I’ve had a lot of time for thinking and self reflection lately, which has been a mixed bag in terms of mental health recovery, if I’m honest.
I have LOTS of things I use as crutches on an almost daily basis. I drink, I smoke (after a break of almost a year, stupid head that I have), I lean on people online (and not enough on real life actual people). I cook, I decorate, I clean and I cross stitch and I cut my arms and legs. So as you can see I have a fair few maladaptive strategies in my arsenal alongside a couple of reasonable ones.
I’m attending therapy three or four times a week right now and again, it’s been a mixed bag. Mindfulness is the one that I find least helpful. You’re supposed to focus on the now in order to ground yourself but I find the breathing and meditating makes me feel like I’m on the ceiling looking down. They keep telling me it takes time to really get it so I’m looking forward to the day I can accept my thoughts and concentrate on the present moment, and be all zen and shit.
I also do a project group and a recovery skills workshop, and I do find these really useful, it’s more about peer support really and my fellow madzers are wonderful at making me feel less of an anomaly. It’s amazing how helpful it is to hear other people talking about their own depression, I do find that grounding. Plus I like making stuff, and we literally do basket weaving in one of the sessions
But in my real life I forget all the useful recovery skills I’ve learned and I’m still going straight for the booze, food and fags, and yes, occasionally the razor when I feel wobbly. I need to remember that these are bear traps, not crutches. But it’s very hard when your brain is screaming at you.
I’ve pretty much decorated the whole house in the last month or two. I do a room or a project in a day and I find it a useful distraction from the buzz in my head. But I’ll have done it all soon and I’m a wee bit terrified of what I’ll do then. As most of you know, impulsive is my middle name and I am the Queen of life changing decisions on a whim. So if I do happen to mention buying a racehorse or sailing round the world, you must promise to sit on me.
My project for the next week is to use the crutches that are sensible and to remember to avoid the bear traps. I’ve turned into something of a domestic goddess lately (I even IRON for heaven’s sake…) so throwing myself into the housework is a good strategy, although it does lead to impulsive cushion purchases.
I’ve also bought a Fitbit (there goes my impulsivity again) and I’m dutifully totting up my steps and logging my calorie intake, so when the urge to do something silly strikes I am taking myself off for long walks with the dog to clock up the miles.
My challenge is to get through the week without treading on any bear traps (smoking notwithstanding as they have told me not to try giving that up again yet) and to properly identify those things that I can use as crutches without causing harm.
I’m keeping on keeping on and it’s hard but I’ll be back to my usual cheery self soon, I’m sure. I’ll keep blogging because that is a good crutch for me and it’s good to keep a diary of how I’m feeling, and all will be well.