Long time no blog huh? You’re probably wondering where and how I’ve been (or not lol) so I wanted to share a bit of what’s been going on in my life lately. But before I go into coping when mental illness takes it toll on blogging, I would like to thank my awesome readers and fellow bloggers for checking in on me. You are so amazing, and I’m grateful for you. When I first started blogging I didn’t think anyone would read a single word I wrote and it means so much to connect with such a wonderful group of people and know that you all enjoy my content. Thank you.
FIRST, A LIFE UPDATE
Its only right since I’ve been away for a while. Some time ago in an Instagram post, I shared that I was taking a mental health break from blogging with no idea of a full return. At first I thought this was the dumbest decision ever because I had only started blogging back in May, but I had to listen to what my brain was telling me.
These past few months were pure emotional chaos. I would cry without knowing why I was crying, be upset without knowing why I was upset, feel confused when there was nothing to be confused about, the list goes on. There were moments when it felt like I was experiencing (almost) every emotion at once.
I’d have these sudden bursts of energy out of nowhere. It made me feel powerful, unstoppable even, but not enough for me to sit down and write a new blog post, let alone publish a post I had already written. I would think about this blog a lot, feeling worried and asking myself questions about how I’d be perceived when I return:
“Will I be viewed as an inconsistent blogger?” “How long will it take to boost my website views again?” “What about my Pinterest?” “What if no one ever reads the blog again?”
Ugh, problems. But, at least I had some decent moments as well. Here’s a break down of some great and not-so-great moments during my mental health break:
I TURNED 30 YEARS OLD!!!! (On September 27th)
Bad bitch in progress: I was able to get a workout in (almost) every day, despite being in complete shambles. They were only 7-10 minutes long, but it’s physical activity nonetheless.
Full bladder (every five seconds) much? I’ve been drinking more water consistently (a gallon a day), and I gave up juice!
Thanks to my psych team, I am able to officially register my cat as an emotional support animal.
I was able to make each and every medical appointment. As someone who is notorious for missing doctors appointments, I’m proud of myself.
I’ve gotten my daughter logged onto her virtual classes on time every day, and she’s doing exceptionally well. She even made scholar of the week!
I couldn’t bring myself to publish any posts, nor was I able to edit any previously saved drafts.
My mental health was not in the best state. I needed extra sessions with my Psych team.
Since the algorithm change (+ my mental health break), my Pinterest analytics tanked drastically.
I dared to check on my website analytics. My monthly visitor count tanked a bit as well. I mean, it’s a given I guess. I was away.
My sleep cycle has been way off. I found it so difficult to fall sleep at night.
I found out my rapid weight gain culprit is one of my medications that works very well for me. Why can’t I have nice things?
I’m torn between continuing a medication that works (but causes weight gain), and trying a new medication that’s more weight neutral, but has the chance of not working at all.
I’ve been dealing with body image issues lately. (But when this body gets snatched, you can’t tell me NOTHING!)
While brain dumping, I read everything back to myself. My thoughts were so negative. Is THAT what goes on in my brain during the day?
My natural nails grow very long. I broke one and had to cut all my other nails short again. Lol not the biggest deal but I was pretty pissed.
ITS SCARY SOMETIMES
The thought (or fear even) of mental illness taking its toll on your goals (or daily life in general) can be a daunting experience. It can feel like you’re engaged in a battle with your brain.
My brain and I have been disagreeing for quite some time now (I’m not the most comfortable sharing my diagnoses yet, please respect this), and its a pretty tough fight at times. When it becomes too large a fight, I like to take certain steps to help bring myself to a better place. If you’re in the same boat as me, (or maybe you’re just feeling a little down or uninspired), hopefully you can gain some inspiration from what I do to cope when mental illness takes its toll on my blogging progress.
HOW I COPE WHEN MENTAL ILLNESS TAKES ITS TOLL ON BLOGGING
1. BECOME EMOTIONALLY AWARE
There is great strength in admitting you’re not feeling emotionally well. When we do this, not only does it help us work through our emotions, it helps to find a solution to whatever is causing them. We must also remind ourselves that it is okay to feel our emotions, and that they are normal no matter how positive or negative. You can’t control the fact that you have a mental illness, but it is possible to control how you respond to the negative emotions associated with our mental illness.
2. CONTACT MY PSYCH TEAM
When (mental) times are hard, the first thing I do is contact my psych team for advice or extra sessions. Extra sessions allow me to get more off my chest, further dig into my mind, and explore alternate treatment options.
3. CALL OR TEXT A MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINE
If my psych team isn’t available in time (I understand they do have other patients and other dealings) or the extra sessions just aren’t enough, I will reach out to a mental health hotline. In some cases, not seeing a person face to face helps me to not consider body language.
Sometimes I over-analyze when speaking to others about my personal business, so saying what I have to say and not worrying about a person looking at me works for me. If someone wants to “silently judge”, its better if I can’t see them rather than me noticing a change in their face or body movements when I say certain things. That’s part of the reason why I’m loving these virtual sessions with my psych team.
Calling a mental health hotline can also help you find your own therapist according to your budget. They can connect you to centers providing free mental health services, or even help you find health insurance coverage.
4. LISTEN TO SOME CALMING (OR NOT SO CALMING) MUSIC
I think we can all agree when I (or anyone) say music can help heal or soothe. There’s no set rule for what kind of music is soothing to any given person, and I feel that’s the beauty of it all. Here’s some of the playlists I listen to when I’m not feeling well:
Grounding is a way to take yourself away from negative, challenging, or unwanted feelings and emotions. Its like a mental distraction to help you focus on the present. A few of my favorite grounding techniques include:
Taking notice of the world around me: If I happen to lose touch with reality, I will use this technique as a means to stimulate my five senses and remind me of where I am. I’ll describe what’s around me, being as detailed as possible. Example: If I’m sitting on the grass during a sunny day, I would say, “The grass feels soft beneath my body. The air has fresh smell. I can feel the warmth from the sun on my skin. The grass is very green. It feels wet under my hands. I can hear the wind. That tree trunk is brown, and so on”.
Picturing someone I love: Taking a mental picture (or video) of someone you love can help soothe you. In this instance I would think of my daughter’s face or voice. Ill think of her speaking to me positively or the both of us playing a game together.
Cuddling with my pet: When JoJo (my cat) is willing, I like to cuddle with him and pet his soft fur while he purrs. Purring is a way for cats to soothe themselves which is amazing because it helps soothe me as well. It gives me the satisfaction knowing he feels safe around me. I also enjoy when he rubs up against me. Of course that means he’s marking his territory because I belong to him and not the other way around, but yea, cats own us. If you know, you know.
7. TAKE CARE OF MY PHYSICAL SELF
Caring for your physical self can help improve your mental self. You can help by: eating right, drinking your water, getting enough sleep, and engaging in physical activity (yes, that includes sex if possible).
8. GET INTO JOURNAL WRITING IF I CAN
I journal A LOT. When I’m not feeling well, I like to brain dump, fully write out all my thoughts and feelings no matter how negative, or whether or not it makes sense. It helps because getting my thoughts onto paper acts as a transfer of feelings for me. I would sometimes read my thoughts back to myself for evaluation purposes, and I’m usually surprised at what’s inside my head.
9. TAKE PART IN ACTIVITIES I LOVE
It helps to take part in activities you love the most (of course with Covid it may have been a little difficult this time around). One of my favorite things to take part in is arts and crafts. Arts and crafts remind me of grade school art class and let’s me tap into my creative side. It also allows me to show my daughter the crafts I created back in my school days, and we discuss similarities and differences between the crafts I did then and what she does in school now.
10. DO NOTHING/TAKE A BREAK FROM IT ALL
If I can’t bring myself to do anything at all, I take that as my brain setting off a signal for me to take a break from it all. Yes, it may stall the blogging progress (or any progress for that matter) but at the end of the day my mental health is more important. If I am not in a good enough mental state, I will not blog (or do anything) properly. No good can come from being mentally exhausted.
I’m just gonna be honest and tell you how I’ve been trying to find a “clever” way to end this post for the past few days now, and I don’t think I’ll find it any time soon. Anyway, it feels good to get back into the swing of things.
Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you visiting my little home on world wide web street, and I hope you’ll be back for another visit very soon.