Living with a mentally ill mind
I've been dealing with depression since I was in secondary school and social anxiety disorder even longer and I think I've done a relatively good job. I did finally reach a breaking point, but not counting my love life I'm quite well off on most areas in my life. Great relation to my family, lots of friends, lots of hobbies, bachelor's degree, voluntary work, fitness etc.
I hid it. I hid it for very long time and I hid it well. At first it was harder and I would "break character" more often, but after a while the fake smile, fake laugh and acting positive and confident became more and more natural for me. It would become a natural reaction for me and it even affected my personality.
...after a while the fake smile, fake laugh and acting positive and confident became more and more natural for me.
2. Keeping myself and my mind busy
Can't think about sad thoughts when you're too busy with other things. Escapism.. Video games was at first the biggest thing for me. I would just immerse myself in them and you could say at worst it was an addiction for me. I also watched a lot of TV and spent as much time with friends as I possibly could (though the anxiety would start hampering that eventually). Then came masturbating, anime, manga, alcohol, partying... When I started university I immersed myself in it and my student guild and it's activities and voluntary work. My schedule was full months on end, I drank way too much alcohol.. You might already guess why I reached a breaking point, huh?
3. Pushing my boundaries
Around the time I started upper secondary school I started pushing through my comfort zone mostly with the help of my friends, they really pushed me to do it. I started a band, started drinking, going to parties, started talking to girls.. I felt anxious 24/7, but school was so easy for me it didn't really hinder me. After some time I got used to being anxious all the time and it didn't feel as bad anymore. I coped with it and keeping busy helped.
After some time I got used to being anxious all the time and it didn't feel as bad anymore.
4. Taking one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time..
The shitty feeling was easier to take in smaller portions so I just had small goals through out the day, week and month. Getting through a hard day or week really felt like an accomplishment and it kept me going. I was always chasing that feeling that all my responsibilities are done and I don't have stress for a bit. The feeling wouldn't last long, but it was the best feeling I had (only thing I had..).
5. Finding things that calm me down and release my feelings
First thing that I found to do the trick was walking, aimless walking. I loved doing it in the middle of night often listening to music and sometimes smoking cigarettes (not much really anymore though..). It's the only time I could get my thoughts in any order. Then I found talking to a certain person that would help and finally crying, which was a great release (though I can't do it anymore). That was it for the longest time until recently when I've found that writing and ASMR do the trick.
So did I do things right or wrong?
Results weren't that bad.. I've done fairly OK in life so far.. Well, it's a little bit of both. Faking till you make it, is not really that bad advice, but taking it too far is. Faking a smile does actually help you be more happy, but completely hiding your feelings is very unhealthy. Pushing my boundaries, faking happy, confident and social did help me become more of those things, but I did loose a bit of myself along the way. Keeping myself busy did help me live my life, but it also kept me from dealing with my problems and resulted in a mental breakdown.
I guess the take away is, that you should do many of the things mentioned above, but in moderation and you should not hide. The worst mistake I made was hiding my problems and my feelings. There's a time to hide them, but it's not all the time. We all need to get in touch with our feelings and I'm still working on it.
There's a time to hide them, but it's not all the time. We all need to get in touch with our feelings
The most important way too deal with a mental illness is to tell someone about it, get in touch with a medical professional and start the healing process.
Have a good day..