Anyone suffering from any form of mental illness will know just how difficult it sometimes is to cope from a day-to-day basis. I actually often find that because I got a bit of help (6 weeks of free counselling and a few anxiety meds) there is an expectation for me to be completely fine all the time. This is ridiculous. Just because I’m ‘recovering’ doesn’t mean I can’t have bad days.
Thankfully, the good days majorly outweigh the bad and I am a happy lil’ bun most of the time. It’s not without work though, so here are some things I do in order to help feel okay. Now this list is personal to me and are only a few things I find work for me, everyone is different so please don’t interpret this as ‘Ciara’s Universal Cure For Depression’.
Remind myself every day of how far I’ve come
This one is so simple. I am so proud of the person I am today. I came from shutting everyone out, self-harming every single night and barely speaking 10 words a week to engaging with everyone I meet, spreading positivity and a solid 6+ months fully clean from self-harm (and 1049 days since I asked for help though!).
Allow myself to love, and share that with others
I used to be afraid to love anything or anyone because that could so easily have been ripped away from me, sometimes due to my own actions. This is no way to live. If you are depriving yourself of love because of the fear of losing it, you’re doing it wrong hun. Sometimes (and it hurts) we have to experience loss of love in order to truly appreciate the love in our lives.
Think of 8 year old Ciara
In today’s modern society there are so many expectations for young women (and men) to meet and when we don’t meet the criteria created for us, we often put ourselves down. Why? Because we don’t meet an unattainable (yes, unattainable because no matter how we look, it will never be enough for our twisted society) beauty standard? Oh bore off, beauty is in everything. Flowers, animals, music, art, fairy lights. All these things are so different but all beautiful so maybe… just throwing this out here… beauty is a matter of personal opinion and ~sometimes~ goes deeper than the surface??? When we don’t meet these silly beauty standards, we put ourselves down. When I begin throwing abuse at myself, I imagine I’m saying all those things to my 8 year old self. Do I really wanna tell an 8 year old that she’s too fat or ugly? Ummm no.
Know my limits, and respect them
Not every day will be a good day. There will be bad days. Take these in your stride. Don’t fight them, acknowledge them, feel them, and when you’re ready, move on from them. It could take one day, one week or longer. That’s okay, it’s not a leap backwards on your journey to happiness, it’s simply a bend in the road. Keep going.
Trivial? Yes. Important? Hell fucking yes. A bath is not going to cure your depression, but it can give you the 10 minutes of peace that you’ve needed all day. A face mask won’t make you the happiest soul in the world, but it can give you a confidence boost to get through the day. A candle won’t mask the darkness that you feel but a certain scent can remind you of a happier time, and sometimes that’s enough to feel better for a while. If you’re taking meds, take your meds, but you can also run a bath and have some ‘me time’.
I got inspiration for this post after having a long, late-night chat with a friend. He is currently battling some pretty bad demons and he is really hard on himself about it. He wants to get better and that’s the first step. Over time he will find his own things that help keep the darkness at bay. It’s easy for me to be ignorant and get frustrated at him for being so negative, but I have remind myself that I’ve been in the game for a long time, and I was the exact same before I learned how to help myself. He will learn too, but that’s something he has to do for himself, all I can do is lend an ear and comfort him when he needs me.
Until next time…