How I Cope in 6 Methods.
I deal with a lot of mental baggage, which has manifested into a litany of lettered diagnoses. I am not using them as a badge of honor, or something to be proud of. They are a burden, and they present challenges for me daily.
Every person has to deal with their demons appropriately, using healthy mechanisms, but I can give you some ideas which help me navigate the minefield of my head:
1. Understand these thoughts are irrational despite how real they feel. Learning that skill is hard for some because those thoughts can be insanely powerful and feel like the unequivocal truth. They aren’t. They are simply a manifestation of what your issues are presenting to you.
2. Nothing is forever. Nothing. The darkness passes and returns. Don’t neglect the hard work when the work seems easy. It is extremely difficult to be rational when your brain tells you otherwise, but that work becomes easier when the fog is lifted. It reminds me of the quote, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” We all know that to be bullshit, but the meaning behind the phrase is important. People do the hardest work when shit is the hardest. Nope. You need to prepare for the time when your struggles rear up and smack you in the face, not to just deal with it as it comes.
3. Identify your triggers. Depression and anxiety can slam you without warning, but you can work on identifying possible trigger events that push you into that zone. Once you ID those triggers, you can work on developing skills to combat how they affect you.
4. Get fucking help. Professional help. Your wife/husband/partner is not your therapist. You want to ruin your relationship fast, make that person your therapist, and watch them lose attraction for you, respect, and love. This is non-debatable. Nobody wants to fuck a person, they have to walk on eggshells around or “parent.”
5. Medication works. Medication works better with #4 in play. Dismissing pharmaceuticals under the pretense that “Big Pharma is corrupt” is fucking stupid. If you want to believe the tinfoil hat bullshit, you are only hurting yourself.
6. Focus on one thing a day that makes you proud. Every day we do something, see something, or experience something which makes us feel some hope. It could be something your kid said or did. It could be as simple as the feeling of being outside taking in the fresh air. Today, for me, it was as simple as hopping on my cycle at 4:45am and taking off to work when it was 35 degrees outside. It was fucking cold, but it made me feel alive. The frigid wind biting against my neck, my hands going cold despite gloves, and the speed of my bike on an empty road with my lights illuminating my path. For that few minute ride to opening the gym, it was the best beginning of a day. You need to find those moments every day. Write about them, make them into a notecard you keep in your wallet or purse. Remind yourself how amazing life can be and take the little things to heart.
I will never be okay. I will never fully heal. This is a lifelong struggle, and one day I may lose my battle to it. I rule nothing out, because who knows where I will be in ten years.
It doesn’t mean I will allow it to win. It means I will decide how much it beats me when it wins.