thing you have lied to yourself about. Why did you do this?

QUESTION: Name one thing you have lied to yourself about. Why did you do this?

I suffer with bipolar and anxiety, I lie to myself all the time. I lie about big things, like about whether I’m worth anything. I also lie to myself about trivial things; like about how grievous it is to make my own sandwich verses buying one, or how taking a shower and shaving is a long and tedious task, and I don’t have time to do such things. It’s not easy, but it is super important that no matter how many lies our inner-voice tells us, we use another inner-voice to shout they are not true. It’s important to remind ourselves to be in denial of the lies. Otherwise we will let our lies consume our every waking thoughts and lives.

We are worth a damn, it’s easy to make a sandwich, and we feel better when we look our best. Lies were created to hurt, truth uplifts and breaks chains.

What about you? Do you lie to yourself? Sound off in the comments.

#mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #bipolar

Self-torture is not an act of attention

I suppose it’s been said a thousand times, but some folks feel like self-torture or self-mutilation (such as cutting) is an act of attention. But as someone who is bipolar and knows several folks who are also bipolar, let me take a few minutes to talk about self-torture.

If you’re wondering how a post like this would have anything to do with writing (since this is my blog for my writing), think about this: we write characters. And characters, if you play your cards right, should be like real people. Fictional, but realistic. Well, for the most part, sometimes we’re just writing comedy or pulpy stuff and being real doesn’t necessarily have to count for the popcorn style of stories.

Self-torture starts within and can stay there, too

In the image for the post, I gave the Oxford definition of self-torture, because from my perspective I think it really gets to the heart of the matter of self-torture. It states that self-torture is “the act of inflicting pain, especially mental pain, on oneself.” In my experience, and from what I know of others’ experiences, all self-torture (even cutting) starts internally, mentally.

Whether you’re tearing yourself down, feeling worthless or a burden on others, and that manifests itself into cutting or attempted suicide. It’s starting within. It starts inside the head and works its way out, or not. In my case, it typically stays in. I self-torture myself internally, and at most sometimes that affects my health. I can have stomach cramps, or possibly even a panic attack, if I keep torturing myself internally over something. I’ve never taken to cutting, thank goodness, and suicidal ideation has only happened once (and once is enough, so I’m hoping that never happens again).

Badgering, the constant nagging

But you see the thing of self-torture isn’t that people want to try to draw attention to themselves, it is typically a result of badgering themselves for one reason or another. Sometimes they are badgering themselves because they feel guilty about something or like a failure, or they could be badgering themselves for things that haven’t happened or did happen but they keep replaying in their minds.

And again, when I say self-torture, I’m not just talking about physical cutting or torture. It can be a simple badgering of the mind. A constant nagging inside, beating yourself up, dunking yourself through the water-boarding of your mind.

Really, self-torture is not an act of attention, but rather an act of aggression against one’s self.

How self-torture, bipolar, and being aware has affected my writing

As a general rule, I think everything in life affects my writing. All the phases of life, all the characters I meet. All the things learned or unlearned. And being diagnosed bipolar, becoming aware, and having that writer and actor’s gift to analyze I began really examining myself. Kind of the old “write what you know” saying.

I can definitely see where in some of my more recent stories, I’ve become more understanding and better at writing introverts. I am actually an extrovert myself, but being bipolar means I have my moments where I have no desire to be around people and can become very antisocial. Is that the same as being introverted? No. But as I’ve analyzed my behavior more, I’ve become more understanding of introverts.

I’ve also started weaving in bits and pieces of myself into characters. I have a short story I’ve been crafting about an introverted UFO hunter, who has a lot of anxiety. This was a story I had started to work on before my diagnosis, but post-diagnosis I was able to start over and make him a much more believable character. And focusing in on his anxieties, which is something I have, it gives me a platform to talk about those things through him.

#bipolar, #characterization, #depression, #self-torture, #writing