8 Examples of My 'Good Days' With a Severe Mental Illness
My good days probably don’t look like other people’s good days. In fact, they may seem ordinary or even horrible to a “normal” person. But for me, they’re miraculous.
1. I went to work. I did my job. I socialized with my coworkers. I went home. And I didn’t think about dying at all, even when I visibly messed up on something and had to be corrected. That’s a good day for me.
2. I had a really bad panic attack after a long day that resulted in hysterical sobbing and suicidal thoughts. I took my medication, recollected my thoughts and realized I tried my best that day, even if it failed to work. Then, I realized I was OK, despite having a hard day. I still wanted to be alive when it was over. That’s a good day for me.
3. I woke up extremely depressed, not even wanting to be alive anymore. I had suicidal thoughts and didn’t want to deal with life that day. But I got up anyway, took a shower, brushed my teeth and brought my dog to the dog park. I forced a smile, even though it only helped me feel better for a few seconds. I spent my day using the coping skills I’d learned in therapy and recognized it was only a bad moment. I still went to bed depressed, but I also knew it was temporary — it would go away soon. My depression would not last forever. Even in low moments, realizing that makes it a good day for me.
4. I went to the city all by myself and wasn’t anxious once. That’s a miracle, and also a really good day for me.
5. I was so angry that I wanted to crawl out of my own body, but I still didn’t snap at anyone around me. I kept my calm and realized I’d have to take extra medication to put an end to that anger before it turned into full-blown mania. I still functioned in society, still did my job and didn’t ruin any relationships. That’s a good day for me.
6. I was mentally exhausted after work and had just gotten injured on the job. I still forced myself to go to the gym and cancel the membership I never use in order to save money and not get charged again. Doing what I need to do? That’s a good day for me.
7. I didn’t feel like I had a mental illness at all one day. I wasn’t ridden by anxiety or wondering whether I was depressed or manic. I was so stable that I didn’t need to monitor my symptoms at all. I just lived my life, feeling totally balanced for 24 hours. It was so beautiful that I cried when I got home and realized it. That’s a really, really good day for me.
8. If I was “normal” it would’ve been considered a terrible day. Work was challenging and I left emotionally exhausted, unable to do the most basic of things, like shower or clean the cat’s litter box. I just laid in bed all night, trying to recharge because the day took everything out of me. But I still didn’t want to die. So, it was still a good day for me.
Living life with a mental illness means that my version of a good day literally means I’m not actively planning to kill myself. I can have suicidal thoughts, but as long as I don’t plan to follow through, it’s still a good day. Because unlike “healthy” people, compared to where I’ve been and the days I used to have, not planning to kill myself is a pretty big accomplishment.
More importantly, these days are days that I never thought would come a couple years ago when I was constantly hospitalized for suicide attempts and intent. So, I’m still grateful for every one that passes. They’re still my good days, even if they’d be bad for someone else.
It’s truly as simple as that.
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