Many mental illnesses, like many other chronic illnesses, are often cyclical. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this means that at times the illness softens or even goes into a state of “remission,” in which the illness is not as prominent, invasive, difficult, and/or et cetera. This is especially true with mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. I think a full “remission” is rare, but I’ve known people who have reportedly (or rather, self-reportedly) gone for years without symptoms who end up hospitalized after an episode returns. Still, many illnesses are cyclical, like fibromyalgia for example.
A. 3 things I need to let go of:
- the resentful, regretful, and shameful cocktail I feel over not having lived a normal childhood, adolescence, and/or early adulthood
- the damage of interpersonal debris
- that no matter what I do, this body will never be “enough” for my disorders
B. 3 ways to let go:
- learn to value the lessons and experiences I’ve gained through my unique journeys. Journal what I’ve gained from my life and note what is important to me and what is of great importance to me and what has made me better as a person. Evaluate the strengths and traits integral to my identity and virtues because of my experiences and learn to see them for what they are.
- perhaps give support groups a second chance and find others who have struggled with similar experiences in which they also have not undergone normal lives. Commiserate and provide comfort to one another in ways we could not get comfort from people who do not understand.
- recreate some childhood, adolescent, and early adulthood experiences. When I get my GED, maybe have a graduation party of some sort. Plan a party for one of my birthdays, etc. Try to have a “normal” experience, even if it is a couple of years “too” late. Maybe it is never too late.
- stop holding onto irreparable relationships. Let go of relationships that are draining, toxic, or whose problems outweigh the benefits. This is something I am getting better at but still need to work on.
- like with point A, try to value the lessons I’ve learned, the wisdom I’ve gained; try to seek the light that the darkness may shed. Write down positive things I’ve learned and positive things I’ve gained from my experiences, positive or negative, with people from my past, and how they have shaped me to become a better and more multifaceted person.
- surround myself with positive people. Seek positive interpersonal relationships that help uplift and motivate me. Join Meetup groups. Start clubs, go out. Do things. Meet likeminded people who are kind and supportive.
- Focus on my health and take the numbers out of the equation: Try to weigh myself less, count calories less, and stop doing “skinny mathematics.” Instead, focus on getting the appropriate amount of fuel, motion, and love this body needs.
- Try very hard to integrate this body into “my” body; try to feel united with it and make peace with it. Stop fighting a war against myself. Think positive thoughts. Post sticky notes as reminders in the mirror if I have to.
- Be mindful. Drink water when I’m thirsty. Pay attention to hunger cues. Eat until I’m comfortably full. Eat healthy meals. Put good fuel in, not “junk” fuel. Do good things for myself.
Throughout the course of this entry, I already cut off my hOMETOWN. I’ve started on this. I’m doing this. I have to.
This is kind of long so while I hope you’ll read all of it, I’ll write key sentences in bold.
They often suggest goal-setting in psychiatric environments, and I have to say that this is one totally generic, simple thing that has effectively worked for me. For two years now, I’ve used “resolution” binders in which I try to set goals daily in accordance with my New Year’s resolutions. I feel like the biggest problem with achieving New Year’s resolutions is not necessarily motivation (or lack thereof), but the fact that people so often lack a formula or plan to achieve those resolutions. There’s additional complication to that.
In 2015, I set goals such as “lose weight” and “live in less clutter” and wrote down ways to achieve them in bulleted lists. The only goal I accomplished in 2015 was “read 30 books,” which was fairly easy-ish for me, since I love to read, counted some children’s books, and I had just bounced back from a long period of not being able to focus and was so elated that I could. But the way I worded the goals by and large was the problem.