10 Reminders for Students With Mental Health Conditions Who Are Starting a New School Year

397
397
0

New folders. New laptop. New dorm room. New landlord.

Whether you’re starting a new school year in middle school, high school, college or graduate school: as routine and predictable as the change can be on paper, it’s almost never that easy in reality.

It can be even more complicated and challenging, though, when you’re facing it with a mental health condition.

And while it’s just as difficult to try to make that aspect of things routine or predictable on paper: nevertheless, here is a handy back-to-school supply list of 10 reminders to keep at hand as a starting point — for students, as a reminder throughout the change process; for parents, as a view into the challenges your child might face to help you better support them; and for teachers and professors, to better understand the needs of your students so you can aid them in growing as learners and as people, and so you can be sensitive to their specific needs in helping them find the best resources to access and chart their most fruitful paths forward.

Way back when, my first counseling professor always spoke about experiences, encounters, practicum work and theories in books in terms of “tools for your toolbox,” things to learn and then pull out as the situation required. In that spirit, I hope these can be something like Post-Its in your backpack: little brightly-colored tidbits that can help to ground you if you struggle, help foster understanding if you love or work with someone who struggles, and ultimately remind you: you’re not alone.

1. Change is never easy. But with certain mental health conditions, it’s even harder. Particular kinds of anxiety are tightened by changes in circumstances. Depression, in turn, can be deepened; conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might arise in unexpected ways. In life, change is inevitable — but with the start of a new school year, you can try to limit the changes that take place in other aspects of your life, such as home environment and the way you keep your space, to make sure you have a touchstone to retreat to and regroup until the changes outside begin to register as a new “normal.”

And yes, it’s OK if this happens every year. Every semester. Every quarter. It’s OK.

2. Routines are important. (And make sure your routine allows for wiggle room!) Having a routine is sometimes the best way to reestablish that necessary “normal.” That might mean planning out your meals, outfits and the time you set your alarm for in the morning (and how many times you can hit “snooze,” or whether you’d like an alarm that doesn’t allow for that option). Relish in the simple pleasure of the to-do list: write one out in a notebook if the visceral joy of checking a box of crossing a line off is fulfilling, or use an app on your phone if the ease of shifting something from today to tomorrow with the tap of a fingertip makes the stress of rearranging less of a burden.

And remember: there’s a saying that in the history of master woodworking, the ideal “fit” between two pieces of wood was not the stereotypical perfect fit, but one that allowed a bit of wiggle room. So allow yourself some wiggle-room for unplanned interruptions, events or even just the need to sit in quiet or curl in bed.

3. Rewards are not earned or withheld: they are universally deserved and oftentimes necessary. Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between “reward” and “indulgence.” This oftentimes coincides with certain forms of anxiety, wherein a person never feels like they’re “enough” — that they’ve done enough, accomplished enough, proven themselves enough, are worth enough.

“Enough” can be an ugly word.

So instead of reinforcing a sense of “enough” that’s not only largely unattainable in modern society as a rule, but also highly detrimental to people who never feel like they can be enough, and therefore have never quite earned a reward: make small rewards a standard. “Little treats,” a wise friend once told me, can be anything that lifts your spirits. It can be a fancy coffee that would otherwise feel like an indefensible expense; a nice soak with a decadent bath bomb after you’ve turned in a paper; or two hours of uninterrupted time playing a video game without the nagging feeling you’re cheating or sneaking something forbidden after a long day that was hard to get through. It can even be just taking a breather every so often to stretch, stay hydrated, dance or grab a snack within a long session of editing your final paper (this method is often helpful in reminding you when it’s time for some downtime).

Whichever way works best for you and suits your circumstances: every time you cross a hurdle, give yourself some recognition of your accomplishment. You deserve it. And eventually, it’ll start to feel just that little bit less like something you didn’t earn.

4. Recognize and be aware of coping mechanisms. For instance: In anxiety, sometimes taking on more work or responsibility than seems wise from an outside perspective is really just a means of distracting the mind from dwelling on all the things it can fret about, the things that make the anxiety worse and lead it closer to the surface.

So if you find yourself reacting to one end of a spectrum of mental health symptoms by taking on lots of work, running for leadership roles in every club or society that catches your eye, working 10 part-time jobs, signing on as editor for three publications — what have you — recognize the impetus (one main one, or many of them!) for that desire toward involvement. Sometimes it’s genuine interest. Sometimes it’s self-preservation. Sometimes it’s both. But try to understand how the draws toward these commitments interact and comes to bear upon your experience, so that as your mental health symptoms shift (for instance, from hypomanic productive to depressive withdrawal), you can anticipate your ability to meet the demands ahead of you, and plan ahead accordingly so as not to set yourself up for feeling worse about things if you’re not able to meet a deadline or accommodate a demand on your time while you’re struggling just to leave the house each day.

5. Try to focus on the moment. When you can’t, try not to view it as a failure. (And when you can’t not view it as a failure, try not to view that as a failure.)

Sometimes the mind gets away from us. Whether it’s so depressed it can’t get out of bed, or it’s so anxious it can’t stop spinning, or any of the countless other ways it can slip from one’s control, if we can grab it and make it be still for just a second (which is often a trial in itself!), we’ll at least stall some of its momentum when it gets back up and starts trying to sprint and whirl away again.

So when things get overwhelming: take a walk. Set a timer to just be, without any agenda for a little while. Grab an app to help you (if an app seems like it would help you). Play music that helps you decompress. Watch cat videos or dog videos. Listen to a podcast or an audiobook for a bit of de-stressing; whatever fits your mindset best. Give yourself a time-out: not a punishment, but a necessity — one of those “little treats” everyone deserves just because you’re human and the world is hard, sometimes.

And if you’re struggling to manage this? That’s OK. You tried, and when it comes to mental health? That’s worthwhile in and of itself. Give yourself a little treat for your effort.

Because you deserve it.

6. Needing help isn’t a bad thing. Some of the smartest people I know need help. Valedictorians. Professors. Counselors. CEOs. PhDs. We’ve spent so much time as a culture trying to make needing help, or struggling with a mental health condition, into a dirty little secret, so many people have never felt like they could talk about what their real lives and challenges look like. But trust me:

Needing help, and recognizing that you need help, is one of the most intelligent things a person can do.

7. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Another of those pesky messages society has passed down through the ages — “The only person you can count on is you,” “Never let them see you bleed” and so forth.

I’ve got a secret for you. Those are lies.

Think about all of the roles, professions and ideas in our lives that are built primarily around the concept of helping others — teaching and counseling being two that the school year brings to mind in particular — and then consider all the people who might not make a living or orient the most of their time around a helping-oriented profession, but still reach out and help where it’s needed, just because they see someone in need and are naturally inclined to lend a hand. Helping others keeps the world spinning. Ask yourself: How do you feel when you’re able to lend a hand and help someone? Does the gratitude and joy that’s shared help brighten your day, too?

Helping makes the world go ‘round. And you’re a part of that world. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak: it means you’re human. Just like everyone else.

So ask for a referral for counseling if you need one. Ask for a letter from your counselor if you need accommodation in class. Ask for an extension if your mental health condition is weighing down with particular viciousness. There’s no guarantee against encountering one of those few people who don’t like to help, but more often than not? If you’re respectful and honest about what you need, people will work with you to find a way to make things easier given your situation.

8. Getting help doesn’t make what you accomplished somehow less. This odd idea that a thing is better, or even that a thing is achievable, if it’s done on one’s own is a strange beast. Much like the issue of asking for and receiving help when you need it, the idea of asking for help to achieve something is a quintessential part of being a member of society — because a society at its best is a group of people aiming to achieve something for the common good. Peace treaties aren’t made by one person alone. Disaster relief takes millions across the world, working together to help where there is need. People aren’t changed and taught and shaped by just one person, but by all the people and circumstances they meet — and isn’t it better to have more experiences to draw from, more perspectives to consider?

It’s not just a pretty saying: it really does take a village.

9. It will get better. It may also get worse again. There is no destination to reach. There is no need to “fix.” Sometimes mental health conditions change as the result of circumstances. Sometimes some medications work better than others. Sometimes mental health conditions are like chronic illnesses of any other sort: they stick around, and there is no “fixing” it. There’s just getting by with it. There’s just learning to live with it. There’s just the process of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t to manage it. In that way, life becomes almost a constant experiment.

Mental health conditions, whether you grapple with one or many, often ebb and flow in some degree of a cycle: a carousel that might go around from OK days to not-OK days, back and forth, or maybe one where depression feeds anxiety which feeds obsession, which feeds depression, and then anxiety, again and again. There will be ups, and there will be downs, and it’s often easy for people who don’t experience those highs and lows to see a “high” point, a “good” day, or a few in a row, and speak of it as being “fixed” or “cured” — and that kind of language can be tempting to buy into, even as it’s hurtful to think of the fact that being “fixed” implies you might have been “broken” first.

And you aren’t broken. And the fact that being “fixed” only lasts for a little while doesn’t make it less. And the fact that the “good” days only last so long doesn’t make you less.

Using another amusement park metaphor: it’s very much a roller coaster. To say “it gets better” is a truth, but not necessarily a permanent one. But that’s OK, because nothing in life is permanent.

And that’s why these are reminders. Because if it’s a truth that doesn’t always last, then it bears repeating, as often as is necessary.

10. Needing a reminder is OK. Seriously, it is. Again: that’s why I called this a list of reminders: whether it’s the notifications app on a phone or a kind tap on a shoulder, we all need them. From the teacher to the tutor; the professor to the counselor: even we need reminders. All the time. And not just about when our next meeting takes place or what to pick up from the store for dinner. We also need reminders about the important things, the deep things:

You’re doing all right.

You’ll get through this.

You’re doing good work.

You’re strong.

You matter.

You’re going to be OK.

Everyone needs to know those things. Mental health conditions just tend to make it difficult to tell yourself those things. So it’s OK to ask for reminders. A friend, a family member, a mentor: someone you trust who knows your situation and your struggles — sometimes it’s easiest to just ask once, explain this thing you need, and then in future, just go to them and say: I need a reminder.

And because you’re doing all right, and you’ll get through this; because you’re doing good work, and you’re strong, and you matter: they’ll remind you.

And whether you believe it or not on any given day: you’re going to be OK.

(But it’s all right to not believe that today. We’ll just try again tomorrow, and see if it sounds more true then.)

Image via Thinkstock Images

397
397
0
TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

How I'm Honoring Muhammad Ali as a Mental Health Advocate

1
1
0

This year we had to say our final goodbye to the GOAT, the Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali. Not only was he a great boxer, but he was an incredible and articulate activist. He stood up for the rights of black people, his Islamic faith and for anything he felt was right. He was never afraid to be outspoken. The death of this legend hit me hard, and I’ll tell you why.

I am from New Orleans. However, for 12 years of my life I was raised in Louisville, Kentucky. The “ville,” as I call it, is my mom’s hometown and also the home of the GOAT. Living in the “ville” for a good part of my life exposed me to great stories and triumphs of Ali. I never watched boxing much, but the stories my mom told me about Ali caught my attention at an early age. I remember the first story she told me at 8 years old. The story of how he won an Olympic gold medal and threw it into the Ohio River. Of course, my young mind inquired to know, “Why would he do such a thing?”

My mother explained when he came back to Louisville as a Olympic champion and still couldn’t eat in the same restaurant as white people, he realized the medal meant nothing. He was still not considered an equal. So he threw it in the river. My mom also told me stories about how he went to Central High School and how she wished she could have attended but my grandparents wouldn’t let her. She also told me about his early days as a boxer when he was still called Cassius Clay.

I grew up always being fascinated with the champ. His courage, strength, perseverance and “I’m the greatest” attitude. I was quite the opposite of him growing up. I was quiet, shy and reserved. I didn’t like for my voice to be heard. In the fifth grade, I actually got to breathe in the same air as him. There was a big celebration ceremony in downtown Louisville. Certain kids were allowed to attend and my teacher chose me to go because of my good behavior. I remember chanting his name along with the other kids and how after the event was over I got to reach out and touch him, a moment I’ve never forgotten.

When I turned 14, I decided I wanted to attend Central High School, just like the champ. I remember seeing his championship display every morning and walking the same halls he once walked. I always felt proud. I moved back to New Orleans after high school. However, even in my late 20s, I still have so much love and admiration for the champ.

The day Ali died, I happened to be in Louisville visiting for a week. My high school put together a memorial walk from our school to the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville. Of course, I was in attendance. I remember one of my former classmates saying, “The death of the Greatest has made Central graduates’ loads a lot heavier. We have to carry on his legacy. We have to make a difference.”

The words were so true. However, I was thinking to myself “How the hell can I do that? That’s a lot to live up to.” I’m no heavy weight boxing champion. I am outspoken nowadays but not on Ali’s level of outspoken. I’m a mental health activist and a self-help  author. I talk about depression and suicide.

How can I live up to the Greatest when I’m the exact opposite of who he was? We never had anything in common except going to the same high school. All of that went through my mind during the week of Ali’s final goodbye. On my final day in Louisville (which happened to be the day of his funeral), someone posted a clip of the champ that dated all the way back to 1981. It was a story I’d never known about him.

The clip was of Ali saving a man who was about to jump off a ledge and take his life. Many already tried to talk the man down, but they had given up hope. Ali happened to be in the area and volunteered to talk him down. The man listened to the champ, and he lived. As I watched the clip, I was immediately moved to tears. All these years and I never knew the champ and I actually had something in common. We both had the strength and compassion to help another going through mental illness.

I have only been a mental health activist for about a year and a half. I’ve talked to people who have felt on edge and suicidal. I know what it feels like to want to die and be severely depressed. When I recovered, I decided I wanted to help others recover too. Seeing this extreme act of kindness from the champ made me realize something important.

I will never be just like him, but as a Central High School graduate and lifelong admirer, I can still carry on his legacy in some way. Ali saved a man from taking his life. I promise to keep that part of him alive. I will continue to care about the mental health of others. I will continue to be outspoken about why mental health is important and suicide is real. I will always love Ali. I also thank him for showing me that in some way I can still be the greatest too.

Video via Muhammad Ali Fan Youtube channel.
Image via Muhammad Ali Verified Facebook page.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
1
1
0
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To the People We Turn to When We're Tired of Fighting Our Own Minds

790
790
4

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) can be hidden extraordinarily well. We become masters of disguise, never letting anyone see the terrors we face, the lengths we go to to avoid our imagined catastrophes. You might never know by looking at us, spending time with us, even living with us that we are feeling dread and turmoil, fear and shame. We live with “invisible” illnesses. But they are still illnesses.

Just because we are not struggling for air doesn’t mean we are not out of breath.

Just because we are able to do, and say, and participate doesn’t mean we are not feeling so incredibly weak that we cannot stand.

Just because we are not on life support doesn’t mean we are not fighting for our lives.

You just cannot see it.

Because by the time we actually say something to you, we have exhausted all of our resources. We have used up all of our logic, our deep breaths, our strength. The first time you hear of our panic attack is not the first time we’ve had one. The first time we ask you to help us stop repeating is not the first time we’ve done that ritual. The first time we admit to you how incredibly sad we are is not the first time we’ve cried.

This doesn’t just go for the very first time. It’s every first time. Every first time we start again we are subject to more pain, more fear, more panic. More hyperventilating, more inability to concentrate, more dread. Every time an attack ends, we know there may very well be another one. We do our best to prepare ourselves, we do everything we can to fight it ourselves, but we will need you. We can’t do it all on our own.

We know it’s a lot to handle. It’s extra stress in your life when you have enough of your own. It’s time out of your schedule. It’s moments you could be relaxing from your own long day, concentrating on your own job, enjoying your own life. We know being our friend/our family/our support takes a lot out of you, so, please, not even for one moment, think we don’t appreciate it.

Please know if we weren’t absolutely at the end of our rope, we wouldn’t ask for your help. So many times we can conquer these periods all on our own and you are none the wiser. So many times we fight and you have no idea we were dealing with anything at all. But there are times we are just so depleted, so tired, so exhausted from fighting a war with our own minds that we really and truly need you. Please know we are not trying to run your lives or ruin your lives, for that matter. We are not trying to take your every moment and make it about us. We just really, genuinely need you.

Because we have already faced so very much and fought so very hard on our own.

Just because we are not in water doesn’t mean we are not drowning.

Just because we are not in bed all day doesn’t mean we are not sick.

Just because we hide it from you, doesn’t mean we’ve got it beat.

We need you. We love you. We thank you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Image via Thinkstock.

790
790
4
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To the Governor of North Carolina, Who Just Cut Mental Health Services by $110 Million

146
146
0

Dear Governor Pat McCrory,

My name is Brooks Fitts and I’m a proud native of Raleigh, North Carolina. I am writing you today concerning something that not only affects me, but millions of North Carolinians across our great state. The most recent budget you signed includes a $110 million dollar cut from regional mental health agencies, and that is not acceptable. Mental health services should be rapidly expanded and funded, not rapidly cut.

This issue is personal for me, as I went through a mental health crisis almost two years ago. I went to a facility which instead of helping me, caused my blood sugar to soar and sent me into psychosis. I was made fun of and laughed at by the workers there, and to this day, I still remember it all too clearly. I later found out that this facility received a $1.6 million dollar grant from the federal government.

North Carolinians deserve the highest quality of mental health care  regardless of income, and by signing a budget that cuts $110 million dollars from regional mental healthcare, you are hurting the most vulnerable. I would urge you to spend a day at a state psychiatric hospital or mental health care facility. Maybe then you would understand that these facilities are in desperate need of upgrades, not cuts.

Your campaign slogan touts a “Carolina Comeback.” Well, for far too many North Carolinians, the latest budget you signed is a “Carolina Step Back.” In order to be a truly great state, we must ensure that we are taking care of the most vulnerable and those who are desperate need of mental health services.

So the next time you sign a budget, I would urge you to not just think of it in terms of numbers, but of people. Think of the millions of North Carolinians who are in dire need of proper mental health services. Think of the millions of North Carolinians whose lives would be improved, if they could only get through the doors of a mental health care provider.

North Carolinians across the state deserve better.

North Carolina’s motto is esse quam videri, meaning, “To be, rather than to seem.”

Let’s be leaders in mental health care.

Let’s start with not cutting $110 million dollars from mental health care, but rapidly expanding mental health care and services.

Together, we can all work towards creating a future where every North Carolinian gets the care they need.

Together, we can create the kind of future our kids will be proud of.

Sincerely,

Brooks Fitts

 

146
146
0
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

7 Tips for Managing Mental Illness in College

294
294
0

College is usually an exciting time. Some people consider it the best years of their lives. There’s lots of freedom, parties, new friends and greater responsibility. Yet, college can be stressful from the academic to social to financial concerns. If you have a mental illness, then it can complicate your college experience even more. However, there are ways to navigate this new landscape.

I completed college without any hiccups. However, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during graduate school at the age of 23. During my last year of graduate school, I was depressed in the fall and manic in the spring. When I was depressed, I dealt with insomnia and found it hard to get out of bed. I cried every single morning before I went to student-teaching.

I was enrolled in one course, a seminar class, but I was unable to get any of the assignments done because the depression made it hard to focus. When the mania arrived in the spring I welcomed the increase in energy and productivity, but the mania soon got out of control leading to a three-week hospitalization. Upon my release, I decided to withdraw from graduate school. It would take me two additional years to finish my coursework and graduate. Currently, I’m back in graduate school for a second master’s degree. The advice I present to you here, I’ve implemented in my own life. I now offer it to you in the hopes that you might find it useful.

1. Use your resources.

Many colleges have an Office of Disability. Psychiatric illnesses are considered disabilities. If you register with the Office of Disability, then you might qualify for accommodations, such as extended time to complete assignments or excused absences among other benefits. The registration process might be a bit bureaucratic, but it is worth it to get registered if you have a diagnosed condition. Also, visit your professors’ office hours. Introduce yourself. Let your professors see you as a person concerned about his or her progress. Additionally, use the Writing Center or peer tutoring.

2. Seek treatment.

Colleges offer counseling services. Don’t struggle in silence. There are many benefits to talk therapy. One of which is having a professional listen to you without judgment. We can’t always expect the same from our family and friends. Your college might have a limit on the number of counseling sessions they’ll provide you. Another option is to see a psychiatrist if you have considered psychotropic medications. Please note, not everyone wants to take medicine or responds well to medicine. If a psychiatrist suggests medicine, then be sure to do your research and ask lots of questions.

3. Engage in self-care.

Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of sleep. In college, it is tempting to stay up all hours of night, but maintaining a regular sleep schedule is crucial when managing mental illness. Eat healthy. Do something physical. Go for a walk, exercise or dance. Spend time with your friends. In short, self-care is whatever maintains, sustains and fulfills you. Find out what that is, and do more of it.

4. Manage your expectations.

If you have to attend school part-time or withdraw for a period of time, do so. Your health is more important. Also, don’t compare your course load or grades to your peers. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Of course, there is going to be variance in your experiences and outcomes. Lastly, don’t over-commit yourself to a ton of clubs, activities and paid work on top of your course load. In college, you have to become an excellent time manager.

5. Don’t isolate.

It’s easy to withdraw into yourself, to hide out in your room, away from the world. Try not to. One of the easiest ways to socialize is over a meal. Eat in the dining hall with friends.

6. Exercise.

Exercise is already included on this list under self-care, but it’s so important it deserves further mention and elaboration. There are many benefits to exercising, both physical and mental. The mental benefits include stress reduction, increased energy and improved brain function among others. In short, you’ll perform better in class and feel better.

7. Avoid or minimize the use of alcohol or drugs.

College is often viewed as a time of drug experimentation. If you are on psychotropic medicines, then alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of the medicine. Discuss with your doctor about your intake. Be honest.

Whether you’ve had your mental illness for years or are newly diagnosed, you can manage in college and in your life post-college. It all boils down to developing appropriate coping skills. Be self-reflective, listen to your body and learn from your past behaviors. Always seek help. You do not have to navigate any of this alone. Good luck!

Image via Thinkstock.

294
294
0
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

What's Inside My Coping ‘Toolbox’ on a Bad Day

258
258
0

On a bad day, it’s easy to just stay in bed, cocooned in my blankets with the shades drawn and Netflix on.

My ultimate goal on a bad day is to turn it around and feel better. I do this by using a variety of coping skills I’ve either taught myself or learned in therapy. I’ve compiled all of my favorite coping mechanisms into a sort of “toolbox” that I pull out on a bad day.

The first thing I reach for when I’m having a difficult time is something that will help me get out of bed. Most of the time, it’s my daughter or my cat or anything I’m responsible for that I can’t take care of from my bedroom. Knowing someone or something depends on me motivates me to get out of bed on a bad day and helps me cope with feeling worthless.

After I’ve gotten out of bed, I search my toolbox for something that will lift my spirits and encourage me to then stay out of bed. I can choose from journaling, coloring, knitting, playing with my daughter or reading a book. Even if none of those things pang my interest at first, I pick one and go with it until I feel enjoyment.

When I’ve begun to establish a routine for the day, one of the most important components I find in my coping toolbox is self-care. This includes eating healthy meals, drinking plenty of water, exercise, taking a shower and getting dressed. I know in order to feel better, I have to take care of my body even if I don’t feel like I want to. I know that after I take care of myself, I will feel more put together and my self-esteem will have gotten a healthy boost. And I will feel better equipped to take on the day.

Another thing I reach for in my coping toolbox is socialization. On my bad days, I tend to isolate myself from my friends and my family — and even my daughter. In the back of my mind, I know this isn’t healthy, and I know a little bit of socialization will make me feel more alive and more loved than I feel on a bad day. I cope by being social in simple ways like going to the grocery store, having lunch with my mom, calling my grandma or by taking my daughter to the park. Any small social encounter may seem daunting and may trigger my anxiety at first, but once I get into it, I realize I’m feeling better.

Feeling better is my ultimate goal on a bad day. To achieve this goal, I remind myself of all the coping mechanisms that work best for me and do each of them until my bad day turns into a good one. There are times that coping even seems like too much, and those are the days I take for myself to stay in bed and rest. Having those days is OK every once in awhile, but it’s really important I learn how to cope effectively through the majority of my bad days.

It took me quite awhile to acquire the coping skills I have in my toolbox, and it took me even longer to gain the motivation to use them on a bad day. But when I do, I feel better about things and am able to turn my day around.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

258
258
0
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.