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Things To Get Excited About When You’re Struggling With Mental Illness

Things To Get Excited About When You’re Struggling With Mental Illness
  • On November 5, 2014

I haven’t been having a great time lately. My medication was doing a shitty job of controlling my bipolar disorder, and I was doing a shitty job of admitting that my medication wasn’t working.

When the thing you want most in the world is to be mentally stable it can be hard to admit that you’re not.

I finally sucked it up and adjusted my meds, which had an almost immediate effect. The thing about meds, at least for me, is that I can’t always tell if they’re working. It’s like being inside a newly painted house. The changes are there, and they’re drastic, but that doesn’t mean that I see them.

I start noticing that I’m getting better when little things start happening. When small, everyday activities stop being a struggle I know I’m recovering. That’s when I get excited. It’s like Christmas, only without the social obligations and the guilt of gift-inequality.

Here’s a list of things I’ve gotten excited about this week (because they’re signs I’m getting better):

1) I’ve been showering regularly, and I haven’t had to force myself or be nagged into it by my husband. (Hey. Mental illness doesn’t always smell good.)

2) I waxed my eyebrows today for the first time in three months. I didn’t have to force myself to do it. (This “not forcing myself” thing is kind of a theme with this list.)

2.5) I also painted my nails.

3) I got caught up on my laundry. This means I washed a month’s worth of clothes and towels. It sucked. I was so pleased, because I was able to do a thing that sucked.

3.5) I discovered that I have too many clothes.

4) I interacted with my children in a meaningful way. This one was exciting for everyone.

5) I read a book.

6) I played some video games.

(5 and 6 are exciting because they’re not “I scrolled blindly through Twitter and Tumblr for 8 hours straight”. Trust me, this is a massive achievement on my best day.)

7) I got dressed. Well, technically I changed into different pajamas, but I live a life of leisure, so it’s basically the same thing.

8) I put on my FitBit. I didn’t meet any goals, I didn’t even keep an eye on how many steps I took, but I put it on, and that’s a step (so to speak) in the right direction.

9) I voluntarily left my house in order to socialize with actual people. Twice. I get bonus points for this because I put on actual pants and a bra to do it.

10) I admitted when I needed help meeting my obligations. This is hard when I’m doing really poorly, because I so badly want to be healthy. In fact, I have a tendency to commit to things that I can’t do. Because if I push hard enough, I can force myself to be okay, right? (Nope.)

The biggest thing I’m excited about? That I was finally able to see that I wasn’t okay. Just like you can’t see your newly painted exterior from the inside of the house, it can be hard to see it when your mental paint is flaking and your emotional gutters are falling off.

It’s the little things that tell you you’re going to be okay.


Image courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife under creative commons license cc by-nd 2.0

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